Like many other moms I am sure, I really dislike deciding what to make for supper. I think for me, it is the most frustrating part of being a mom and wife. This is how meals work around here:
I usually do one big shop at the beginning of the month for staples and things for the freezer. Then after that, I go about once a week for fresh fruits and veggies and milk.
I don’t like to shop for specific meals because that gets way too expensive. I like to get what I am used to working with.
$325 per month. That includes any restaurants and coffee.
What I keep on Hand
Dairy – milk, cheese, sour cream (usually), eggs, butter
Fruits and Veggies – apples, bananas, other fruit that is on sale, ice burg lettuce, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes (usually), peppers (usually, unless they are way too expensive), potatoes, yams, freeze dried onions (because I don’t like or use them enough to buy whole ones)
Meat – pork loin, ground beef; when it’s on sale I get whole chickens to quarter and stewing beef
Dry Goods – cereal, peanut butter, honey, pasta, different forms of canned tomatoes (diced, paste, etc.), black beans, salsa, rice, oats, white and brown flour, white and brown sugar, chocolate chips
Spices and Seasonings – seasoning salt, chilli powder, paprika, oregano, basil, salt and pepper, ketchup, BBQ sauce, chili sauce, soy sauce, various salad dressings
I really only go outside these items when there is something special to cook for or I remember something I can make that I haven’t made in a while (like remembering about pea soup would make me buy ham and split peas). Terribly exciting, no?
Since I always get what I am used to working with, I always only have certain ingredients on hand which means I make the same meals over and over again. My go to meals are:
meat loaf, meat balls, pasta
sweet and sour pork, pulled pork
borscht, chicken noodle soup
nachos, taco salad
Again, I can feel your excitement.
For a while during the summer I was doing a meal plan of sorts, where I would plan my meals for the week, but that didn’t give me new ideas, simply just putting all the decision making on one day. I am lacking something inside of me, like creativity or motivation or something, to get myself to make new meals. Yes, I see delicious looking recipes online and think “That’s a great idea!” and watch Rachael Ray and say “That is super simple!” But it stops there.
So I guess the point of this post is to ask you a few questions:
1) What other staples do you think I should add to my list that could broaden the scope of my culinary skills (I’m not looking for specific recipes…I know how to find those)?
2) Meal planning? Yay? Nay?
3) If you want to share, what is your grocery budget and how do you stay on target?