Quick dinner plans for a family of 6, also grocery saving ideas - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 05-07-2010, 01:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We're trying to trim our food budget. We've been buying too many processed foods lately. We have four kids, dh works full time and I work part time. Dh does a split shift and I work in the middle so one of us is always with the kids. I'm struggling with meals lately. I have tons of cookbooks, but since the weather is nicer, I've been spending time outside with the boys. Dh isn't home yet when I'm cooking dinner, so it's a challenge to make sure the kids and dog are co-existing peacefully and cook.

We have tacos one night and pasta with marinara and a vegetable one night. Those are both quick. I realize if we would stop buying so much packaged stuff, it would really save money. We buy the Amy's frozen meals. Our 3 year old likes the mac & cheese or lasagna and has it for lunch most days.

I'm buying one of the Pampered Chef sandwich sealers to make "uncrustables" and I'll put them in the freezer for lunches.

I tried cooking a large batch of beans in the crock pot a couple times but they didn't go well. We buy organic canned beans, but they're store brand organic, so only about $1.19 a can, which isn't bad.

We probably should include more rice, as that's an inexpensive staple. One of my kids is very anti-lentil. We've found a couple things he likes, but not much. He has tried and always does try them when I make something, but he consistently says he doesn't like them. Bummer since they're cheap too!

We try to buy as much organic as we can, or at least GMO free.

We go through TLC cereal bars like crazy. A box a day, so $2.79 per day. Dh and all the boys eat them.

I'm willing to make some stuff if it will save money, but time is valuable too and I don't always have a lot of it. I'd appreciate any quick dinner suggestions as well as money saving tips for food shopping. Thanks!
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#2 of 3 Old 05-07-2010, 02:01 AM
 
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http://www.amazon.com/Fresh-Vegetari...3208241&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.com/Gourmet-Vegeta...3208241&sr=8-2

http://www.amazon.com/Gourmet-Vegeta...3208241&sr=8-2

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#3 of 3 Old 05-12-2010, 09:30 PM
 
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I purchased a new crockpot a few years ago. It cooks beans like no bodies business. The previous one took two days. For a few bucks I have plenty of beans for a few days worth of eating. One of my children can eat two cans of beans in a sitting

For sloppy joes we use a mix of red dal and tvp. I used to use the frozen crumbles, but I slowly started to add in the dal and then one day I just went to the tvp. I got no complaints, but I didn't tell anyone.

Make the lentils and provide a few sides. The lentil hater can just eat the "sides". BTW, don't think of dishes as sides. Baked beans are a great main dish.

Stop eating those granola bars. Are they really worth it? I have a really small budget, so for me it just isn't. I would rather buy fruit or have smoothies. My homemade cookies are much better and I can make a bunch for that price. I like this recipe.

Eat leftovers for lunch.
Use the crockpot.
Cook in big batches.
Freeze leftovers.
Prep food for cooking after or during dinner (or at another meal if that's easier). Chop veggies for 2 or 3 days. Soak a pot of beans. Put out a jar of grains you want to cook. Heck cook extra grains (pasta, rice or potatoes), put them in a large bowl to cool. The next day turn that into a salad for snacks or lunches.

Make a food schedule and menu. If you eat Tacos on Monday, make enough for taco salad on Wednesday. Put the leftovers in small containers. Put all those containers in a crisper drawer or dishpan. Label it KEEP OUT.

Make a giant pot of chili. One night it's served with cornbread. One night it's on potatoes. One night it's enchilada filling. One night it's for chili dogs, chili cheese fries, nachos....we like chili....ymmv.

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