Friday, 14 October 2016

Weekly Menu-Plan Series

Now that I have kids in after-school activities, I am seeing a need to be more organized and prepare food ahead of time lest we fall into the costly and unhealthy habit of eating out. We live in a rural area so the options are slim. If I don't have supper planned and ready ahead it just means no one gets fed until late, which is hectic enough, but it also pushes back bedtime which will effect the next morning and behaviour for days to come. For myself, it also means I won't get the kitchen cleaned up that night and I will wake up to a mess which effects my mood and gets my day off on the wrong foot. So I know that I must be disciplined in order to keep things running smoothly.

I know that I am very fortunate to have the option to stay home while my kids are small. I choose to do this. If I had to, I would work out of the home and pay someone to look after my kids. But we aren't to that point yet and, for now, I feel that I can "save" our money just as efficiently as I could go out and earn more while incurring childcare costs to do so. That said, to each their own! We are in the midst of an economic crisis in this area. People are getting by however they have to, and more power to them :)

I have always been a fan of cooking in batches. In a couple hours I can prepare several different meals using similar ingredients, freeze most of it, and be prepared for busy evenings as they come. You can read more here and here and here.

You can also check out some sample menu-plans that I've used here, here and here.

Full Disclosure: I come from a family farm. I get my beef free from my parents--we are extremely lucky and grateful for this. While my meal plans might be heavy on the meat, particularly that of the red variety, my overall goal is to help people see how one meal can be planned with tomorrow's needs in mind. How can you plan your meal prep a day in advance to save time, lower stress, and prevent wasting food (and money!)?

There are an overwhelming number of menu-plan ideas on Pinterest. If you are interested in becoming more efficient in the kitchen it is a good starting point. Personally, I don't spend a lot of time looking at what other people do because I can use that time in the kitchen preparing food. I started cooking for a family of 7 when I was ten years old. Not everyone feels as proficient or creative, and that is positively okay! Take what helps and leave the rest.

In the weeks to come I plan to blog about the process of getting meals ready and using a menu-plan to simplify my week. If you have used a menu-plan please share your thoughts in the comments. I am always open to new ideas to save time and money!

Soup--the ultimate time and money saving meal!


  1. looking forward to your soup recipes, and i like to do batch cooking for the freezer, too. i retired almost a year ago, and the top thing on my bucket list is to finally learn to cook/bake. i've been collecting soup recipes the last couple of weeks for when the cold weather finally comes. it's been a beautiful fall so far, and i've been enjoying some day trips instead of getting the yardwork finished up for winter. --suz in ohio

    1. Suz, how lovely to meet you :) I will sure try to put more recipes on as well as point to other good sites and blogs. I'm glad you are enjoying a nice fall :)

  2. I'm looking forward to your recipes! I find that it can help to prepare grains in advance. Most are fine in the fridge for a few days or can be frozen (rice, pasta).

    I also like making red sauce (did this yesterday) that can be used in a lot of different ways. I keep it basic so it is versatile and use it for pasta, pizza (add basil or oregano), anything curry based (add ginger plus spices) or tomato soup.

    1. I totally agree, Pru. I plan the meals around what I can make extra of--perhaps a big batch of rice will be served plain the first day, a stirfry the next, and wind up in a casserole on day 3. If you are sick of it by day 3, freeze the casserole for next week. Likewise with meat.

      I am also a huge fan of red sauce. I keep extra cans of crushed tomatoes and I use them in almost everything. I especially like to make curries and freeze the leftovers :)