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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Menu Ideas & Help / Planning a Menu for savings!!!
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    Planning a Menu for savings!!!

    Go to page << Previous Page  1, 2, 3, 4  Next Page >>
    faith58
    Sun Jan 06, 2008 12:39 am
    Food.com Groupie
    here's some budget menu's that look really good.

    parrotheadmamasbudgetmenu

    here is one for valentine that looks awesome by watkinslady

    watkinsladyvalentinemenu
    Alison J.
    Sun Jan 06, 2008 12:43 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Okay, here is where you find out what a nerd I am icon_smile.gif

    I have all of my favourite recipes printed out on colour-coded recipe cards. Yellow is main courses, green is side dishes, purple is soups/sandwiches/salads... well, that's enough for now. I keep adding new cards to my card box as I try new recipes.

    On the weekend, I pick the recipes that I'm going to make from each category and move them to "days of the week" sections. I try to plan so nothing is left over (example: if I only need one green onion for a meal on Monday, I pick other recipes that require green onions so I use the whole bunch over the course of the week)... And I build my grocery list around my cards. So I only buy what I need. Usually. icon_smile.gif

    Added bonus: DH's former excuse for not cooking ("I didn't know if you had anything planned") becomes laughable. icon_lol.gif
    faith58
    Sun Jan 06, 2008 3:00 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    allison that is a great tip.. Maybe since I got the house put back together after christmas I can ambitious and try something like that.
    icon_smile.gif
    Debber
    Sun Jan 06, 2008 5:10 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Holy cow! I feel bad that I don't do more actual "MENU" planning after reading some of these posts here. You gals are AWESOME!!! I always INTEND to do it---I even have a spot for it on my customized calendar/organizer. I'm really rather more of a lazy creative cook. rotfl.gif

    Nope, what I do is this: Whilst going to the basement to do a load of laundry on Monday morning, I'll think: "Oh, I better get something out for supper." We have two freezers (chest & upright), plus an extra fridge with freezer down in our basement. In the upright is mostly fruits & veggies, breads, juices, butter, and all the hamburger packages in a bin at the bottom. Fridge-freezer has pizzas (when the kids have friends over, snacks) and ice cream. In the chest freezer is all the other meat: chicken on the left, then beef & pork in the middle, rabbit & odd stuff on the right, in the baskets are the breakfast meats & small meat stuff.

    I grab a package of chicken and one of beef or pork. Every so often a rabbit pkg or seafood for a treat. Most of the time, there is enough left over from one package of meat, that we get two meals out of it (on purpose). I strive to prepare "leftovers" in such a way that we feel it's a grand meal, rather than a "re-run."

    Because we live so far out of town now (50 miles), I don't really even bother with the sales ads, except for the little rural stores in our little towns here. If something is an exceptionally good price, then I'll make the special trip to buy the item(s). I've found that Woodmans' prices are consistently the lowest and MUCH better selection than Wal-Mart Super Store.

    My menu planning now (thanks to years of developing my recipe files and my recent Zaar-addiction AND my well-stocked pantry & food cellar) is a matter of pulling out a recipe in the morning or a day or two ahead and just making it. My biggest aggravation is "forgetting" to pull something out of the freezer---of course, with a microwave that has a "defrost" feature even that aggravation is eliminated!
    Debber
    Sun Jan 06, 2008 5:22 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    I thought I'd share with you....

    Quite honestly, my menu planning is more of a ONCE A YEAR sort of thing, for each meat-group.

    CHICKEN: We butcher our own birds; we cut almost all our birds up into pieces, so for our family of five we bag them like this: drums & thighs (5 of each) in a pkg; 20 wings in another (pieced out, tips go in the soup pot); debone the breasts, with TWO breast per pkg (4 half breast pieces); backs & necks go to the soup pot, get cooked down & canned for sandwich meat or soup, the broth gets canned too, fat gets frozen in ice cube trays & used for "cooking fat/butter"...... Half of the wing packages have a half cup of soy sauce poured in, so while thawing it begins marinating right away, too.

    You could do this with bulk chicken pieces or whole birds (cut it up yourself---once you know the "reference points" you can cut up a bird in less than two minutes). Drive out to the country, stop at a farm and find out if the farmer knows someone who raises "pastured" or range-fed or free-range poultry. Ask at the local feed-mill (they know everyone!).

    BEEF & PORK: also portioned out (altho' the butcher does it for us). I have a lot of the beef ground up, into 2-pound pkgs; plus some that's chopped into "stew meat" which works for stir fries too; I have the butcher do roasts in 3-4# chunks; 4-5 steaks or chops/pkg.

    Check your Yellow Pages Directory for local butchers or meat processors OR go to the country and ask a farmer....if you want to get a whole, half, split-half beef or hog---it really is a MUCH better deal (dollar-wise) than buying in the grocery store. Go to the local County Fair's Livestock Auction or walk the aisles of the fairgrounds and get hooked up with a local farmer. They'll be GLAD to help you---I guarantee it!

    MENU PLANNING: In my freezers, I used to pack all the beef stew meat together, all the sirloin or steaks, all the roasts, but then I found we were using up certain stuff first & then were "stuck" with the less-thrilling cuts (bleeeeckh!). So now---with the beef only--because there's so much of it----I put it in mixed-up layers---we have something of everything as we go and the freezer gets emptied without piles tipped over haphazardly. It works for us.

    Well, sorry for going on at length, but figured there might be someone out there in Zaar-land that would benefit from the knowledge I've gained. Have at it! icon_smile.gif

    Gotta go make supper! We're having Portuguese Potatoes with Crispy Chopped Broccoli and yummy: Pizza Style Meatloaf
    Rebecca Downey
    Mon Jan 07, 2008 12:59 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    What a great thread. Thanks everyone for making me realize that so many of you plan menus too. icon_lol.gif

    I try to plan my meals on a week-by-week basis. I live in a city and so shopping is always easy. Still, I try not to go out more than once a week; and since I live in an apartment (with only a freezer atop the fridge) there's a limit to how much I can do ahead.

    I started using an excel spreadsheet to do the planning back in '05, and have created a new spreadsheet every year. I've tried planning by the month - and usually can't make it through the first week. Menu items that I don't use one week get pushed into the next week. Now a days, I plan seven nights and usually manage to follow the menu for at least 5, sometimes 6 nights in a row. I try to cook as much from scratch as possible due to dietary restrictions; so I often end up modifying recipes I find calling for tinned soups, beans, etc.

    I post the menu on the fridge (where everyone can see it) and keep track of things that I run out of (or run very low on) right on the menu.

    A while back I started doing a form of OAMC (Once A Month Cooking) where I'd prepare the ingredients for one meal (like making a huge pot of baked black beans, or stock) and freeze the rest. Sometimes I'll marinade several chicken breasts, then freeze them in pairs for several meals over the coming weeks. I don't really do this often enough, but it's something I'm working on improving. icon_biggrin.gif
    Charmie777
    Mon Jan 07, 2008 2:30 pm
    Forum Host
    wave.gif Hi Rebecca!!!! You're a menu-nerd!!! Wooohoooo...let's unite!!! I love it!!!!
    Before Recipezaar started their menu function, I had a spread sheet too!!!! I've now switched over to using zaar for menus and shopping lists, but I completely can visualize how you do it!!!!
    faith58
    Mon Jan 07, 2008 7:29 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    boy I think I need a new years resolution lol
    SoCalMom5
    Wed Jan 23, 2008 1:39 pm
    Experienced "Head Chef" Poster
    I, too, love to plan menus! (And I *love* a bargain!) I generally do mine for a 2 week time period. I try to prepare as many key components of a meal ahead of time and freeze, to save me time and money. That way when I end up in a time crunch I can still cook instead of eating out or eating fast food. During my off-weeks where I don't need to do the major grocery shopping I will keep an eye out for great grocery deals and then incorporate those items into the next menu. That way it doesn't put a major dent in the budget at any given time, I save money and get a variety!
    faith58
    Wed Jan 23, 2008 10:18 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    I do too and for superbowl I usually serve
    pizza
    wings
    meatballs
    rye bread with cucumbers
    various chips and dips
    rice krispies
    brownies
    cupcakes


    Also I take a football and use it as a centerpiece
    football tablecloths
    Use football chip/dip bowls
    One year I even went to a party type store bought football cups and put little goodies in them for the kids

    Football pencils
    candy
    Elisa72
    Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:04 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Until I read this thread I thought I was a pro for planning my menus a week in advance and having my shopping list ready for my once a week shopping.

    I bow to the superior kitchen goddesses!! icon_biggrin.gif
    faith58
    Mon Jan 28, 2008 5:51 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    I do love to plan parties and what I find that is really helpful is get a notebook, write down what you have to do and when you want to do it. Then when the date comes I check it off and move on down the list. By the time the party is here I have everything pretty organized, get it done and enjoy the rest of the day. icon_biggrin.gif
    Charmie777
    Mon Jan 28, 2008 5:55 pm
    Forum Host
    faith58 wrote:
    I do love to plan parties and what I find that is really helpful is get a notebook, write down what you have to do and when you want to do it. Then when the date comes I check it off and move on down the list. By the time the party is here I have everything pretty organized, get it done and enjoy the rest of the day. icon_biggrin.gif


    Oh I do this too. Especially during the holidays. I have a To Do list and I divvy up the chores between the days. This includes cleaning and cooking. Then when I'm done with everything I've assigned for that day, I can relax and not stress.
    faith58
    Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:58 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    charmie I know what you mean. For the kids graduation parties I kept the papers so I had a general idea of how many pounds of food I would need, pop etc and it just makes throwing parties that much easier icon_smile.gif
    *Maggie*
    Fri Feb 08, 2008 5:47 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    You organized chefs are truly amazing. I realize this thread is old but I'm trying to become one of you people(organized chef).

    I just recently paid for the premium membership but I'm a little intimated of the menu features. "What if I put down something and don't make it". Oh the fears I possess.

    One day when I grow up I'll be an organized chef. Right now all I am is a recipe hoarder. I keep finding all kinds of great recipes that are yet to be tried.
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