Can someone help me critique this meal plan/shopping list? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 03-02-2008, 02:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, this is my first stab at long term meal planning with a detailed pantry inventory and shopping list and I would like to get some input. Each of these meals will last 2-3 nights with some leftovers. My main goals are to make healthy, filling, tasty meals that are frugal and the extras freeze easily. This is for me (pregnant and nursing), DH (who will eat dinner on his ship some nights which is why I want to be able to freeze extras), and DD who has a very small appetite. I have a sourdough starter that I use for bread, muffins, pancakes, etc and we get WIC. I make my own yogurt but will need to buy a container to start a new batch. Constructive criticism welcome!! I also need a few more meal ideas to round out a whole month (I'll be starting this plan at the end of the month).


Spaghetti
½ lb spaghetti (have)
1 can diced tomatoes (have)
1 can tomato paste (have)
Salad greens
chopped green pepper
Homemade salad dressing (have all ingredients)
Chili
1 lb dried beans (have)
1 lb ground beef (have)
28 oz can diced tomatoes (have)
1 can green chilis (have)
1 can tomato paste (have)
Sour cream
Cheese (WIC)
Roast turkey
1 whole turkey
Potatoes
Green beans
Onions

Macaroni and Cheese
Ezekiel Noodles
Cheese (WIC)
Milk (WIC)
Onion
Squash (have)
Butter (have)
cauliflower
Turkey pot pie
Leftover turkey
Flour/salt/sugar/butter (have)
Carrots
Celery

some type of veggie
Lasagna
Lasagna noodles (have)
2 cans diced tomatoes (have)
1 jar tomato sauce
1 lb ground beef (have)
homemade cottage cheese (milk from WIC)
1 brick mozzarella cheese (WIC)
shredded zucchini
spinach
Split Pea Soup
2 bags split peas (WIC)
Ham bone (have)
Carrots
Chicken stir-fry
1 package chicken (have)
Brown rice (have)
Garlic, ginger, spices (have)
Broccoli
Carrots

Jamaican beans and rice
1 lb pinto beans (have)
2 cups rice (have)
1 can coconut milk (have)
Onions
Garlic, thyme, salt, jalapeno peppers (have)
some type of veggie
Turkey/rice casserole
Leftover turkey
Brown rice
Mushrooms
chopped green peppers, zucchini
Milk/butter/four


Lunches/Weekend brunches
Leftovers
Grilled cheese
Ham, turkey (have) sandwiches
Coleslaw (to serve w/ sandwiches)
Omelettes w/ peppers & mushrooms
Baked oatmeal w/ apples
Sourdough pancakes
French toast
Eggs, Bacon (have), toast
Sourdough muffins w/ bananas, frozen berries, nuts (have)

Snacks
Fruit
Yogurt + frozen berries (have)
Homemade oatmeal cookies (have the stuff)
Cereal (WIC)
Raw veggies/dressing

List
3 lbs carrots
celery
salad greens
onions
broccoli
cauliflower
potatoes
green beans
apples
bananas
mushrooms
avocados
green peppers
zucchini
cabbage
lemon
tomato sauce
canned tomatoes
peanut butter
coffee
1 whole turkey
sour cream
half and half
yogurt
frozen spinach
ezekiel noodles (sprouted grain noodles)

WIC
4 lbs cheese
8 gallons milk
4 dozen eggs
2 lbs split peas
4 boxes cereal/oatmeal
8 containers juice
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#2 of 14 Old 03-02-2008, 09:52 PM
 
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What about adding more fruits and vegetables - frozen berries can be bought in bulk to use in smoothies, crisps, to put on yogurt, made into muffins, added to salads, etc.

Fresh peppers for adding to chili and spaghetti sauce, aded to salads or sandwiches, snacking with or withour dip (you can make dips with yogurt, garlic and herbs and spices.)

Instread of buying salad dressing (usually loaded with lots of stuff) you can make your own with olive oil, balsamic (or other flavor) vinegar, some fresh garlic, salt and pepper.

Do you like salsa? That is another way to get more veggies in - my dh loves to put a little salsa in his grilled cheese sandwiches or at least dip the sandwiches in it. It is yummy on baked potaotes, too - with a little of the cheese you get from WIC, you can make a meal out of this, especially if you add some green onions and a salad on the side.

You can make soup out of your leftvover turkey bones.
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#3 of 14 Old 03-02-2008, 11:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for replying! Yeah fruits and veggies are tough in the winter, so I usually see what is on sale and get those for snacks and to serve with meals, etc. Thanks for the ideas, I have a hard time staying creative with limited choices! That is a good point about the dressing, I was going to buy this organic kind with less stuff in it but it is $4 a bottle so it would make more sense to make my own. DD and I do eat lots of frozen organic berries from the commissary, they just weren't on my list because we stocked up last time
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#4 of 14 Old 03-03-2008, 12:47 PM
 
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If you like ranch dressing we think the following is an excellent substitute for Hidden Valley Ranch. I can't remember where I found it online so I've changed the written directions to make it copyright-safe.

Ranch Dressing

Ingredients:
  • 7 saltine crackers
  • 3/4 cup dry minced parsley flakes
  • 1/4 cup dry minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon dry dillweed
  • 2 tablespoons onion salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic salt
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
Dressing:
  • 1 tablespoon mix
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup buttermilk
Preparation:

Mix:
Blend crackers until powdered. Add parsley, minced onions, and dill weed and blend again. Pour into a bowl and stir in onion salt, garlic salt, onion powder, and garlic powder. Store dry mix at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 year.

Ranch Dressing:
Combine 1 tablespoon of the mix with 1 cup each mayonnaise and buttermilk.
Makes 2 cups of homemade ranch dressing.

Jessica, wife of Marc and Momma to Nikolai (7) and Nathaniel (6).  Expecting Olivia in August! 

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#5 of 14 Old 03-03-2008, 02:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks!! My DH loves ranch dressing and I have a new buttermilk culture and tons of mayo in the fridge so that is perfect!
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#6 of 14 Old 03-03-2008, 03:01 PM
 
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I would see if you could get away with less cheese in the lasagna. Also substitute cottage for ricotta if cheaper, and a cheaper cheese for mozerella (and use half of it). I would add shredded veggies (carrot, zucchini, etc.) to provide more texture.

Also, I would make at least 1 night a week and possibly two leftover night. (In my house they were called "mustgos" as in must go.
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#7 of 14 Old 03-03-2008, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LookMommy! View Post
I would see if you could get away with less cheese in the lasagna. Also substitute cottage for ricotta if cheaper, and a cheaper cheese for mozerella (and use half of it). I would add shredded veggies (carrot, zucchini, etc.) to provide more texture.

Also, I would make at least 1 night a week and possibly two leftover night. (In my house they were called "mustgos" as in must go.
Well the mozarella is free through WIC, but I will definitely check out the price of cottage vs. ricotta. Do they function the same in recipes? I never thought about that before. Or even better, does anyone know how to make cottage or ricotta? We have tons of free milk. We usually eat the same meal 2-3 nights in a row, but mixing them up is a good idea to provide variety.
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#8 of 14 Old 03-03-2008, 04:45 PM
 
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I read you ideas and they do seem good, I would agree about the cottage cheese vs. ricotta I always use it in my lasagne and I would skim down on the amount of mozzarella. My mom always used cottage cheese( it's poor man's ricotta, a friend once said to me). I am in the beginnings of doing the same thing I am trying to go for at least a week living off of pantry and freezer items, we are broke right now and so this is my first experiment at this. We have a ton of food here, we also get WIC for DD, so we have a few gallons of milk, some eggs and cheese coming our way in a couple days. I am experimenting with this right now, we always have a well stocked home and now I am putting my skills to the test. The only things that we'd purchase are fresh veggies, I can't really live without them and where I live our store is very good about produce. Some ideas that I have are broccoli(right now super cheap), cabbage, I got 2 last week for a total of $2 and have made coleslaw a couple of times with it, grapes were really cheap here too. I always plan around sales and now I'm trying to be even more frugal as I have a goal of ridding ourselves of our credit card and I will figure out how to get it down(sorry I digress). I would like to read what others have to say.

Me Wife to T (14 years)Mama to Princess(4) and Monster Boy(my 1 year old ):
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#9 of 14 Old 03-03-2008, 04:50 PM
 
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I forgot to say I have started making almost all of my dressings, and I saw that you make yogurt, I sub 1/2 yogurt 1/2 mayo in all my dressings, there are some really good recipes out there for ranch, blue cheese, and many vineagerettes. I have been making all of my cream based dressings and they are SO much better. I know that my MIL used to freeze milk when it was on sale, she was the queen of thrift she had 7 children and they were not rich, but they ate well. I remember my DH saying she froze milk, you could look it up, I bet for cooking it would be just fine.

Me Wife to T (14 years)Mama to Princess(4) and Monster Boy(my 1 year old ):
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#10 of 14 Old 03-03-2008, 05:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Good luck Norasmomma! Cabbage is a great idea but the smell of cooked cabbage makes me want to puke right now (first trimester) so I am definitely going to try coleslaw. DH LOVES it which is a plus because the number of veggies he likes is limited. We eat a lot of broccoli too now, in fact I get some every time I go to the store and it is our standby veggie.

I did find a recipe for cottage cheese that uses milk, vinegar, and salt!
http://www.recipezaar.com/46595

Now that is two more things I don't have to buy, dressing and ricotta. That saves about $8-10 so I can buy more veggies and fruit
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#11 of 14 Old 03-03-2008, 06:27 PM
 
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Oh I don't cook cabbage either, we all love coleslaw at our house so that's what we've been having, I will look at that cottage cheese recipe, although I just loaded up at my store because some almost out of date containers were 2 for $1, so cheap. I have frozen it and it makes it even more like ricotta, and works great. There is a thread in Frugality and Finances about freezing milk and many say it's fine, I think I will start doing it with some of my quarts from WIC.

Me Wife to T (14 years)Mama to Princess(4) and Monster Boy(my 1 year old ):
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#12 of 14 Old 03-03-2008, 06:46 PM
 
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What we do that makes Chili go further is this:
Add Rice -- don't knock it unless you've tried it! It really is good.
And also, We add veggies to the chili for left over night and make a "taco salad" out of it -- The rice/chili/cheese/sour cream/lettuce/tomato/green onion/black olives .. is a great combo and helps you get more veggies in.

Married to a wonderful man and we have 1 adorable baby girl (8/30/2010) and 2 furbabies.
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#13 of 14 Old 03-06-2008, 10:31 AM
 
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Here's another idea for leftover chili.

http://familieseatinghealthy.blogspo...amale-pie.html

I got this from someone here, and it was so yummy and my whole fmaily liked it.

Doing my best every day with DH , DD (11) , and DS (4)

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#14 of 14 Old 03-06-2008, 11:23 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reneeisorym View Post
What we do that makes Chili go further is this:
Add Rice -- don't knock it unless you've tried it! It really is good.
And also, We add veggies to the chili for left over night and make a "taco salad" out of it -- The rice/chili/cheese/sour cream/lettuce/tomato/green onion/black olives .. is a great combo and helps you get more veggies in.
Rice in chili is so good! I use the instant kind, it soaks up the yummy chili flavor.

We also put it into flour tortillas and make beritos and enchaladas with the same mix.

Doing what I can to make better choices every day!
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