Are you a Superwoman or a Superman? Yeah, me neither! My 7 tips to menu planning and money saving are going to be really handy then :)!
Ah. I wish I was Superwoman, it would be nice and help on a daily basis! Be a hero, save lives, fly or whatever my superpower would be... Well! Sorry to break it to you but none of it exists.
For now, you will be the hero of your own house!
Side note before we get started
I have a question that I do get asked quite often though: How you find time to blog (recipe testing, photographing, editing and writing) and work full-time and 2 kids at home? Mhhh... Are you ready for the answer? I don't know.
As a hobby blogger, I don't do as much as full time bloggers do. This is just my happy place: cooking, baking, taking pictures, SEO (no I'm kidding! Planning to balance things out helps me stay somewhat sane AND you will be saving money in the process!
My passion for cooking and baking helps me on my daily life! Adapt MY tips to YOUR life, this is what works for me because I love it!
At home, planning my menu has helped us a lot: Listing meals for the week allows us to have a more relaxing week and buy smarter (hence saving money). I have gathered a few tips that I hope will help you smoothing out your daily routine and wallet.
1. Plan menu for the week.
This is a task in two parts: List all the meals you family likes and then you can do all the menu planning!
Make a list of meals that your family likes, keep it handy on paper, in an app, whatever works for you. I'm a little next level, I have a few by season or even when it's a school night (for leftovers)! You don't have to do that. Try to list 15 maybe of the all time favorites.
Now pick what you wish to cook that week. Consider what is in season and on sale at your store (saving money right here!). Apply those 2 advices and your final bill will say thank you.
I have Google Keep on my phone to list my groceries and plan my menu for the week.
2. Shop for what you need.
Now that you have established a menu for the week, make a list of ingredients you will need. This step will save you time and money at the grocery store. I have shopped way faster by just grabbing what I need and not browsing all the aisles (although I love looking around in supermarkets!)
Shopping online I've been a game changer and I talk about it here.
3. Plan according to your fatigue level.
Do you feel as motivated and rested on Fridays than you do on Mondays? I don't. So I consider making easier and faster meals as the end of the week approaches. Monday and Tuesday, I would do something that requires more preparation whereas on a Thursday, I would stick to something more simple.
Beginning of the week: Homemade meat balls or Spinach-Goat cheese roll-ups creamy butternut squash.
End of the week: Low maintenance: this 30-minute Mediterranean Salmon
4. Cook a few batches at the time.
Of course! If you got all the ingredients and dishes out, might as well make a double or triple batch and freeze it. I do that with a few recipes like my lasagna. You can also make a big batch of meat balls with your little ones and freeze it, you will love eating these homemade dishes on a busy weekday!
5. Make a new dinner with the leftovers.
SAVING money right here!
I know, some people hate eating twice the same meal in a row. I don't mind. Still, I like to challenge myself and re-purpose some leftovers. It always looks like a new dish while it isn't! Give a second life to that chicken or that leftover of ground beef!
6. Do some preparation in advance.
As you making a Quiche tomorrow? Well, get ahead and make the crust tonight. Think about what you will do in the upcoming days that could help get ahead, even if it involves chopping a few veggies for tomorrow's ratatouille. Every little bit helps in a busy life. Trust me.
7. Look at what you have in your pantry and fridge.
You don't have to make full-cart groceries every week, you might have ingredients in your veggie drawer, freezer or pantry that could be incorporated in your menu. Be creative, the sky is the limit and you don't always have to stick to a recipe. How about that can of black beans in your pantry? Make a chili con carne!
Your time is precious, specially the one spent with your family. Although cooking is my passion, my family is my life and my number one priority so I try to be efficient. I am not perfect but I'm working on it :)!
It certainly makes evenings smoother and you feel like a winner by being ahead of the game. All those efforts eventually pay off and planning a weekly menu has its benefits, you:
- Saving money
- Saving time in the kitchen
- Saving me from the headaches and frustration
And YOU... What is your secret weapon to a relaxing week when it comes to cooking?