One of the reasons for starting this blog is to have a record of the recipes I make. I (like my mom) am famous for making a recipe, changing it up a little and not writing it down. That delicious meal is then lost forever, and can never be shared or cooked again. I am an experimental cook as well, which means I don’t have a lot of recipes I make on a regular basis (a lot of times because of what I stated previously). Even so, I like variety and cooking new things.
I also love pouring over cookbooks to get ideas and then come up with my own recipe based on the ingredients I have on hand. This helps with our budget immensely. Also, if I want to know how to cook something, I’ll go to foodnetwork.com or myrecipes.com and read several different versions of that recipe. Based on what I already have, I’ll combine several different recipes to make something that will fit our budget.
Making things from scratch is way to help with the budget, but is also healthier because you know exactly what is going into your food. I have started making my own tortillas and cooking dried beans in the slow cooker to freeze in batches for later meals. These are both money saving and healthier than buying from the store. Tortillas take a little time, but to me it’s worth it.
Another thing I do to manage the grocery budget, is to meal plan. I do weekly meal plans based on what I have in my pantry and freezer and what is on sale at the grocery store. Sometimes, I shop at two different grocery stores to ensure I get the lowest price on what I am buying. This was hard for me at first because I am a creative cook, and I like to cook what I’m in the mood for at the moment. So I try to plan meals that are diverse in tastes and ethnicity in one week. I use a meal plan that accounts for breakfast, lunch and dinner for each day, but I’m flexible so that meals can be switched to different days based on schedule changes or cravings of the cook. This means I might plan an asian meal, a mexican meal, a meatless meal, a fresh healthy meal and a super budget-friendly meal in one week. I (and my husband usually) don’t mind eating a simple budget meal if I know I will get a hearty mexican meal the next night for dinner. It’s kind of like a puzzle that fits together. I am working on keeping my meal plans in a binder, so I can easily pull out an old one when I’m not feeling inspired. In the future, I’ll post my meal plans for reference.
If you would like to see the template I use for meal planning, you can find in here at theprojectgirl.com.