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Food & Recipes
Articles: Food

Living out of your Pantry: Meal Plans

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The Shopping List

Produce

  • Spinach
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes
  • 2 bundles of broccoli
  • 1 container of mushrooms
  • 1 bag of potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Fresh rosemary, oregano, thyme, and parsley
  • 3 heads of garlic
  • Bay leafs
  • 1 head lettuce
  • Bananas
  • 2 lemons
  • Basil
  • 1 orange
  • 2 onions

Canned Goods/Prepared Foods

  • 2 cans beef stock
  • 1 can chicken stock
  • 1 large can chicken stock
  • 1 regular size can of tomato sauce
  • 4 large cans whole tomatoes
  • 2 large cans tomato sauce
  • 2 cans tomato paste
  • 4 cans crushed tomatoes
  • Ranch dressing
  • Salsa
  • Onion soup mix
  • Taco seasoning packet

Baking Needs

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Italian blend herb mix
  • Bread flour
  • 3- Flour
  • Yeast
  • 2- Sugar
  • Italian breadcrumbs
  • Cornmeal
  • Oatmeal
  • Onion salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 bag semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 bags butterscotch chips
  • 2 boxes chocolate pudding mix

Grains/Pastas

  • Orzo pasta
  • Egg noodles
  • Ziti
  • 2 packages spaghetti
  • Linguine noodles
  • Rice
  • 2 Soft shell tacos
  • Hamburger buns
  • Chicken Flavored Rice a Roni
  • Meat
  • 2# beef stew meat cubes
  • 3# boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2# ground turkey
  • 8 thin cut pork tenderloins
  • 3# hamburger
  • Bacon
  • 4 thin cut steaks (any variety)
  • 5# chicken
  • 1# sausage

Frozen Foods

  • Corn
  • Broccoli
  • Baby Peas
  • Texas Toast

Dairy

  • Milk
  • Grated parmesan cheese or parmesan cheese wedge
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 packages grated mozzarella
  • 3 boxes of Butter/Margarine
  • 2 Eggs
  • Grated cheddar
  • Cottage cheese

Beverages/Alcohol

  • Box of regular tea bags
  • Red wine
  • Sherry

Tips for Saving Money on the List:

Tip #1: Try and look for substitutions on produce where you can. Maybe the produce isn't in season, the frozen or canned is on sale, or there is another type of vegetable/fruit that you can use to substitute with. That particular week, the broccoli was on sale so you can see broccoli making an appearance in several different forms. If broccoli is listed as a side and you are more of an asparagus kind of family, by all means substitute where you can.

Tip #2: To save money on the list try and skimp on the meat where you can. For example, one of the meals listed is a broccoli and chicken Alfredo dish. If you wanted to make this a little differently and save money, make this a broccoli and tomato Alfredo dish. You can also use half the meat listed in some of the recipes. One of the recipes listed is for chicken tacos. The chicken is mixed in a mixture of rice and salsa; I highly doubt you will miss the other half a pound of chicken. Just try and shred the chicken into smaller pieces so that the chicken is found throughout the entire dish. Or if you are vegetarian, remove the meat altogether.

Tip #3: Buy the generic versions of items where you can or look for items that are on sale so that you can make the meal for as little as possible. Try and look for ingredients at your local dollar store or in stores that are known for their cheaper prices in your area. There is no sense, in my mind, for buying brand-name flour as opposed to the generic variety, especially if it lines my pockets with a couple of extra dollars.

Tip #4: Make this a challenge and not a woe-is-me project. Sometimes it can turn into that if you don't have the right attitude. You are saving your family some money and your family will really appreciate the efforts you have made to make such nice meals and for so little. Be proud and not downtrodden that you can't go grocery shopping this month. Think of it as one less month you have to brave those crowds of people and their carts.

Tip #5: Realize that you are not limited by the menu I have given you. There are so many other options using the same exact ingredients that I have listed. There is a lot that can be done with bread, cheese, flour, milk, and eggs.

Tip #6: Get creative and enlist your helpers in the kitchen. Tell your family that you are having a breakfast night for dinner. Use cookie cutters and create cute shapes for the kids out of the eggs or pancakes. Another idea would be to have a passport night and travel to another country. Tell the kids that they are all going to Italy for a trip and provide Italian music and spaghetti with breadsticks. Have a picnic night or a camping out night indoors. Bring your flashlights for some extra fun and don't forget your basket of food.

Tip #7: This may seem like a no-brainer, but I feel it is worth mentioning. Try and plan your menu so that you use your fresh produce first. There is nothing I feel worse about than having to throw out what was perfectly good food. Save the frozen goodies and the canned stuff for later in the month.

Due to copyright laws, I will simply list the web address for where you can find the source of the recipe rather than posting it. For those where the source is unknown, I will go ahead and list the entire recipe.