Help :(

Chantelle - posted on 02/04/2011 ( 28 moms have responded )

108

68

7

hi there i'm still having a hard time adapting to cooking and planning and preparing and not spending so much money with meals breakfast lunch dinner when i do shop for food doesn't last and spending so much money is taking a toll seems like we've been having the same easy meals everyday it's either tuna helper or hamburger helper the main meal i most worry about is dinner but now im starting to think about breakfast and lunch seems like i'm running out of everything and we've been having the same things everynight im not use to doing the cooking i wish there was a place where they can teach parents how to do everything that has to do with cooking i have my mom but she is very busy with work and lives about an hr away what has everyone done to adjust simplify/healthy wise my daughter is 19months and i still dont know what im doing Help!!! please

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Irene - posted on 02/08/2011

15

37

2

Hi i'm like u i never cooked before my daughter came along and she's 15months now and on solids i've bought annabel karmel cook books she shows u how to do receipes for babies up wards that are healthy and colourful so that they'll want to eat them my daughter likes most of the receipes nd i make a big batch nd put them into small containers nd freeze them nd just defrost 1 everyday so i don't have to cook every night. I hope this helps!!

Amanda - posted on 02/07/2011

1,194

4

171

I have not scanned everybody's replies, but do you have a crockpot/slowcooker? If not, it is a good investment-when you have the money. You just throw your ingredients in and let them cook all day! There are tons of places that offer crockpot recipes too, so you don't have to buy a recipe book if you don't want to! The other cool thing about a crockpot is that because it cooks everything on a lower setting for a longer time is that you can buy the "tougher" cuts of meat at a lower price, but they won't taste tough by the time they are cooked! I love the crockpot! Kind of like a casserole, you just throw everything in, turn it on, and leave it for up to 10 hours!

Tiziana - posted on 02/07/2011

222

2

14

I have the same issue, I feel like we eat the same things over and over. I have $100 weekly budget for food, so it is not easy. But like others have said premaid meals get quite expensive. I make a list and shop once a week. I dont worry about wednesday cause its half price pizza @ our favorite place lol. For dinners, I buy bulk ground meat and make meatballs and chilli (from one package I probably get 5 meals. I buy frozen tilapia fillets and once a week I just pop them in the oven w some olive oil, garlic, lemon and other spices. Sometimes I'll buy frozen shrimp and cook them in diced tomatoes, garlic and spices over pasta. Sausage and peppers other nights. For sides I buy frozen vegi's, salad, stuffing, potatoes. You dont have to be a great cook to make simple easy dinners, just have to find some recipes. Thats how I learned, not everything came out great the first time (and sometimes I still make mistakes). I know a lot of people dont like to eat pasta all the time, but it's quite inexpensive and there is so many ways to dress it up. I'm italian and so we eat a lot of pasta in our house lol. For breakfast and lunch I just have to worry about my son, my husband takes a sandwich and chips, me I eat whatever.

Robin - posted on 02/07/2011

46

12

2

the biggest thing that i can tell you that helps is substitute! if you are trying to follow a recipe the only time you need to follow it exactly is when baking. if you don't have every spice or every ingredient who cares? use whatever veggies you happen to have don't go buy exactly what each recipe says. especially with spices. they are super expensive. if you have it great! if not usually a little salt and pepper is all you need. it doesn't have to be gourmet to be good.
also, buy frozen veggies as opposed to canned. they are healthier and you won't waste them because you can use as little as you want and you put a little bit of a few kinds together to change things up in a staple meal.

...i grew up with friday pizza too!

Amber - posted on 02/04/2011

18

26

1

You know what I started doing.. I started making a list of everything we NEED first... Get all the ads you can possible from every store near you.. Even if its wal mart. Go through ALL of them, look for all the coupons that would benefit you, and all the deals that each store has.. Even get a club membership at stores or they call them discount cards, rewards cards at ALL the stores. Make your list off of ALL those savings and go from there.. The only thing frustrating about it, is that your having to go through ALL the ads, and most likely to get all the good deals, you will have to go to multiple stores.. and ya, its irritating, but whats more important? It works, and you save A LOT of money that way. That and there are SOOO many websites on the internet that give you coupons galore. And they're free. :-) Good luck hunny.. welcome to mommyhood and the ahhh so amazing married life.

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

28 Comments

View replies by

Tammy - posted on 02/19/2012

93

10

10

Start small you are not ready to tackle breakfasts yet. Start with dinners. Take a notebook out and make a list of 30 meals that your family enjoys; and the grocery ingredient that are needed for those meals.



Take a calendary and look at your schedule for next week. Do you have any plans in the evening that would require and easy fast meal. Make sure you plan frozen pizzas; crock pot meal; etc for those nights.



Now look at your grocery ads, what meats are on sale this week? What meals to you have that include those meats? Now you are ready to plan next weeks meals.



For example; this week one grocery store in my area has roasts on sale; and another has Johnsville Brats on sale. Plus I have chicken breasts in my freezer already. I already have my meal plan worked out but if I was just starting out it would look something like this.

Sunday I would cook about 6roasts in the pressure cooker. Time used is about 5hours but it cooks itself with little input from me. I just have to be home while the stove is on.



Monday; BBQ beef sandwiches and tator tots

Tuesday; my oldest has baseball and my youngest has swimming lessons - Frozen pizzas on the pizzaz

Wednesday - My youngest has skating lessons so we would have Chef salad and stuffed baked potatoes. Mix the salad and we have shreadded beef that I didn't mix up for the BBQ sandwiches. Potatoes cook in the microwave approx 30 min cook time and dinner is ready.

Thursday - baked chicken. Marinate it up Wednesday night. Boys can put it in the oven when I get off work and by the time I get home. ( I work an hour away) ( and my kids are home after school as they are 13 and 12 and 7). when I get home we cook up the buiscuits. Dinner ready in 15.

Friday - Brats on the grill with chili cheese fries.





I started this process a year ago. I started with just a week plan and then worked myself up to a month of planning. I now plan my menu out for a month at a time and my entire months ingredients are in my freezer or pantry. The food that I am buying this week will be for next months menus so I am only purchasing things that are on sale or that I have a good coupon for. Or my low time perishables such as lettuce for salads; whole baking potatoes; milk and bread



I spend anywhere from $50-$75/week at the grocery store but less than $10 is for this weeks consumption. The rest is for my menu next month and it is on sale.



Twice a year; I only buy perishables and clean out my freezer and pantry in order to make sure all my stock is used in a timely fashion. Then my grocery bill goes down tremendously that month but is increased the following month so it all works out.

Kelly - posted on 02/17/2011

53

0

3

Im in Australia so I dont know how it is in your neighbourhood, but when I needed to learn to cook I asked my elderly neighbour Mrs Clarke. She showed me cheep recipes from the good old days and recently she has taught me to garden and grow my own vegies. We also get the kids involved. For easy meals I make soups and stews on sundays and freeze them for the week. I also make these awsome chicken and leek pies (taste.com) and freeze them. A freezer is such a lifesaver. Also try to go to farmers markets if you can. It will save you heaps. Buy in bulk and trade with your neighbours. Learn to make from scratch as it will save you a fortune. Dont buy sweets such as cakes lollies and softdrinks as they are a small pleasure that you will forget in half an hour. Always write a shopping list before you go and stick to it. If you see something you would like thats not on the list, put it on next weeks list. Plan your meals so you only have to cook one day a week, and everything just needs to be reheated. I have a two and a half year old and a 6 month old with another on the way and this saves me SOOOO much time. Good luck.

Amber - posted on 02/08/2011

9

5

0

yes a crockpot can be your best friend... Make double batches and freeze half for another meal and go online for free how to vidios. They can be a great help. You can look up alot of ideas and see how to make full meals online. Another thing that helps my family save money is we got an extra freezer and we buy bulk. Go to a whole sale place that sells bulk it saves money and you get mre bang for your buck. (like costco or sams club) and try new kinds of foods. There are alot of great meals out there that are cheap to make if you look around. Hope this helps... My familys food budget for a month is 600 dollars for a family of four so I know how hard it is to pinch your pennys...

Amanda - posted on 02/08/2011

12

9

0

I have found that planning a week ahead is the best for me. Also soups for the winter months are great make the whole batch yes it is a ton but then half the leftovers and put half in the freezer then toda on a day when you don't know what to make you can pull one of those soups out. Also pre-shop online, buy in bulk on dried beans. When you go to prepare them for a dinner make 2 cups at a time. Generally you only use 15oz of the cooked beans for the meal the rest put in baggies of 15 oz put it in the freezer. So much cheaper and healther than buying the can stuff. Get crafty in the kitchen try new things. My husband is Muslim and so he can not have pork in the house well I am from small town IN where 4-H is big. So I learned to get crafty quick in the kitchen. Look at recipes online, learn what you can and can't subistute to make it cheaper. We have cut down on most of the meat because it is really expensive. Also you don't need as much meat as we all think we do. I buy a sack of chicken breasts from costco and that will last me for almost 6 months.

Erin - posted on 02/08/2011

246

40

12

Oh and also. My dad never let us kids or my mom in the kitchen to learn anything. He would always shoo us out, even when I was 23 and wanted to learn to make perogies. Every meal I make I had to learn on my own.Maybe it's just in your blood, but I've had a lot of trials and errors, but you learn if you really want to :)

Erin - posted on 02/08/2011

246

40

12

So, from the sounds of your last name, either you or your husband is ukrainian or polish. Either way, there are a lot of cheap, yummy recipes. Cabbage rolls, oh cabbage rolls. All you need is a head of cabbage, rice, bacon and a can of tomato sauce. Two meals can be made for under $5. Planning is the difficult part of it but once you get the hang of it, it gets way easier. Start planning for a week at a time. And do recipes that you use the fresher ingredients in the beginning of the week so you;re not wasting money by having to throw food out. A sample week of mine would look like this...
Sunday. Slow cooker roast, mashed potatoes, glazed carrots
Mon. Left overs
Tues. Pulled beef sandwiches, salad
Weds. Baked fish, rice (big batch), frozen veggies
Thurs. Cabbage rolls (use rice from night before), salad
Fri. Left overs
Sat. Soup and sandwiches

If I hear my husband complaining that he's sick of taking the same leftovers for lunch a couple days in a row, I'll just tell him to make a PBJ sandwich. Lunch meat is expensive! And my left overs are much more nutritious for them. Every once in a while I'll get them a treat for supper like take out or well go into town for supper, but it's a treat. I try to bake my own cookies and soon will be getting a bread maker so I can bake bread again. I used to do it all by scratch but the weekends were my baking days and I had to start working weekends, so not a lot of time for that. My husband packs his own lunches, he'll usually take leftovers, some cookies, a granola bar, and a couple peices of fruit. I myself have just started eating breakfast again and it'll either be oatmeal, yogurt and berries, or some toast and peanut butter. For lunch I'll either eat left overs or have a salad. My 5 yr old son loves carbs and my 18 month old daughter loves fruits. For lunch I make it easy since it's generally the high energy part of the day. I'll cut up some cucumbers, grapes, crackers and cheese, or make a grilled cheese and some veggie soup for the kids. They only need two servings of protein and dairy a day if that. So by giving them a yogurt and glass of milk there's the dairy and even some protein. Then they really only need one more serving of protein a day and that can be at supper time. Other than that, fill them up on grains and fruits and veggies. Which both have quite a bit of protein in them already. I've considered our family going vegetarian many times. But we've just cut back on meat, which saves a tonn of $$. We we're spending close to $75-100 a month on meat before, now maybe $25. Sometimes I'll go to the meat packers in town and buy an economy pack for $100 and that'll last us almost 5 months. But there's a place in our area that has organic raised beef for only 2.25/lb cut and wrapped that I'm just considering buying a 1/4 side from since we'd live off that for a year.
On the weekends I'll make up a huge batch of pancakes and then freeze the rest for quick breakfasts. We break even on eggs since we have our free range chickens (except in winter) and we sell what ever surplus we have to friends and family. Just try not to eat out. It's so expensive. It's hard when you're tired, but when you plan the meals it really helps when you see what you have to pull out the night before, and it just makes life a lot easier in the end. Good luck!

Stifler's - posted on 02/07/2011

15,141

154

597

Don't look at me I'm still the dumb arse who shops nearly every day for missed items lol Imake sure I have potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, frozen corn, frozen peas and beans, gravox and sausages and I'm right.

Jennifer - posted on 02/07/2011

10

4

1

On days that I do not have a lot of time or ingredients I grab every kind of vegetable I can find in my fridge and chop them up and throw them in my WOK with some water (depending on how much vegetables I have in there, I make sure the water level is an inch higher than the veggies so it doesn't completely evaporate) to boil while I bake some chicken breasts in a dish in the oven. The oven and the stove basically do all the work for you and if you don't add butter or salt and pepper, the meal is REALLY good for you. Because I don't always have the same ingredients, or I have ALOT of them, the taste ALWAYS comes out different but it is so good. My favorite mix usually has carrots, onions, green and red bell peppers, with snow peas. If I have potatoes I cut them up and throw those in there too. I hope this helps. If you don't have chicken, I spoon the mix over some rice on the plate instead. The only reason I like this for you is because you said you run out of things.. I do that too lol that's why grabbing random things out of the fridge makes it easy lol. I hope this helps for at least two types of meal ideas for you =-)))

Amy - posted on 02/07/2011

221

36

24

I would just plan out your week or 2 weeks or even a month. We don't live close to a walmart and our home store can be expensive so I do a monthly plan at lest for Dinner. Change it up a bit. I try not to get the boxed meals or frozen ones un less I see an up coming need of it. Like having baby #2 I need something esey and fast that I don't have to do much for.

Breakfast just make it what ever. Hot cereal, cold, eggs, pankes just mix it up though out the week. Usaly we have eggs about 3 times a week.

Lunch is always heard I just look the night before to see what to make or try to think of something last minit. I hate lunch and it my lest favort part of the day.

Always remeber if you do plan your week out be flexible. If tacos are not going to work this week just change it out with something you planed latter on or for the next week.

Hope this helps

Chantelle - posted on 02/07/2011

108

68

7

thank you everyone all of you are so very helpful and i feel alot better that i'm not alone on this

Alex - posted on 02/07/2011

78

20

8

i try to plan my meals a week in advance. i have found that i save sooo much money cause i only buy what i need for each meal! also, this gives me time to think about different things i can make so it's not the same old same old. even if you have chicken 3 nights a week ( and we do alot cause chicken with the bone in is alot less than boneless) you can look up different recipies so there is variety, you can also look up cooking and prep times so that you can plan your day better. i have two kids. a 6 year old and a just 2 year old. it's hard to find the time to cook, do homework, keep everyone happy and occupied while keeping them out of the kitchen! :) it's a hard balance but after a few years i have figured it out. some of my easiest and least expensive meals are enchilatas ( i use grd. beef or chicken, canned chili, canned refried beans and whatever kind of chese you like. prep time is about 10-15 min and 10-15 min in the oven.) breakfast for dinner (pancakes, waffles, eggs) baked chicken is super super easy to do. just put whatever seasoning you want on it and pop it in the oven for about 45 min or until it's up to temp. i do potatos all different ways. i use pasta with different sauces as a side dish. i also do alot of canned veggies and fruits. much cheaper than fresh and you can buy in bulk when it's on sale. best of luck to you and i'm sure you will def get the hang of it eventually! :)

Jenn - posted on 02/07/2011

2,683

36

93

Breakfast around here is usually simple: cereals, toast, pancakes, eggs, waffles, french toast, etc. with some juice and/or milk or yogurt.

Lunch is things like: sandwiches (all different types), pasta (macaroni, spaghetti, etc.), cheese and crackers with yogurt and some fruit, or we'll eat leftovers from last nights supper.

Supper: a basic meal would be some type of meat (pork chops, sausages, steak, chicken, etc.) with a vegetable and either potatoes or noodles. Then we have taco nights, spaghetti, casseroles, meatloaf, frozen pizza for those nights when you just really don't feel like cooking.

Catherine - posted on 02/06/2011

8

1

1

Sometimes planning ahead helps by making a weekly menu and then shopping for those things it works i have 4 children who all do different things and i find this works for us..,, by a cookbook with basic meals and simple recipes also might be useful

Leisel - posted on 02/05/2011

75

9

3

Ooooh, very important, someone else also mentioned it...Draw up a weekly menu, and write a shopping list. Then only shop once a week and only get what's on the list, you will save loads of money, and every so often I play the empty the frezer/fridge/cupboard game where I am not allowed to buy anything until they are clear, you'd be amazed how long the things that you forget about will last.

Leisel - posted on 02/05/2011

75

9

3

Pancakes for breakfast or lunch or supper, just change the fillings. They are dirt cheap to make from scratch and I make a huge batch and spend one weekend afternoon cooking them and then freeze them with a piece of baking paper between each pancake. also great for lunchboxes. I am in South Africa and certain cuts of meat are cheap here. Pork fillet is very cheap (and healthy), chicken is cheap, ox tongue is cheap (but many people do not like to cook this, my kids loooove it, as it is soft gorgeous meat).

If making Soaghetti bolognaise, make double of the mince and freeze it. Stretch all mince meals with vegetables, eg. grated carrot, red lentils, tinned beans, baby marrows. Stretch all soups with barley and dried pulses (peas/beans). Roast a chicken and freeze the leftover carcass. If there is not much meat, like with ours, wait until you 2 or 3 carcasses and then boil the carcasses with herbs and carrots and onions for an hour, then pick out the bones, put back the meat add vegetables and cook until done...voila...soup.

If you have a big freezer, you can buy most veg and meat when on special and then freeze it. I buy tomatoes, chop them fine(leave the skin on it makes them go further) and freeze them in freezer bags and use instead of tinned ones, it is half the price of tinned. 3 tomatoes are about the equivalent of one tin of chopped tomatoes.
Never buy instant meals! The internet is a great place to find recipes so have fun surfing and cooking.

Enjoy!

Michelle - posted on 02/04/2011

1,606

10

224

I recently started doing freezer meals that I make one afternoon or so a month and then I have them to just pull out of the freezer, cook, and serve for dinner. Lunch and breakfast I usually do fairly quick things as well (macaroni, pbj, cereal, waffles, etc). What saves me time is planning out ahead of time what I'm going to serve. Then I have an exact list when I go to the store and I'm not sitting around debating every night what to make. I also save money by sticking to my list and not impulse buying at the grocery store and checking out the sales before I go. Crockpot cooking is useful too. My friend does E-mealz.com. I think it costs a little bit, but they have weekly menus, print up the grocery list, and keep tabs on sales sometimes as I understand. We have food allergies in my house so I couldn't use it, but it sounded neat and helpful.

[deleted account]

Try this cookbook:
"Campbell's 1-2-3" it has a lot of easy recipes, in it--I use it almost every evening.

The way I do it is to buy breakfast & lunches in bulk, then plan dinners.
For breakfast, I pick 3 of the following: cereal, oatmeal, yogurt & granola, eggs, hash browns, or grits, and I switch them out from week to week. So if we do cereal, eggs, and yogurt one week, we'll do 3 different things the next. (I like to do cereal and yogurt at the same time b/c you can put the cereal in milk or top the yogurt with it. Generally, I only have to buy breakfast foods about every two weeks, because they last longer.

For lunches, we do very simple meals. My husband gets tuna cups or soup, a jell-o fruit cup or apple sauce, and a Gatorade most days. I buy them when they are on sale and stock up--they don't go bad, so I can keep them on hand.
For myself, I tend to snack all day on days that I'm home, so I just buy a bunch of whatever veggies and fruit are in season & a dip. I cut it all up and store in two covered produce savers in the fridge so when I want to snack, I can just grab some fruit, or put the dip on the counter and snack on veggies.

For Dinner, I pick 5 recipes from whatever book I'm using that week and make a list of ingredients. If a recipe does not use up the entire quantity of something I know I have to buy (like it calls for 3 sticks of celery and I know even the smallest bunches have 7) I try to find another one with the same ingredient, or plan to make the same thing twice. That way, I don't have to toss out as much.

Also, I stock up on frozen meals, pizza, and meats when they go on sale. We don't eat them often, but I keep these on hand for nights when we don't have time to cook. Frozen, they don't spoil, so I don't have to use them right away and can wait for the sales--prepared food is grossly overpriced considering how.....not-so-great it tastes.

Desarae - posted on 02/04/2011

73

24

28

I have the same problems. I mean there is just only so much cereal kids can eat for breakfast! But, what I do is make french toast sticks, pancakes, waffles, and popovers. Then whatevers left I freeze, and I always make extra because a box of mix goes a long way and popping them in the toaster is so easy! Lunch I purposly do light things because then they don't eat at dinner. SO grilled cheese and applesauce, raman noodles with cheese and maybe some peas and mushrooms mixed in, one of those cheap party pizzas, chicken nuggets u can get in a huge bag cheap at wal-mart... dinners I do cheesy meatloaf balls ( the kids love those, and cooking them in muffin pans cooks much faster) homemade cheeseburger pizza, hot hamburgers and gravy, chicken cordon bleu, spagetti, mandmade chicken strips, pigs in a blanket, burritos. enchelada pie, quiche, chicken fried chicken or steak, hamburger gravy over biscuits. I feed 3 toddlers, a husband who will not eat any vegitables other than potatoes, and my pregnant self and I spend about $200/week on groceries since our budget is really tight. I hope this helps.

[deleted account]

Have you tried Allrecipes.com yet? A lot of good ideas for meals and cooking from scratch almost always saves money. I save by making dried beans instead of canned and long grain rice goes a long way. Also, left overs turned into different meals works wonders. Be creative! I love making empanadas with left over meats and cheese. Forget the hamburger helper stuff, their expensive and you can find much better recipes out there. Once you make your first masterpiece you'll love it! My son is 2 and eats everything I eat and he's healthy.
Try oats for breakfast with brown sugar or maple syrup, or rice pudding. I know these are old fashioned but their actually good and healthy if made right and cheap!
Lasagnas can be frozen and taken out when needed.
Soups are better the next day. Don't get discouraged and try to find joy in cooking for your family. Put your creative energies and love into it. It really can be a blessing at times!

[deleted account]

I don't worry about breakfast so much, we get a big box of yogurt from Costco, we have eggs, and cereal. Lunch can be hard sometimes, after all there is only so many pb&js you can have. I found that leftovers are often a lifesaver, I make extra dinner for the next day's lunch. Not to mention my husband loves that because he can just grab and go.

Dinner is interesting. I found that stir fries are the easiest thing to make that you can change up constantly. Stopped buying the tuna and hamburger helpers because they aren't cheap and there are better ways to make the same meals. One of my husband's favorite meals is Tuna mac, it can be as simple as boxed mac n cheese, canned tuna, and frozen peas. I often make it my scratch now.

I'm a major Food Network fan. I'm always on there looking for new recipes to try.

We are on a fairly tight budget when it comes to food. Our basic grocery list is almost always the same.

Milk
Bread (often the reduced price bread)
Canned diced tomatoes (there are so many dishes that call for it)
Corn tortillas (again a lot can be made with them)
Chicken (we get about 16 breasts at Costco)
eggs (if we are out)
Olives (great in quesadillas so it isn't just cheese)
Bananas
Apples
Red Bell Peppers (my daughter loves them)

I always keep a stock of different pastas, I make my own chicken and turkey stock and freeze it. I also buy a lot of frozen veggies like peas, broccoli, and green beans.

I try to stay away from frozen dinners and any prepared dinner item as they are often very expensive.

Sarah - posted on 02/04/2011

2,590

14

1081

I think this is every mom's struggle. No matter what foods you make it seems like you get to a point where you feel like all you do is make the same thing over and over. Winter is the hard season for me. During the summer we are busy and it is hot so often times a sub sand. or something light and easy ends up being the meal. In the winter I find what can help is finding some cassarolls that I can make. Often times if I make one a week then it creates a few days of leftovers for either lunch or dinner and it mixes up the day to day what is for supper. It also helps on cost as cassarolls are pretty cheap to make and can go for a few meals. Another thing I will do is when I get bored with what I am making I will go through the cookbooks I have and see if I can find something different that sounds good.
For the cost and planning I had a friend that would plan her meals for the month and then shop accordingly. I have not been able to do the month thing, but I do for the most part plan for the week. This helps to cut down on having to take those trips to the store each night when you realize that you can't make a certain dish because you don't have an ingredient that is needed. Have one night a week be an easy night....in my family growning up Fridays were always Pizza night. Sometimes it was homemade pizza sometimes frozen pizza and sometimes boughten pizza, but it is nice by the end of the week to just have one day where you don't have to think or plan you just have to figure out where it is coming from.

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms