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Meal planning

October 24th, 2021 at 07:21 pm

I hate to admit but I hate cooking.  I'm still getting the hang of cooking enough.  I mean my kids eat like adults so now I need to double meals more because I find I have to still cook daily (VERY annoying) versus once and eating for 2-3 days.  So my goal has always been to cook have enough leftovers for another meal.  Well now that's not happening and sure the costs suck but it sucks more to cook everyday.  We also NEVER have enough for a meal so we have to wait till the end of the week and do a leftover night so that there is enough food for everyone to eat a leftover and finish it! Lunches is scrounged because it's just me unless it's a weekend and we cook or get takeout

18 - leftovers
19 japanese curry
20 leftover japanese curry
21 lunch - leftovers, stuffed bell peppers
22 lunch - salad, family leftovers (eat from week)
23 lunch - hot dogs, dinner - roast pork from chinese market $46.27
24 lunch - leftovers, dinner - out with friends

I'm looking at hello fresh.  It looks like it would be cheaper than what we pay. But of course i can't tell.  I haven't ever done those meal plans and my friends say it costs $135 for 4 meals for 4 people.  But there are leftovers.  So the question is how much does a family of 4 doing hello fresh really spend?  Obviously there are going to be other costs so it's hard to estimate if these meal planning kits which have supposedly less waste are more economical than shopping. I don't know. 

Does anyone else do it?  How do you find it? Have you done a price comparison? Do you do it because it's easier and not more cost efficient.

7 Responses to “Meal planning”

  1. rob62521 Says:

    Sorry you don't enjoy cooking. Can't help you with the meal plans since we don't do them, but what about doubling up recipes so you'd have leftovers? For example, instead of making one meatloaf, make two, even if you don't bake them both, but have one in the freezer so you can add it to a meal and bake it off?

  2. mumof2 Says:

    Sorry you don't like cooking but if the kids are older why can't they cook a meal each week and take some of it off of your shoulders...I meal plan myself and don't use places like hello fresh...but I also think it is portion control...between 3 of us adults we use like 1 chicken breast per you will either have to double what your making and ask them just to have 1 serve or not have left overs...but it would be great for them to cook a meal each week great for them to learn to cook and the cost of food etc...good luck

  3. Lots of ideas Says:

    Here are a few things that can help, that I think are cheaper than Meal plans.

    Plan to cook three times per week.
    Week 1
    Day 1, bake 3 chicken breasts for each member of the family. Do this on foil lined baking dishes to make cleanup easier. Should take 45 minutes to an hour at 350.
    While the chicken bakes, peel and cook two medium potatoes for each person. Mash half of them. Make the other half into potato salad.
    Peel a bag of carrots. Cut half for cooking, cut half into 2-3 inch chunks.
    Cut Up celery to mat pig the carrots.
    Freeze 1 ‘set’ of chicken breasts.
    Meal one is warm chicken, mashed potatoes, carrots. I would add a can of gravy and crescent rolls.
    Meal two is cold sliced chicken, potato salad, cut up veggies with salad dressing for dipping. I might add veggies like cucumbers, peppers.

    Day 2
    Use enough Hamburg to have 1 pound for each person.
    Use 1/3 for Hamburg patties.
    Brown 2/3 and divide in half. I would include an onion because anything I do with it I would need an onion.
    Freeze half of that. Use the rest to make either taco filling, shepherd’s pie, spaghetti sauce, sloppy Joe’s, Hamburg gravy.
    What you do for the rest of the meal depends on your choice.
    Cook macaroni, make pasta salad to go with the burgers, or use tater tots or fries.
    Make a salad - used bagged lettuce to make it easy if you want. I put veggies in pasta salad. I also like lettuce and tomatoes on burgers.

    Day 3
    Make soup with canned broth, leftover chicken if you have any, and any vegetables that are kicking around. Use rice, noodles, or other pasta. I like to add a can of stewed tomatoes if I’m short on veggies.
    Make some form of stew or casserole - beef stew, kielbasa, boiled dinner, tuna fish casserole.
    The soup cooks on top of the stove. The stew can cook in the oven or slow Coker of your choice.

    This leaves one night for pizza, leftovers, order in, or go out.

    Week 2
    Day 1
    Cook a roast or pork chops or a whole chicken. Bake twice as many potatoes as you need. Cook a vegetable or two like squash, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes. I would use canned gravy but you could make your own.
    Refrigerate 1/2 the potatoes.
    If you make chili, make it. Otherwise buy a can and some grated cheese because meal 2 is baked potatoes with chili and cheese.
    Day 2
    Defrost the chicken from week 1 if you don’t have leftover chicken. Cook enough potatoes for 2 meals.
    Use store bought pie crust, canned gravy, frozen peas and carrots, 1/2 the potatoes, make chicken pot pie. Serve with salad.
    Make a potato salad. Serve with ham and pineapple or cocktail shrimp and a vegetable you like - canned or frozen is fine.
    Day 3
    You’re making soup again, using whatever meat you have left from the roast, vegetables, and rice/pasta.
    Serve ‘breakfast for supper’ - quiche, pancakes and sausage, French toast, waffles, bacon, cut up fruit - you choose
    Week 3
    Day 1
    Cook 2 sets of chicken breasts. Freeze 1.
    Cook pasta for chicken Alfredo - check out Knorrs pasta - super easy. Many varieties. Use 1/2 the chicken you didn’t freeze.Serve with salad or veggie of your choice.
    With the other 1/2 of the chicken, make a vegetable heavy stir fry. Serve over rice. I like rice a roni, and I reheat it in the microwave.
    Day 2
    I don’t eat fish, but if you do, this is a good place for a fish meal. If not, you could sub in anything that is easy to grill and serve with French fries/tator tots and a vegetable
    Defrost the Hamburg. Use it for tacos, shepherds pie, sloppy Joe’s, whatever, and build the rest of the meal around that.
    Day 3
    Soup again.
    Hot dogs/brats/kielbasa with whatever you like with them.

    I think you see the pattern...
    You can also save time by getting most vegetable prepped at the beginning of the week, including chopping onions and celery. And by using frozen and canned vegetables and other prepared food..

    Good luck!

  4. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    Lots of ideas thank you so much for the ideas. I will definitely consider the onions and celery prep for week. I think it's a great idea.

    I think that those are great ideas.

  5. VS_ozgirl Says:

    We did HelloFresh for a year and I have to say that it is good for not having to grocery shop but not good if you hate cooking!! The meals are lovely but they say it takes 30 minutes to cook but you have to move fast to actually get it cooked in the allotted time! My DH could get it done in 30 minutes but for me it was generally 50 minutes. I don’t hate cooking but it seems I can never bring myself to cook more than 3-4 nights a week.. Monday I call get your own meaning anyone can eat what they like whether it’s soup and toast or something unhealthy in the oven or a toasted sandwich, Tuesday to Thursday are proper cooked meals, Friday is takeout/out for dinner, Saturday is either a cooked dinner that is more like a treat, or takeout/ eat out, Sunday is either a nice cooked dinner or something quick.. maybe instead of HelloFresh look at bringing some meals into your rotation based on how long they take to cook eg basic chicken stir fry with rice and sauce in a jar takes exactly 15 minutes. Good luck!

  6. LuckyRobin Says:

    You may want to look into making freezer meals. There are all kinds of videos on youtube. Just look up freezer meals, once a month cooking, or once a week cooking, where you do all the prep work over the weekend and then you just pull from the freezer and dump in the crockpot or if casseroles into the oven as needed. You can double or triple whatever you need to. You may need to make sides on some things, but many are standalone meals. If a meal needed sides I'd often do something simple like baked or instant potatoes and canned green beans or a salad from bagged salad. Or if I wanted a fruit, I'd do something like oranges or apples or canned pineapple, something that didn't need to be prepared. There are books in the library here about freezer meals and once a month cooking. It does take some time to figure out portions when your kids go from eating like kids to eating like adults and honestly, growing older kids often eat a lot more than adults as they are still building bone and muscle and skin as they get taller, especially if they are boys. So you may need to be cooking for the amount of 2 or 3 extra adults for a few years. Have your kids help you. If they are old enough to eat adult meals they are old enough to peel, chop, and slice, or dice. Just give them safety guidelines and a brief lesson. I've found having a food chopper helps a lot and kids tend to like using one.

    As for using delivery services, I have found that dinnerly is the cheapest and has the best looking more normal meals. The portions seem adequate. But if you don't mind paying a lot, freshly has premade meals so all you are doing is heating them. However I didn't think that their portions looked big enough for a man to be happy eating them unless he was quite small and teens definitely would be left hungry.

  7. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    Interesting. Thank you for all the help and suggestions. I am going to skip the meal prep for now. My family doesn't particularly like crock pot meals. But my kids do help. My oldest like to help chop and stuff but I could live without. Part of the problem is I don't have a problem (because my mom raised me that way) to eat the same meal 5 days in a row. My DH however wasn't and hates more than 1 meal leftovers. Now that everyone is out of the house it's so easy. I eat whatever i can find in the fridge and i don't have to make lunch and dinner. And I'm figuring out ways to stretch and cobble more meals into 2 meals with sides or something small extra.

    Last night was a small fail, I made chicken korma a new recipe and it was delicious, family loved it. Problem? Recipe was only enough for 1 dinner no leftovers and my DKs asked was there more. Instead i ate a second helping of chili and my DH finished some duck with the kids. Next time? Triple portion so we can have 1 more dinner out of it and maybe a lunch.

    I doubled the chili and there wasn't quite enough for 2 dinners but enough for a few lunches for me. Next week I a planning salisbury steak.

    I will say that my DK like meatloaf so I'm going to start doubling the recipe since one is dinner. Then I will cook one and make the other the next night. Also on deck is frittata.

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