Knittingmama, thank you for the comment! I am more than happy to send you my actual menu if you want (you'd just have to give me your email address)--but it might not help you a whole lot that way, as we probably cook very differently. :) So I thought I would just give you the basic idea of what I did.I originally got this idea from a lady who said she sat down with her husband and they planned out what their family would eat every day all day for 3 weeks--breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner, all of it. Mine is not that extensive. I think it might save even more money done that way--but I like a little bit of choice in snacks etc. (I think laziness plays into it too *wink*)
Basically, I sat down, wrote out a list of the meals I cooked on a regular basis. Then I wrote them into a 3 week calendar. Then I looked through my cookbooks to find things to fill in the blank spaces (there where quite a few!!). To save money and effort, I initially tried to have a "beef week", "chicken/pork week" and "ham week". That way, I could use the leftovers. For example: on "ham week": Monday, we have beef & rice casserole for lunch (quick, easy, and rarely has leftovers), and a ham for dinner (with vegtables of course!). Before I serve the ham(a $15-$20 uncooked shank or butt portion cooked all day in the crockpot), I cut all the meat off the bone and put the majority of it in a Tupperware in the fridge for later meals. On Tuesday, we eat some easy beef meals (too much of one meat gets old very fast!). On Wednesday, we eat 2 meals that use up portions of the saved ham: ham&pasta salad, and a ham stir-fry. On Thursday, we eat leftovers for lunch, and scalloped mac&ham for dinner. On Friday we have ham chowder for lunch and a beef-based meal for dinner. Saturday and Sunday are my "days off" of cooking--we eat up the rest of the leftovers and some processed foods like fish sticks. I usually still have leftover ham from the week as well. I do something similar for the other weeks. If it's "beef week" make a roast on Monday, and use the leftovers for things like soup and sandwiches. $15-$20 seems like a lot for a ham or roast, but when you figure I use it for at least 5 meals for 5 people, that comes out to less than a dollar per person per meal. Not bad! :-)
Hope this is helpful to you!!
23 hours ago