Monday, February 21, 2011

Meal Plan Monday: Budget!

I LOVE being a housewife (and a blogger-ess) and one of the many reason I'm able to be a housewife and stay at home  is by squeezing every penny, and saving the rest when I can.
Here's how I keep some pennies in my wallet and squeeze the rest to get all the food we need, plus a little we don't need and a little we shouldn't eat :)
  •  As you know I always do a Meal Plan Monday :) Our weekly food bill went down by almost half once I started planning our meals.
  • I always check the pantry, fridge and freezer before I go out, this saves money on many levels, first I can make sure I don't buy items we already have. Second I can use up anything that might soon expire (wasting food is the enemy :) and three you can have a pantry week! 
*Pantry Week is when you try to make the bulk of your meals from the pantry, fridge and freezer before you go the grocery store for the week. We allot a $20 spending cap on food for the week, just enough to add a little meat and a little fresh veggies into the mix. We can only manage to do this 6 or 7 times a year, but the savings are very welcomed in our savings account.*
  • I ALWAYS plan to use the leftovers. There are never enough for dinner the next night but there is enough for Lee's lunch the next day. I do plan on using the leftovers to make parts of the next nights dinner, like roast chicken for chicken pot pies the next day or leftover roast beef for beef dip. 
  • Planned Snacks, If we don't plan our snacks we run out for anything and everything we can find . . . mmmm. . . . Timbits (aka. donut holes to our American Friends :)
  • Plan Breakfast, on weekends I make a big double batch of pancakes and freeze the extras. It works Great, just pull them out of the freezer and pop into the toaster.
  • I use our Slow Cooker a lot. I can buy very cheap cuts of meat, and they turn out amazing!
  • Make meatless once or twice a week. This option has many benefits aside from the cost savings.
  • We make at least 90% of our meals from scratch. Pre-packaged while not being very good for you (in general) are also very Expensive. So we try to cook all of our meals ourselves. If you are going to buy pre-packaged food avoid buy single serving portions, more packaging means more money.
  • We buy no name brands whenever possible, if the quality is the same we go ahead an buy no-name. They are even coming out with no-name brand or store brand organic foods.
  • I only grocery shop once a week, it cuts down on the impulse purchases.
  • We don't buy pre mix's of things (except for Montreal Steak Spice, or Poultry Seasoning, I haven't been able to crack those codes yet :) but pancake mix, biscuit mix, taco seasoning,  chili seasoning we make ourselves. *Bulk section spices are usually cheaper then pre-packaged spices.
  • Try as hard as possible to not shop with kids or husbands for that matter.
-Waste Less
-Store foods correctly
-Plan to use leftovers
-Take your lunch to work
-Shop Locally
-Shop in Season
And the number one rule is an oldy but a goody: NEVER, EVER SHOP HUNGRY!

This week we are going to try FISH TACOS!!!! Tilapia is a very inexpensive fish, so it's the perfect meal for our Budget Conscious Meal Plan Monday :)

1/2 cup (125 mL) shredded carrot 
1/4 cup (50 mL) thinly sliced red onion
1 tsp (5 mL) lime juice
1/4 cup (50 mL) light sour cream or plain yogurt
1 tbsp (15 mL) minced fresh coriander
1 green onion, minced
8 small flour tortilla or corn tortillas
1 plum tomato, diced
1/2 avocado, peeled and diced

1 lb (454 g) tilapia fillets or catfish fillets
1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
1 tsp (5 mL) chili powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried oregano
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) pepper

Fish: On plate, combine oil, chili powder, oregano, salt and pepper; add fish and turn to coat.
Place on greased grill over medium-high heat; close lid and grill, turning once, until fish flakes easily when tested, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine carrot, red onion and lime juice. In separate small bowl, combine sour cream, coriander and green onion.

Break fish into chunks; divide among tortillas. Top with sour cream mixture, carrot mixture, tomato and avocado.


  1. I've just started planning a few meals a week for us too - but I'm starting small, with a goal of making two homemade recipes (and filling in with our usual burritos/egg sandwiches etc). I'm totally with you though on squeezing every penny - especially when it comes to food!

  2. We do the same things you do around the house. Will you plant produce in your backyard this spring? I'm a homemaker w/ no kids too and I'm curious if people ask you the same questions they ask me like "What do you do at home?" ugh!

  3. We are doing a lot of the same things here. I just said yesterday, that we are going to use what we have up in the next week or so (lots of staples) before buying more!!

  4. I'm doing the same here in France. This week I planned to make some fish I will try your recipe (I have all the ingr├ędients!!!). My sweet son (10 year) will be so happy to eat his fish turn to tacos!!! Thanks for sharing the recipe.
    Many blessings from France

  5. Yum! looks sooo good Ashli! I love your tips. I'm all for shopping at Superstore - their no name stuff is amazing!

  6. What great tips! I do meal planning on and off, but I'm obviously going to have start doing it more. It just so happens I did it this week and when I went shopping to fit the plan, my grocery bill was way less than I thought it would be.
    I will have to try "Pantry Week" and the taco recipe, sounds delicious.

  7. Fantastic post! ;) I am not a fish person, but your pictures are making me think twice! ;)

  8. Those fish tacos look yummy!! I do my meal planning very similar to your way... only I work full-time, so I only cook dinners!

  9. the recipe looks yummy....I take it that it serves 2 people or 4? Can you advise. I'm impressed that you are a homemaker without having kids at home....your decorating and organizing is lovely to read about. I first jumped onto your blog when I found the beautiful yellow cover you made for your bird cage.... I LOVE YOUR is going to be very very tight for me shortly actually now, so I look forward to reading more of your blog. Can't wait to see more of your decorating the new house. Regards Kathy, Brisbane, Australia

  10. Hi Kathy,
    The Recipe serves 4 people but it only serves Lee and myself, but Lee eats as much as three people so for 4 'normal' people it should be enough food :)
    That's very sweet of you to be "impressed" with me, haha
    We'll add a kidlet or two to the family later but it's always been our goal to have one at home one out of the home and why wait for kids to do that :) Thanks again!
    Let me know how you like the Taco's

  11. My favorite tip from this post- Never shop with your husband! If I take the Mr. with me to the store, he shops like a toddler throwing in whatever he has a whim for. It makes me crazy!

    I'm a new follower, love the blog!

  12. Wow, great tips! I always plan for leftovers, and I remember watching a cooking show with the chef Caprial when I was a newlywed. She said, why roast ONE chicken when it is just as easy and the same amount of cleanup to roast TWO chickens. Since then, I've always made two at a time.

    Even with my family of six there is plenty of chicken for 3 meals and sandwiches. Last week I made a saucy chicken gravy to go over mashed potatoes with the leftovers, then turned those leftovers into a chicken pot pie.

  13. Oh my goodness your last tip about not taking husbands is spot on...look at this post!

  14. The food look so delicious I was looking to have a food business. Keep posting!



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