What’s for Dinner

by Kelly

in Frugal Food

A day or two after I go grocery shopping, I take a piece of paper and go through the fridge and cupboards writing down all the meals I am able to make from what I have. It may seem a bit backwards, but this is my solution to the nagging ‘What’s for dinner?’ question. While I’m pretty good at planning a month’s worth of meals, and then shopping for the ingredients (in fact I used to do it professionally) I find that it’s inevitably a frustrating affair. A forgotten or missed ingredient can jinx a month’s worth of menus.

So instead I do the opposite. I plan my grocery shopping trips carefully by looking at what staples I have and what I need. Our staples are probably the same as yours: flour, yogurt, bread, milk, breakfast stuff etc. Not to mention that with three small children I usually end up preparing a revolving door of favorite meals, so I pick up the essentials for those as well.

I’m trying to shop only three times this month, in an effort to stay under our €400 grocery budget. These are the meals I’ve jotted down after a cursory glance although I could probably find more if I look harder.

Everything on this list is kid-tested, kid-approved, and my husband will eat it as well. I’m not tied down to making a specific meal on a specific day. Creating a menu plan like this allows me to be flexible and creative, while shooting that ‘there’s nothing for dinner, let’s swing by McDo’ urge in the foot!

  • fish with grains and carrots
  • mac n cheese with green beans
  • hamburgers with corn and Jojo’s
  • veggie lasagna
  • veggie soup with quesidillas
  • black beans and rice with tomato salad
  • pasta with tomato spinach sauce and cheese
  • Chinese noodles and stir fry veggies
  • leek and potato pie with tomato soup
  • green eggs and Jojo’s
  • hot dogs and beans on toast, salad

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