Menu planning

For quite some time, Greg and I have been working out the details of a budget.  Ever since he decided to go back to school, we have been formulating a plan to get a better grasp of our finances.  (Did you read that we paid off a credit card yesterday?  Because we did.  It felt AMAZING.) One of the things that we did was really examine what we eat.  I am horrible at meal planning, but it was really something that I wanted to look into as a way to not only save money, but also get away from feeding the kids chicken nuggets & macaroni & cheese all the time because I’m ill-prepared for dinner.

One thing that has helped us tremendously is an organization called Angel Food Ministries.  Our church recently started hosting this program and it has been wonderful!  On their website, they have various “menu” options that you can choose from.  Last month we ordered 3 boxes of food (2 of the signature boxes & 1 of the fruit/veggie boxes) and for $81 we got:

  • 4 lbs ground beef
  • 2-26 oz cans spaghetti sauce
  • 3 lbs New York strip steak
  • 3.5 lbs breaded chicken strips/nuggets
  • 2 lbs crunchy fish wedges
  • 3 lbs pork chops
  • 2 lbs frozen broccoli florets
  • 2 lbs frozen carrots (sliced)
  • 2 lbs frozen corn
  • 2 lbs frozen cauliflower florets
  • 2 lbs pasta
  • 2 lbs pre-cooked mashed potatoes
  • 2-32 oz 2% shelf-stable milk
  • 2 dozen eggs
  • 1 cantaloupe
  • 4 peaches
  • 4 navel oranges
  • 1 mango
  • 1 cello head lettuce
  • 1 lb cello carrots
  • 2 lbs yellow onion
  • 3 lbs Idaho potatoes
  • 20 oz bag fresh green beans
  • 1 head cabbage
  • 1 mini-red seedless watermelon

Um, holy wow.  So far, we have made (highlighted items are from AFM):

  • lasagna (I had to purchase the cottage cheese & lasagna noodles but everything else we already had including the ground beef & spaghetti sauce) with green beans & mashed potatoes
  • pork steaks (already in our deep freeze), leftover mashed potatoes, corn.
  • crunchy fish wedges or chicken nuggets with leftover green beans or corn.
  • sausage, cabbage & potatoes.
  • watermelon, cantaloupe, peachesoranges as snacks/desserts.
  • cello lettuce in my salads for lunch
  • NY Strip Steak with mashed potatoes & corn
  • We gave the milk to our babysitter because the kids drink soy milk while Greg and I drink skim & we gave one dozen eggs to some friends because we had just bought eggs at the grocery store not that long before and I didn’t need 3 dozen eggs!

When we placed our first order, I was a little worried that the food would be store-seconds or just past it’s expiration date but it was all such wonderful quality!  We still have 2 pounds of ground beef, some spaghetti noodles, and a few of the veggies left but it is almost time to re-order again!  I have been so pleased with this program and I’m going to try to do a weekly meal-planning posts so you guys can hopefully get a few ideas and maybe even try out Angel Food Ministries!

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14 thoughts on “Menu planning

  1. How long did it take you to go through the food? Did it pretty much last the whole month? I saw you tweet about this, so I looked it up. The closest one here is about 20 minutes away.

    • The food has done a pretty good job of lasting most of the month. We have a few steaks left over (that we are cooking tonight, actually) and some veggies that I might just throw together and mix in some Velveeta to get those used up. The September menu has an option that is $45 and it has a TON of food. As in, an entire pot roast (with all the veggies like potatoes, carrots & onions) plus a ton of other stuff. It has been absolutely wonderful for us. It might be something worth looking into for you guys! Would it be worth it for you to drive 20 minutes? For me, that’s not all that far, but I don’t know about your situation. We have only made a few emergency trips to the store (like when I went on a jelly-making spree this weekend and I ran out of pectin and when the kids needed more soy milk) but, for the most part, it has lasted us almost the entire month!

      • It’s kinda funny the way our area is set up. Going north 20 minutes seems like a lot less time then going south 20 minutes. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true. Josh said he can go pick it up after work though if we decide to do it. He’s a little closer. He’s a pretty good bargain hunter, so he’s still not sure it’s any different of a deal than he’s already finding lol. I say whatever it’s more variety. I think we’re going to try it this month though!

        • Oh, good! I am so glad that you guys are going to give it a shot! We decided on the Signature Box & the Fruit/Veggie box. We are only going to be spending about $60 and in the signature box there is a pot roast with all of the sides (potatoes, onions & carrots!) Holy moly!

          I’m so excited.

          And nerdy.

  2. Thanks for the reminder of this wonderful ministry. We used it in the past and I printed out the info again. Was just checking my pantry again today to figure out what I need to restock.

    Menu planning will save both time and money. I used to do the once a month cooking thing and it really was great to have food ready in the freezer. Now I just try to double a meal every now and then and stick the other one in the freezer for a later date.

    • That’s why I love Angel Food so much! It gives us so many different & affordable options and there is so much of it! We have only had to make 2-3 meals each week and we have plenty of leftovers for lunches and the next night’s supper! It has been so wonderful!

  3. I am so glad it is working out and I love the food as well. We are still using some of our stuff as well. The food is wonderful quality and I am enjoying helping with this ministry. I think there are many that can benefit from this all over the United States. FYI, they promised to give our church a dollar for every box ordered and the check came the week after the orders! How wonderful that they keep their word and in a timely manner as well. Don’t forget to order again this month. We appreciate it.
    Love,
    Mom and Dad

    • I will be ordering again very soon. As soon as I got home with last month’s order, Greg looked through the menu for next month and we picked out which ones we wanted.

      I think it is such a wonderful organization and it’s great that they give back to the church that serves as a pickup location 😀

        • I’m going to order this week. We’ve already picked out what we want and we’ve got several ideas for dinners! It’s such a wonderful program–I am more than happy to spread the news! Even if it makes a difference for one family, it is worth it 😀

    • Last month (as well as this month) there is a fruit/veggie box with lots of fresh & frozen fruit & veggies. We have quite a bit of meat in our freezer as well, so some of the meat we got we will just tuck away and save for later 😀

    • Our church will accept any unwanted food & will distribute it to needy people within our community. I love that they do that–they are so many people that are less fortunate than me and it’s wonderful to be able to help them out. Even the smallest gestures can make huge differences.

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