I have phases where I really just don’t cook from recipes–no, I fling things in a pot, sauté whatever sounds good, and wambamthankyouma’am, I’ve got dinner on the table. There’s too much to think about or do or pay attention to, and dinner just doesn’t make the cut. Instead, I have to disconnect from the busy day and zen out over the stove, letting my creative juices flow when pricked. I’ve been cooking from recipes long enough to understand how much are going to go, even if I’ve never made that particular dish before.
And do you know what that means? Anyone?
Yeah, like.. nothing to blog about. I want to; I do! I want to want to bake something, pencil in hand, scribbling down all my notes and changes and measurements. I want to want that, but I just don’t want that. What I want to do is furiously throw together dessert during the commercials of the playoffs. Or better yet, gas station layer cake.*
But one thing has not change: I still budget and meal plan, and I still freaking love it. I get so many people asking about tips and tricks and ideas for the week that I figured I would start sharing what we do. I’m not changing anything or planning in a certain way just to post here–it’s almost laughable just how lazy I am these days!–but sharing exactly what we’re eating and why. Ready? Cool! Let’s do it, friends!
That’s a total of 34 meals we need to plan for this week.
- tofu ramen made with rice ramen noodles, soft boiled egg, kimchee, and spinach
- super easy black bean soup
- loaded omelets
- loaded salads
- creamy cauliflower soup
- organic PB&J
Breakfasts are pretty simple around here. O makes smoothies every single morning and drink creamer in his coffee. I do half-and-half in my coffee and vary breakfasts.. sometimes green smoothies, sometimes blueberry granola yogurt bowls, sometimes unsweetened cereal with a bit of maple syrup. We had enough on hand to do yogurt bowls or cereal, but I had to buy everything for our coffee and at least 10 smoothies.
We buy a ton of organic kale, which is super cheap, as well as other seasonal veggies, to keep things cheap. I buy what makes sense, make sure it’s varied, and abide by the EWG’s guide to pesticides (the “Clean Fifteen” and “Dirty Dozen”). We buy those huge boxes of organic baby spinach and lettuce, too, since it’s just too damn convenient. If we did spinach and lettuce from scratch, we would probably save quite a bit each week! But you know.. lazy.
A few of the things we needed for this list we already had – like fries and shrimp in the freezer, the ingredients for pizza dough and dried pasta in the pantry, but there were several excellent sales going on at the time, so I stocked up on a lot of extras while I was there. This is how meal planning goes – you check for great sales and stock up when it makes sense, then balance those larger receipts with cheaper ones down the road. Need tips on getting started with meal planning? Check out my how-to post!
There was an awesome sale on jarred baby food (so convenient!), cheese, and chuck eye steak, so I loaded up on that. I’m leaving the baby food–along with a couple other super weird things I bought for Leo–out of the receipt total. I mean, does a singing remote for baby really count?
On everything else, though, I spent a total of..
A little higher than I like normally, but again, I stocked up on a lot! And at 34 meals that week, that’s a total of $2.58 per person per meal. That’s, how do we call it, crazy cheap. That’s about as much as we’d spend on two dinners out together!
What are you making for dinner this week?
*When I lived downtown, there was a swanky gas station next door that pressed their own juices in the mornings and made fudge- and cream-filled layer cakes. To this day, still my favorite cake. GAH! I have to pick up a slice anytime I’m down by the bridge.4