January 2011 Home Cooking Challenge - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 235 Old 12-28-2010, 03:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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As part of my financial goals for the New Year, I've decided to revamp the grocery budget and have goaled myself to cook EVERY meal at home AND stay within my $500 monthly grocery budget (feeding 1 adult, 3 teenage boys and 1 tween girl).

Anyone care to join me?

 

ETA:  I'll be posting my menus weekly, beginning on Monday. (I'm willing to share recipes, so just ask if you see anything in my meal plan that appeals to you.  eat.gif )


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#2 of 235 Old 12-28-2010, 05:16 PM
 
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I will join you!

 

My goal to prepare and cook 5 out of 7 meals a week at home. I also plan to make better use of left-overs.

 

Our budget will stay the same for groceries but our "extra" money should be lowered significantly.


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#3 of 235 Old 12-28-2010, 05:33 PM
 
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I am already cooking almost all our meals at home (maybe once a week max we don't eat homecooked) but I am currently having a hard time figuring out how to bring our grocery bill down much, but maybe that has to do with where we live? (NYC). I already buy very little prepared food. And we don't eat meat.

 

We're right now living with my parents so I don't have as much control but when we move into our place in the next few weeks I will go back to some loose meal planning and maybe try to add tracking the food expenses to that. Right now I do a lot of shopping and cooking for us four PLUS them which makes 6. But my dad buys groceries too, and he doesn't like to have much extra around or anything frozen (so can't buy bulk or cook extra). And of course I have to accommodate their dietary preferences too. Anyway, makes it all a little confusing.

 

I am thinking of trying a home delivery service of organic produce which would definitely make things cheaper if it was enough to feed us for the week. And a different one for raw milk... that would bring costs down if I could get into a habit of making our own yogurt and kefir with it. (that stuff is mad expensive even though we just buy plain full-fat organic in large containers).

 

Maybe my goal should be to keep eating at home and cooking from scratch as much as possible, but also to TRACK our grocery budget better so I know where the $$ is going, and can figure out how to bring that down?


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#4 of 235 Old 12-28-2010, 09:09 PM
 
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I'll join. My goal for this year is to learn to cook more. There's only a few things I make at home and I tend to order out to often b/c I get really hungry and don't have anything made and I'm to hungry to make something. I'm going to start making something new each week, something healthy and full of veggies (I'm vegetarian) and try and save a little for left overs.

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#5 of 235 Old 12-29-2010, 06:48 AM
 
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I'm in.  I cook at home most of the time normally but we did eat out several times in December and we really don't need (or want) to.

 

I meal plan for a month at a time and shop every week or 2, depending on sales.  We raise our own meat and alot of our own produce so our grocery bill really should be much lower, but we do go through lots of snacky things.  I bake my own, but I can't really duplicate chips and I have a hard time not buying those.

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#6 of 235 Old 12-29-2010, 06:52 AM
 
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I'm in! We eat at home pretty regularly anyway, but it's always good to have a support system AND to get menu inspiration. eat.gif


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#7 of 235 Old 12-29-2010, 07:15 AM
 
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I'm in. I always cook but I have been bad with keeping up with this thread...I really want to so we can get some new menu ideas. However, we are starting out the new year with dinner out on NYE, which is also our anniversary. Since we've only gone out to dinner one other time this year, I refuse to feel guilty about it!


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#8 of 235 Old 12-29-2010, 07:43 AM
 
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Does anyone have an app for their phone that has helped them plan meals, grocery lists etc?


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#9 of 235 Old 12-29-2010, 01:55 PM
 
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I'm in! I haven't been recording all my food but I have been home cookin'. smile.gif I just got Nourishing Traditions and a pasta roller/cutter for Christmas so I'm all revved up! smile.gif I also have a cookbook called Mrs. Restino's Country Kitchen that I want to start using. I just got it and every time I look at it I make myselfd sooo hungry!

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#10 of 235 Old 12-30-2010, 08:20 AM
 
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I need to be in, but have a hard time staying w/these threads, lol.  I'll do my best.

 

Last night we had veggie soup (onion, carrot, celery, bell pepper, sweet potato, tomatoes, and corn made w/deer stock), cabbage/potatoes/onion/sausage stir fry, home made rolls, and baked beans from scratch.  Totally expect to have leftovers tonight w/out baked beans 'cause my kids ate those for breakfast, lol.

 

I am looking forward to butchering time soon.  Feral pigs and our home-raised rabbits!  Our freezers are getting pretty empty!


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#11 of 235 Old 12-30-2010, 10:15 AM
 
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I'm in.  We are cutting way back to bare bones in January.  DH broke his foot and had to have surgery a couple weeks ago (=medical bills + lots of extra gas $ since I have to drive DH to work), we need to pay for the next quarter of gymnastics classes for my DDs and our half beef should be coming this month also. 

 

I've been doing really well eating at home for the past few months, my spending on eating out has gone down a couple hundred dollars/month.  I'm going to continue on this course.  DH will be going out to eat once in the middle of the month, and my goal is to not go out to eat out at all this month.  This means I'm going to have to be extra vigilant about planning workable menus and packing lunches/dinners, since I'll be driving around so much during mealtimes.  I've got a pretty well stocked pantry, and my freezer is far too full considering that we have beef coming at the end of the month, so I'll have a lot to work with.  I'm going to attempt a $400 grocery budget for the 6 of us.  I know it will be tight, but I think it's doable.  Almost all of the budget will be spent on produce and dairy.

 


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#12 of 235 Old 12-30-2010, 10:46 AM
 
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can i join?

 

i'm a single wohm to two boys.  my grocery budget is $100 a week, but i always cheat by spending less to justify ordering a pizza one night or something.  i also blow my spending money on lunches out during the week (fast food, bleh), and i throw away more food than i would like to (produce and leftovers).

 

my boys eat breakfast, lunch and a snack at preschool five days a week.  however, preschool breakfast is a couple hours after they wake up, so i give them something small at home.  it used to be something semi crazy like a granola bar or a bag of goldfish (eaten in the car!) when i was first adjusting to this single mom, getting two kids out the door in the morning, business.  i'm doing a little better now, but i would like to get away from cold cereal and do oatmeal (or other hot cereal) pretty much every day, because it's healthier and cheaper - much cheaper, since i wouldn't buy milk if we weren't eating cereal.

 

i need to be able to make dinner really quickly, which has led to some poor choices (again, both nutritionally and financially).  my goal is to start using my crockpot three days a week and eating salad the other two days.  i've started collecting vegetarian crockpot recipes, actually a long time ago.  i'm not sure what to feed my boys on the nights i have salad.  they don't eat it.  obviously i can offer them the same veggies, nuts, beans or fruit i'm having on my salad, but . . . as for their main food, not sure.  sandwiches maybe?  they love hard-boiled eggs.  i suppose pasta, rice, potatoes, etc are all options too.

 

weekends are when i do most of my actual cooking!

 

oh - i also just ordered this http://www.amazon.com/Artisan-Bread-Five-Minutes-Revolutionizes/dp/0312362919/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1293568675&sr=8-1 for quick, easy and yummy home made bread!

 

do you do special weekend breakfast/brunches?

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#13 of 235 Old 12-30-2010, 11:41 AM
 
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Our weekend breakfasts are usually eggs.  We never have time for eggs on weekdays and my kids love them.  About once a month I make a huge batch of waffles or pancakes, let them eat their fill and then freeze the rest so dh can feed them those on weekdays and they only take a minute to toast. 

 

My weeknight dinners are quick too, I just have no desire to spend hours cooking after I get home from work.  Saturday and Sunday dinners are usually much bigger.  We did pizza on Friday nights, but I make my own or buy frozen pizza on sale. 

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#14 of 235 Old 12-30-2010, 11:56 AM
 
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Tonight I'm making pasta from scratch and meat sauce with carrots blended in plus sauteed zucchini. Yummm! eat.gif

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#15 of 235 Old 12-30-2010, 01:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doubledutch View Post

...my goal is to start using my crockpot three days a week...

 

...do you do special weekend breakfast/brunches?

 

In my experience, a CrockPot is a single working mother's best friend!
 

I have LOTS of vegetarian/vegan CrockPot recipes that are pretty cheap and make enough to freeze half for another dinner later in the month.  I also have some recipes for bread dough that you can keep in the refrigerator all week and use a little at a time to have fresh, homemade rolls in 30 minutes.  Let me know if you want some recipes.  smile.gif

 

I usually make fruit waffles (I have about 6 different recipes, some of which are vegan - again, you can have the recipes if you want them) on Saturday for brunch.
 


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#16 of 235 Old 12-30-2010, 02:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kathirynne View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by doubledutch View Post

...my goal is to start using my crockpot three days a week...

 

...do you do special weekend breakfast/brunches?

 

In my experience, a CrockPot is a single working mother's best friend!
 

I have LOTS of vegetarian/vegan CrockPot recipes that are pretty cheap and make enough to freeze half for another dinner later in the month.  I also have some recipes for bread that you can keep in the refrigerator all week and use a little at a time to have fresh, homemade rolls in 30 minutes.  Let me know if you want some recipes.  smile.gif

 

I usually make fruit waffles (I have about 6 different recipes, some of which are vegan - again, you can have the recipes if you want them) on Saturday for brunch.
 


of course i do! love.gif

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#17 of 235 Old 12-30-2010, 04:44 PM
 
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Tonight was chicken tacos/ taco salad. Also DS2 has recently decided that be doesn't like chicken tacos, so he had leftover roast beef from last night. Chicken tacos/ taco salad is a staple for my family, we have it at least once a week. We raise meat chickens & butcher them every summer. It's not really cheaper than buying chicken from the store, but it tastes SO much better and is somewhat satisfying. wink1.gif As a result, we have a freezer full of chicken.

Weekend breakfast/brunch: eggs, bacon and fruit. I buy Coleman Natural Bacon at Costco (less than $10 for 3- 12oz. packages). Eggs are from our hens when they're laying or free range organic from the store. Fruit is whatever's on hand. If my kids are feeling really adventurous they make pancakes (topped with butter and maple syrup or more often berries); I've been cutting back on grains, so I don't often eat or make pancakes.

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#18 of 235 Old 12-30-2010, 05:21 PM
 
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I'm in.  I'm ashamed of how much we've eaten out and spent on groceries these last several months.  I just have to resign myself to the fact that the all day "morning" sickness will never go away, like last time, and I have to learn to function even while not being able to be in the kitchen or hold anything down.  Not sure what the grocery budget will be this month, I've been craving steaks and have switched to store bought bread/yogurt to make life easier, so the super frugal, mostly TF (but low meat), meal planned budget is not going to cut it, but I'd rather increase the budget by a hundred dollars or so than have several hundred dollars worth of over the budget food spending which cuts into our debt snowball.

 

Like others I need to get out my crockpot and stop wasting so much food!

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by MamitaM View Post

I tend to order out to often b/c I get really hungry and don't have anything made and I'm to hungry to make something. I'm going to start making something new each week, something healthy and full of veggies (I'm vegetarian) and try and save a little for left overs.

 

 

Me too! I go grocery shopping, have plenty of ingredients in the pantry and then I'm too tired to cook and too hungry.  I am so spoiled because we live in the city with tons of options.  We were visiting my in-laws and a trip to the grocery store or a fast food joint is an event, nobody's going to drive 30 minutes (at least) to get something because what's at home "doesn't sound good."  I also think of my great-grandmother who if she wanted chicken had to butcher it and clean it before she could cook it.  I have no excuse for not cooking at home even if I'm sick because there are so many options that make that easier even if they cost a bit more.  And it's just silly to think that we can't afford convenience when we so easily overspend on eating out!

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#19 of 235 Old 12-30-2010, 05:41 PM
 
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January will be bare bones for us too.  I just got stupid self into a fender bender today that wrecked the front end of my vehicle and while I have full coverage, the $500 deductible is going to break me, plus the time out of work this week from Christmas and New Years and tonight when I got hit.  So January was already going to be lean but now it's going to be pay and pray. :(  So starting tomorrow, we are eating out of the pantry, which thankfully is well stocked.  NO going out, ordering in, or otherwise even spending on a coffee on the way to work for me all month until this is paid for.  But maybe it's a blessing in disguise because I'm in need of a little beginning of the year healthy eating choices anyway after the Christmas cookie binge. 


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#20 of 235 Old 12-31-2010, 12:29 PM
 
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I'm subbing, and hoping to join.  I've known I have to get back to more cooking from scratch for a while, and I've already started making the shift.  I just made up a meal plan, mostly for breakfasts & dinners, yesterday; lunches are usually leftovers or easy sandwiches, so I only planned for a few.  Homemade snacks are an area I need to work on, too.  Luckily, one of my Christmas gifts was a breadmaker to replace the one I ran into the ground a few months ago, so I'm hoping to have lots of quick/sweet bread snacks for the kids.  I'm planning on getting back into the habit of making yogurt -- made up a batch yesterday -- and I'm also going to try to keep a selection of cut up fresh veggies & dip on hand for snacks.


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#21 of 235 Old 12-31-2010, 12:40 PM
 
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Ok I got my January meal plan all ready and shouldn't need to go to the store for at least a week and only for perishables.

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#22 of 235 Old 12-31-2010, 04:32 PM
 
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subbing.  I love to eat out but it just isn't in the budget frequently.  I need some new recipes and tips.

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#23 of 235 Old 01-01-2011, 09:51 AM
 
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Last night I made a really yummy "quesadilla pie" I guess you can call it. I sauted an onion, a green pepper, a few cherry tomatoes and mushrooms in a little oil and added a tiny bit of paprika and ground cumin (I didn't have any chili spice or expensive taco/fajita seasoning) and then layered this veggie mix in between tortillas and cheese and baked it for about 20 minutes or so on 350. Pretty tasty! You can add salsa in the layers if you have it or whatever other veggies you think will taste good and you can add beans, but  didn't have ones I thought would taste good in it.  I'm about to have leftovers for my lunch. I have no idea what dinner will be tonight, but it will not be something I order.

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#24 of 235 Old 01-01-2011, 10:22 AM
 
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Yesterday: White bean & corn soup with bread
Tonight: Whole wheat spinach pizza

Edit - Changed my mind; went with white bean & corn soup with homemade whole wheat bread and a couple strips of bacon on the side, and green smoothies.

Formerly known as "JessicaRenee".  hang.gif  Single mama to Jude (Sept '09)!  biggrinbounce.gif

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#25 of 235 Old 01-01-2011, 03:17 PM
 
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we are definately in again...we lost a fair amount of money investing in a fraudulent company (dh's cousins husband)turned out not to be who he said he was) and my van died right before Christmas and I only just went back to work so I am in need of a very tight budget.

 

we have alot of moose meat and salmon in the freezer as well as our garden haul.  We were very successful in our mushroom and berry picking as well.  We will be eating alot of our freezer and pantry food in order to save money.  There will be no eating out for a long time in this house!  I look forward to meal planning and challenging myself to get by on as little as possible.

 

12-1  junk food cleanout- wings, fries, with a salad

12-2

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#26 of 235 Old 01-01-2011, 05:29 PM
 
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Today is the 1st and I'm off to a great start! My goals are to learn to cook new things, add more veggies to each meal and NOT order out b/c I'm to lazy to cook.

 

Jan. 1. eat.gif  I made baked perogies and spinach. It's frozen perogies with spinach, onions, cheese and mushroom soup baked until it's cooked through and all melty! I made it once about 8 years ago and really liked it.

 

 

 

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#27 of 235 Old 01-01-2011, 06:03 PM
 
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I would like to join!  I am pretty good about cooking at home Mon-Frid but the weekends mess me up.  Sundays are the worst for me.  We have church in the morning and when we come home, it's time for lunch and I have 3 very hungry kids to feed that have a very hard time waiting.  I always forget to put something in the crockpot in the morning so we actually have supper.

 

My goal is to make more crockpot suppers on certain days and make sure I have meals in the freezer for the days I am not sure what to make.  My other goal is to stop shopping at Walmart and start shopping at Shop n save.  I tend to save at least $15-20 at Shop n Save over Walmart.  I would also love to find more recipes for fresh veggies.  I am tired of steaming them and I want to make sure the veggies taste good so my kids eat them.  If anyone has some yummy, tried and true veggie recipes, let me know!!

 

ETA:  I wanted to add, either quite using recipes that have cream of soups in them (not too bad right now) or make my own from scratch.


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#28 of 235 Old 01-01-2011, 06:17 PM
 
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January 1 eat.gif

 

Today we cheated, but it was free so I'm counting it as home cooking :)

 

There were so many left overs from my parent's New Year's party (well, it was a family "party") that I didn't have to cook breakfast, lunch or supper!  There's still some left overs for lunch tomorrow, but breakfast will be oatmeal (I'm putting it to soak) and supper will be a steak salad, probably.

 

I must get a meal plan together for at least next week.

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#29 of 235 Old 01-01-2011, 06:17 PM
 
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We have to tighten up the budget even more this year, so my goal is to eat out a maximum of 1 meal per week. I'd like to work up to once every two weeks. I'm also trying to eat more balanced meals. I always provide great meals for my toddler and end up eating chips myself. Not good!

 

My son has several food allergies, so sometimes he has a different version of the "adult" meal. Tonight we had ...

Adults - Extra lean ground turkey w/ rice noodles and Ragu sauce, plus a salad w/ a garlicy dressing.

Senorcito (aka - my 19m old son) - Extra lean ground turkey w/ rice noodles and acorn squash, plus spinach sauteed in olive oil.


 Mom to one happy Senorcito (06/09) ... allergic to wheat, nuts, dairy, eggs, sesame, peas and soy.

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#30 of 235 Old 01-01-2011, 08:37 PM
 
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Totally want to join! I, too, am a single mom and I work about an hour away [not my choice, school system reassigned me] so I always resort to eating out. Money and calorie waster.

 

I love my crock pot and my turkey chili is my old standby. But I love it so I'm going to make some more. I also make bread from my machine. I need to send some lunches with my kindergartner a few days this month too!

 

Looking forward to learning some good ideas from you all.


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