I’ve been back at work full-time for almost two months, and my husband has been back at work for two weeks. That means we’re learning new routines as a family of four, and one of the biggest things we have to work on is meal planning (and the actual mealtime). When the baby was born, we had weeks where people brought us meals, and we have still some meals in our freezer (thanks to my husband who stress cooked one weekend.) I work 30 minutes from home, so time is of the essence. Especially when I will only have 90 minutes with the baby before she goes to bed each night.
Not only is time of the essence, but budget is very important – moreso now than ever before. I took a good portion of my maternity leave as unpaid leave and we’re still playing catch-up. We have one medical bill that is new and beginning in August, we started paying for childcare on two children. So. A lot of stuff.
The one thing I can control in our budget is part of our grocery bill. I do tend to eat out during the week at work, simply because it’s easy and kind of fun. Last week was the first week where I was intentional about not eating out except on Friday (I can get away with eating for around $5 on Fridays. It’s nice, and I don’t want to cut that out.)
I did the grocery shopping this weekend. The husband and I are meal planning, and I’m being more intentional in the food I purchase – less hormones and chemicals wherever possible. When I set to shop, I planned for snacks (fruit, vegetables) and stuck to my grocery list. Seriously, how many impulse buys do you make each week? It’s so tough! I’m trying to make dinners exciting for my son who would eat hot dogs and “cheese sandwiches” (grilled cheese) every day if we allowed him. This weekend, I told him he had to choose a vegetable to eat this week. He chose broccoli. I’ve fit in some of his favorite meals, and I’m hoping that we can stick to a smaller grocery budget!
Sunday – Hamburgers
Monday – Hot dogs and sausages. (Husband will be home to grill.)
Tuesday – Taco (salad) Tuesday! Instead of tacos, we’ll be making a taco salad. I’ll make my son a quesadilla, with meat on the side. (It’s so random, but so are his eating habits.)
Wednesday – Slow cooker rotisserie chicken
Thursday – Pasta a la Caprese (I added this recipe to the blog one year ago this week! It’s a summertime favorite of mine.)
Friday – Pizza (we have a few frozen)
Saturday – Possibly leftovers. The boys will be going to a birthday party and I’ll be at a conference downtown.
So this month’s main goal is to eat out less during the week (for lunch.) I’m also trying not to eat out more than once on the weekends. My husband was away this weekend, and while it would have been so easy to eat out, I did manage to cook at every meal.
We normally spend anywhere from $150-$200 on groceries. I can get it less than $150, but we have also been fairly frivolous in our grocery purchases. That has to stop. I also don’t normally shop at 3 stores, but I happened to be near them. I shopped at Target, Aldi and Ingles (local to us) for groceries and spent less than $100. I’m definitely off to a good start.
What are you eating for dinner this week? What slow cooker recipes can you recommend for two adults and a picky 5-year-old?