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NALA 24
06-16-2006, 09:22 AM
My biggest budget buster is eating out. My family does it way too much!!!
With two vacations in the near future and several special events coming up, I'd like to avoid eating out to save calories and money. Does anyone have any ideas?

mjbaby
06-16-2006, 09:32 AM
I was just going to come post to see who wanted to join me in a No Eating Out Challenge - great minds and all that, eh?

We're trying to not eat out at all until July 2, when we head out for our first summer trip. Anyone want to join the challenge with us?

My tips are:

- Keep an eye on the grocery bill, certainly, but don't get hung up if you spend more at the market than normal. Usually we don't count money spent eating out toward the food budget, so not eating out results in an artificial increase in the supermarket expenditures. Any increase you see is more than likely much, much less than you'd spend if you went out to eat.

- Stock up on basics like rice, couscous, broths, plains chicken breasts and chops, pastas, etc....in other words, things that cook quickly and can be flavored many different ways. So when the inevitable night comes when you just don't feel like dealing with dinner you can cook up some chops, rice and, say, steamed broccoli and it's faster than going out and cheaper (not to mention healthier!).

- Make a point of making time to attend any potlucks or parties that might be on your calendar. Sometimes it might seem a hassle to go to the Sunday School picnic or the office potluck, but these things can be almost like 'eating out" and you get that socializing time you might miss if you're not going out.

- For every night you are really, really tempted to go out and don't, treat yourself to a small (less expensive) indulgence. One night recently we came thisclose to going to a fairly spendy steakhouse near us. We resisted, though, at the last minute and the next day I treated myself to a $8 manicure - a nicer economic option than the $70 dinner and one that helped me relax, to boot!

GIOny
06-16-2006, 09:44 AM
I assume you mean you don't want to eat out too much while on vacation, and I think unless you have a room/unit with a kitchen it would be very diffucult. If you have a fridge in the room you could do something like a big cooked spiral ham (cook it at home) and keep it in the fridge and people could make sandwiches out of it. Pasta salads (no mayo) can go a long way but again unless you have big coolers that you are traveling with it would all be next to impossible. Good Luck :stir:

momm2four
06-16-2006, 09:50 AM
ETA:I assumed you meant ideas for now to help you save for your vacation. Sorry if I misunderstood.

One cheap, easy idea is to have breakfast for dinner.

This morning I made an easy "Breakfast Casserole in a Pan". I browned some sausage, drained it and set it aside.

I scrambled some eggs, added reduced-fat sliced cheese, a little milk and the sausage and mixed it together (Salt/Pepper to taste). I threw some Pillsbury Country style biscuits and some hash brown patties in the oven and within 20 minutes, we had a great meal.

Also, a baked potato bar is one of my kids' favorites. You could even put the potatoes in a crock pot mid-morning to avoid having to use your oven.

Another idea is to make fajitas. I'm going to boil some chicken, then put it in a crockpot with some fajita mix from one of those little packets you find in the grocery store (I think you add water, too) Lay out some whole wheat tortillas, sour cream, salsa, cheese and lettuce, and there's a dinner waiting to happen. You can keep with the theme, and lay out a bowl of chips with some cheese/salsa dip.

Hope this helps someone. I look forward to reading some of the ideas.

Lori P. :)

HappyCamperToo
06-16-2006, 10:12 AM
My biggest budget buster is eating out. My family does it way too much!!!
With two vacations in the near future and several special events coming up, I'd like to avoid eating out to save calories and money. Does anyone have any ideas?

Ok, brain dump here....

Which meals do you typically eat out - dinner, lunch, breakfast?
Try making a calendar for one week, with specific menus and activities planned for each meal (or just dinners if that's the problem). Have a person assigned to be in charge of the meal. (so we can't eat out and miss Suzie's meal....) If the person is too young to cook, have them still be in charge of things, just with a helper cook. They can plan a game, Disney-related meal activity, or a topic of conversation, whatever. Hopefully this will give you something to do that you won't want to blow off for a meal out. Basically make the meal something to look forward to, that you won't want to skip. Alternatively, or in addition, give your family some type of "points" each time you eat in. Earn certain number of points to get some type of treat at wdw, which you promise that you absolutely won't do if you don't earn the points. eat out and you LOSE points. See if any of these ideas work for one week, and if so, do it for a second week. Smaller steps are easier to accomplish. Good luck!

daisax
06-16-2006, 10:20 AM
Cooking is a fun family activity -- if you can get the little kids to choose a menu, you can grocery shop, then come home and prepare it together. Put on party clothes or silly clothes and set the table with your best tableware and call it the ____ Family Restaurant.

If the kids are old enough and have been to Disney before, you could try to duplicate some theming (old sci fi movie playing, or let an older kid be the wisecracking waiter, etc.)

If the kids are really little, just name things after Disney characters and they may try them (Tigger tots for carrots, etc.)

If kids have a hand in preparing the meal they're more likely to try a new food -- especially if it's new to ALL of you.

jenr812
06-16-2006, 10:24 AM
Just subbing as I head out - this is our biggest budget buster too!

gigi1313
06-16-2006, 11:54 AM
we do lots of fun stuff to make us want to stay home....

fun "non-dinners" like having a whole meal of appetizers for dinner (nachos and cheese, pigs in blankets [made by cutting up big hot dogs, the little ones are too expensive], dips w/veggies, etc) followed by a fun dessert (make your own sundae! or fruit and caramel dip) and will either eat it in the living room or out in the yard... so it's not the same ol' same ol' but it's still inexpensive...

another option would be to pack a picnic and go to a beach/park/playground or even your own (or better yet, a friend's) backyard...

organizing potlucks and movie or game or card nights is fun and cheap... disney scene-it is our fave!

we had a hot dog buffet recently w/tons of different toppings (mustard, ketchup, relishes, pickles, onions, chili, cheese, etc) which is also cheap but fun... with contests for building the wackiest combo (and it also encouraged the kids to try stuff they would not have tried before)

taco night is also popular for our family 'cause again, it's fun to pick from all the different dishes and build your own...

hope that helps :)

mousiemom
06-16-2006, 12:20 PM
I'm in the same boat your in. We have to save to buy our annual passes $1200 by Dec. My dh does all of our bills and he said today we have $77 to spend until next Fri. It kills me, but I know we have to buy these tickets. We're doing a lot of chicken dinners and salads. It's amazing what you give up for Disney!!!
Good Luck!

mlwear
06-16-2006, 12:45 PM
How timely! I decided we need to have a no eating out weekend. We need to do this more often (much more often). We are pretty good during the week (except DH who likes to eat at the cafeteria at work $6/day-- :rolleyes: )
This is what happens to us --is this the problem for others? I don't plan well. We are doing things and next thing you know, it's time for dinner. Well, I don't know what we are going to have. I don't have anything thawed, I don't have plans, I'm tired, etc. It is just easier to go to Chili's or wherever. Then I get mad at myself because I think of how many groceries I could have bought for what we just spent on one meal. But, then here comes Sunday and I find us grabbing something for lunch. :sad2:
I am announcing tonight (over pre-determined spaghetti dinner) that we are not eating out this weekend. We have a grocery store about a mile from here, if we can't decide on something we have at the house, then I will go to the grocery as a seperate trip and get the items for the meal. I know this isn't the most cost effective, but better than going out.

When we have been good in the past, I have found that having a nice weekend meal that often requires some help from everyone is very satisfying. For example, grilled chicken Ceasar salad. Add some french bread and it is real treat for our family. 4 large salads and bread under $10. If we get that out it's at least $30. plus drinks, tip. I feel indulgent to buy large shrimp or steak at the grocery, but it ends up being a nice meal and so much cheaper than going out--plus we don't feel "deprived" of our weekend goodies.

I did a baked potato bar a few weeks ago and I was surprised by how much my kids loved it. They esp. liked adding salsa.

Anyway, my suggestion (I hope I can follow it, too) is don't plan meals that are too cheap or something the family will dread. Make eating in a big deal.

Wishing us both luck and hoping we save some $ in the process. :goodvibes

NeverlandClub23
06-16-2006, 12:52 PM
That's so funny! My boyfriend and I were just talking about this last night. Going out to eat is such a huge expense for us. We spend approx. $150-$200 the whole weekend eating out. It's ridiculous. So we made an agreement last night that we wouldn't go out to eat for the next five months (even fast food places) and save that money for Disney. We're going to TN in September so we will get to go out to eat then but we saved for that too. It's going to be very hard as we both LOVE going out to eat and we both live with our parents so it's the only time we get to be by ourselves. But I think if we start planning picnics where we pack some sandwiches and pasta salad that we'll have just as good of a time. But I need more suggestions too...

Thanks everyone for any tips! :thumbsup2

And thanks for posting this thread! :sunny:

Another thing I'm looking forward to is that if we stop going out to eat it will be so much more special when we do go on vacation and get to eat out for all of our meals.

My2Cinderellas
06-16-2006, 01:24 PM
the trick for me is to have it planned ahead of time, including the sides. I also like crockpot stuff as it's very easy. If I'm standing at the fridge at supper time thinking "what should we have?" then it's usually a restaurant night.

French Dips
3-4 lb rolled rump roast
1 pkg au jus mix
1 pkg Good Seasons Italian dressing mix
2 cans beef broth
1-2 cans water.

put roast in crock pot, sprinkle iwth dry mixes, pour in beef broth and water, make sure liquid is at least 1/2 way up the side of the roast. turn on low and cook all day.

to serve, remove roast, slice and serve meat on crusty buns with au jus in small bowls for dipping.

I like to serve it with pasta/veggie salad (chopped veggies like carrots broccoli tomatoes - add your favorites too) mixed with light ranch dressing and cooked chunky pasta. make ahead so it's nice and chilled by meal time.



we like to make pizza at home, if you have a bread machine it's easy to make the dough up. you can even set the machine for a delayed start in the morning, so the dough is ready when you are home from work.

pperfectmom
06-16-2006, 01:56 PM
We very rarely eat out because #1 we are always broke and #2 it is a drive to get anywhere nice. We do have several things we do to make eating at home more pleasant. We never use paper plates, napkins or plastic utensils. That's why I have a dishwasher. Real plates make everything taste better. Also, we never eat in front of the TV(exceptions made for ice cream :banana: ). Usually, we listen to some nice jazz and if it's late in the evening we light some candles. Atmosphere is important. We always have wine with dinner, usually the big bottle of Placido or Rene Junot for 8-12 bucks. It's not bad for the price and no, we don't drink the whole bottle at one time. For me, trying to decide WHAT to cook every night is the hard part. I like to keep chicken breasts, fish, sliced tenderloin and burger on hand for easy suppers. With different marinades, etc. you have a whole freezer full of entrees. I also like to keep edamame, frozen peas, broccoli and corn in the freezer and I'll make bread about every two weeks and keep it frozen, too. There you have it-supper!

Carolinagirl1063
06-16-2006, 02:20 PM
subscribing

disneymom3
06-16-2006, 04:22 PM
I am up for a no eating out challenge but I have to start after Father's Day. We are taking DH out for lunch. NOT for dinner because it is more expensive.

My biggest roadblock is planning and going to the store. If I plan it out, write it down and make sure I have all the ingredients I do awesome but if I don't, I crash and burn. It just gets soooo boring having to come up with three meals a day. My other downfall is that DH hasn't been home for dinner for WEEKS and I get bored making stuff for just me and the kids, especially since the youngest thinks anything with nutritional value is yucky.

goofy4mykids
06-16-2006, 05:02 PM
Count me in :thumbsup2 I have been wanting to do this for a long time but never do it :guilty: Maybe now I can, with a little help from my friends :teeth: :grouphug:

disykat
06-16-2006, 05:11 PM
As others have mentioned, it's all about the planning. I find if I make a list of meals I'm planning before I hit the grocery store it makes a huge difference. Then I tack the list of meals to the fridge and cross them off when we've had them. I know at a glance what the choices are. It also makes it easier to get something out of the freezer for the next day when all I have to do is glance at the fridge.

Each time I go to the store, I plan several quick and easy meals that don't require any thawing or much cooking. Even though those might be more expensive or less healthy, it's better than eating out.

preb
06-16-2006, 05:50 PM
One thing we have done recently is a weekly sandwich night. With all of the evening sporting events going on this time of year, it's sometimes hard to squeeze in a full sit down meal. Then, it's tempting to swing into a drive thru.

I make up a platter of sandwiches ahead of time and pop them in the fridge. Everyone can grab one in between their activities.

One other policy I have is to make a big family meal on Sunday that leaves enough left overs for a meal later in the week. Like, a whole ham, turkey, or a big pot of stew or soup. Cook once...eat twice!

Planning is the key. I decide our meals for the week before I grocery shop based on what I already have on hand and what is on sale that week.

HTH!

juligrl
06-16-2006, 05:53 PM
The biggest thing that helps me is having all my dinners planned out for the week -- I mean everything! Yes I go to the grocery store once a week, but in addition to saving money by not eating out all the time, I take my weekly coupon savings and put some of the funds toward our next vacation. Great incentive.

HenDuck
06-16-2006, 07:17 PM
since I'm not so good at consistently planning a weekly menu, I always have a ready stock of little to no cook items, like:

-ham steaks from Costco
-potato buds or the like (flavored ones are yummy!)
-lipton rice or pasta mixes (don't know what their called)
-large bag of frozen buffalo wings or similar
-kielbasa
-costco sized bag of frozen veggies
-lots of ground beef frozen
-chili, taco, meatloaf mixes to go with ground beef
-canned spaghetti sauce and lots of different kinds of dried pasta
-lots of shredded cheese (can be frozen)
-easy to make corn bread (Sam's Club has one where you just add water)

My girlfriend browns her ground beef flavored with taco mix (but you could use whatever seasoning you like). Then when it's time to make anything with ground beef, you are two steps ahead.

A tip I have learned from having milk drinkers, I buy two gallons at a time. The second gallon is fresh until you open it. That way, I don't have to run to the store just for milk (which turns into a shopping fest).

Also, I buy two loaves of bread from Costco or Sam's. I pull one out to use immediately and freeze the other immediately. Mid-way through the week, we pull out the second loaf and it defrosts like it was fresh.

As for not eating out, just keep on driving past that Chili's restauraunt!

Good luck!

princess:

NALA 24
06-16-2006, 09:42 PM
Thanks for all the ideas. I think the "Not Eating Out Challenge" is a great idea. :thumbsup2 Today, I bought pizza at Sam's Club and we ate it on our deck. It definitely was fun and I felt a little less deprived since Friday is the night when we usually go out for pizza.
I would appreciate any other ideas.
:thanks:

jenr812
06-16-2006, 11:15 PM
This is what happens to us --is this the problem for others? I don't plan well. We are doing things and next thing you know, it's time for dinner. Well, I don't know what we are going to have. I don't have anything thawed, I don't have plans, I'm tired, etc. It is just easier to go to Chili's or wherever. Then I get mad at myself because I think of how many groceries I could have bought for what we just spent on one meal. But, then here comes Sunday and I find us grabbing something for lunch. :sad2:

OMGosh this is so us!!!! :lmao:


Anyway, my suggestion (I hope I can follow it, too) is don't plan meals that are too cheap or something the family will dread. Make eating in a big deal.

What a wonderful suggestion. I had never thought of it that way :blush:

DMRick
06-16-2006, 11:23 PM
I hate to cook, so when I do, I make it worth it. Tonight I made bean salad..lots of it, because it will last for a week without spoiling. So there is our main vegetable all week. When I make meatballs for spaghetti I make a lot of them, and then they go in freezer bags. I can pull them out and put them in canned sauce (which we like) for an almost instant dinner. A few days ago we made lots and lots of sausage on the grill (it was on sale), but only ate a little for dinner. Freezer bagged some for the spaghetti dinners, and cut up into bite size pieces the rest and froze it for sausage soup (sausage, potatoes, spinach, onions, garlic and chicken broth). It's something I put together in the crock pot and it's all mixed and tasting good for dinner.
I always have chicken breast in the freezer. If I take it out the night before, and cut in in slices in the morning, before it's totally thawed (much easier to cut), by supper time, it's easy enough to spray some olive oil in a pan, fry up the chicken (I often cook up some extra, and pull it before I add the other items), add some teriyaki sauce, thrown in some fresh cut up broccoli, add a salad, and it's dinner.
One of my favorite appliances is my Quesadilla maker. So simple. I grab some chicken that I froze from the previous meal, cut it up, put out cheese and toppings (sour cream, salsa), and in about 10 minutes I have enough for us, and a grand or two, if they are there. Again, add a salad or other veggie and you are good to go. The Mickey Mouse waffler works good for these too.
Hope you get a few ideas from the above.

sunshinegirl
06-16-2006, 11:39 PM
When we are trying to scale back on eating out but really wanting to go out, we compromise and eat dinner at home but then go out for ice cream afterwards. Instead of a $30-$45 meal for the 4 of us, it is ice cream for $10.

We also look for nights where kids eat free. Our Skyline Chili has kids eat free on Friday nights. All 4 of us can sometimes eat for $10. That's as cheap as a lot of the meals that I make at home when you include the meat.

Getting take out can feel like eating out but you save the money of drinks and tips. We might just get a bucket of chicken from the grocery store and then add potato chips, fruit, and drinks to it and take it to the park for a picnic. It really does feel like eating out because there is no cooking involved and it is a fun place. But it is SO much cheaper!

We trade dinner with friends as well. I'll cook one Friday night and then the next Friday night we go to their house. The net amount that you spend on groceries ends up being the same, but it is one less night to have to cook yourself. Or I'll make a double batch of lasagna and my best friend will pick up a pan after work. The next week, I'll pick up some kind of dinner from her house.

Tricia

pabef
06-17-2006, 01:12 PM
We go out for coffee and dessert - just husband and I. Nice date and much cheaper than eating out for whole meal.

Mad4Dizne
06-17-2006, 02:30 PM
I am always wondering what to do if I buy a big pack of sausages, DMRick--great idea!!! Can't wait to try that one out.
We too often treat ourselves to ice cream out after dinner--and have been known to go to Costco for a meal "out" and spend about $1.50-$2.75/pp with a hot dog,soda and if we add a dessert....

WatchinCaptKangaroo
06-17-2006, 03:53 PM
I like to "eat out at home".

You can get frozen pizzas made by California Pizza Kitchen in the grocery store. They are amazing and much cheaper than going to the California Pizza Kitchen.

A lot of restaurants will sell their salad dressing for a few dollars. You can replicate their salads at home. Also, a lot of restaurants are putting some receipes online.

Right now I am craving Hot Dog on a Stick, so I am eating corndogs (veggie) and drinking some lemonaid.

Andy too
06-17-2006, 09:36 PM
Planning a trip for December and those annual passes are expensive! I've been telling my wife every time we are tempted, but resist a fast-food trip "there's $20 toward an annual pass."

The two biggest helps for us have been

1) making a menu for the next week so we don't have to figure out what we're having and

2) making 2-4 meals on the weekend (when I have time to cook) that we can use during the week.

Debbie
06-18-2006, 09:14 AM
We're having a crockpot port roast for supper tonight (love my crockpot! :goodvibes especially in the summertime--no heating up the kitchen!)

The roast was too big (DH didn't know to cut it when it was bought, on sale, of course, before it was frozen), so I cut and packaged up 5 chops for my DS who will be home for Father's Day, and cooked up the rest for the stir fry that we'll have later this week or maybe next. We'll likely have some left over from the crockpot roast, too, for tomorrow night's sandwiches.

Here are a couple of threads from the past. Fabulous ideas! :love:

Your Family's Favorite Cheap Meal (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=936215)
Food Budget Tight...Need help with tasty ideas (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=729548)
Quick, Easy Frugal meals (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=847214)
Not Eating Out, Menu ideas (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=764323)
Cook ONCE, Eat TWICE ideas (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=722899)
Quick Easy BUDGET meals (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=824857)


Happy Reading!!
Now to hit the subscribe button at the top, so that I can have a list of this in one place. :rotfl2:

mamalle
06-18-2006, 12:00 PM
we do themed meals at times: cookouts, mexican night, italian night, etc. I stock up on BOGO and shop at costco. we make our own pizzas some night or hit the $4.99 take out pizza across the street. cheeper than making it some times.. :confused3

bettyann29
06-18-2006, 01:15 PM
count me in!!! We ate fast food Friday and Saturday night!! This is one of our biggest expenses besides house payment each month..

One thing I thought of is to cook extra and freeze it.. The main reason we eat out when we do is because we dont feel like cooking that night..

I like some of the ideas mentioned..

mjbaby
06-18-2006, 01:50 PM
My husband and I were each soo tempted individually to head to a restaurant after church today - we'd each mentioned how nice it would be to not have to cook on such a hot, humid day. Turns out that the new church pre-school director sponsored a picnic after in the playground to mark the beginning of the summer Sunday School schedule. Yay! So we got to "go out" without actually going out. *And* this is going to be an every-week thing for fun and fellowship! Yay!

We also narrowly escaped going out last night but I managed to put a quick pasta dish on the table, with a green salad from the last of our garden lettuce. The pasta was quick and easy with a garden veggie "sauce":

Warm about a quarter cup of olive oil in a medium skillet, and add three or four cloves of chopped garlic. When the garlic is soft, add a couple cups of diced summer squash and zucchini, chopped scallions and bell pepper. Season to taste with salt, pepper and oregano or basil (I used the first of my garden basil). When the veggies have given off some juice, pour the contents of the skillet over about 3/4 a pound of cooked penne and stir to combine. Season again to taste and sprinkle with 1/2 cup crumbled seasoned goat cheese. Delish!

gobledygook
06-18-2006, 01:58 PM
Thanks for the thread, and all the great ideas!! I got motivated while reading them and dug some stuff out of the freezer for supper. Eating out is a biggie for me, since I get home from work around 7:00 and DH is ready to eat, it's been easier to just stop somewhere on the way home. I'm going to go thru some of my cookbooks now for quick and easy recipes and hopefully stay motivated and away from the restaurants! Thanks, disbuddies! :disrocks: .

disneymom3
06-18-2006, 02:05 PM
I would love to see some meal plans people have for the week.

I will start:
Monday, enchillada casserole, spanish rice, salad
Tuesday, roast in crockpot with carrots and potatoes
Weds, chicken breast, cheese-broccoli rice, froz vegetables
Thursday pasta with spag sauce and meatballs, salad and bread
Friday barbecue beef sandwiches with leftover roast, potato salad and carrots with dip

I need to plan the weekend but I haven't yet. What is everyone else eating this week? Maybe if we get enough, we can just swap out menu plans.

scojos
06-18-2006, 04:13 PM
goodevening from the uk!!

we are having;
monday pasta carbonara (ds favourite!)
tuesday pork escalopes with mushrooms and garlic creme fraiche
wednesday pizza (soccer night so frozen :rolleyes: )
thursday chicken breasts with bbq beans and fries
friday fish and rice (probabbly with nacho starter as kids just love nachos at the moment.

you can probably tell me love quick food, but i teach food studies in a high school and dh is a head chef, the last thing we waqnt to do after being in the kitchen all day is cook!!
id love to see some of your favourite american dishes, and maybe i could give you soem quick european dishes? lets share!! dh is french, so anything you want to know... :goodvibes
tracy

Debbie
06-18-2006, 04:22 PM
It's getting to the end of June and school here in Ontario. I'm exhausted, so the menu is quick and simple. Here is a snapshot of the next two weeks
Sunday-crockpot pork roast, scalloped potatoes, veggies of a sort
Monday-leftover pork, mashed potatoes, salad
Tuesday-grilled cheese sandwiches, fries
Wednesday-tortellini (pasta), salad, roll
Thursday-burgers on the bbq, salad
Friday-soup, salad, sandwich for those that want them
Saturday-breakfast for supper (eggs)
Sunday-pork stir fry, rice
Monday-pasta, salad
Tuesday-soup/sandwich (Graduation ceremonies at 7:00)
Wednesday (staff party at our house; last day of school for the kids)-burgers on the bbq and potluck junk food
Thursday tortellini (last day of school for me), salad
Friday-pizza* (kids pool party)
Saturday (Canada Day)-steak (NONE of the kids will be home!), mushrooms & onions

The only thing that I don't have in the house is the pizza*. I'll pick that up at Costco, and we are ready to roll!

bettyann29
06-18-2006, 05:03 PM
Heres mine for the week and part of the next week:

Sunday: Tacos
Monday: BBQ chicken legs w/ corn on the cob (cooked on the grill)
Tuesday: Turkey Loaf w/ mashed potatos
Wednesday: Pork Chops w/ rice
Thursday: Taco Soup
Friday: Hamburger Helper Stroganoff
Saturday: Hamburger and chopped onions and cheese stuff in crescents
Sunday: Salad and baked potatos
Monday: Hamburgers on the grill
Tuesday: Chicken on the grill w/ veggies
Wednesday: whatever (leftovers)
Thursday: Hamburger meat seasoned w/ rice
Friday: Sausage and salads


I like some of your other ideas.. I would also like to hear what others make..

ncbyrne
06-18-2006, 05:13 PM
DH and I are always in the kitchen...we both love to cook and love to eat anything and everything. Eating in isn't a problem for us. However....we have 5 grown and married kids. One daughter H-A-T-E-S to cook and her kids (2 DDs 8+12) are the pickiest eaters and has a husband who wouldn't eat a vegetable of any kind if his life depended on it! (He won't even eat iceberg lettuce...yes I know, it's sad). Another DD works 12 hr. shifts with a 1 hr. commute - a DS who would rather eat out than eat his DWs cooking. I was telling them about this thread today and they all agreed that if the only way they could save for a WDW vacation was to eat all meals at home, they never see the Mouse again. Boy, they sure don't get it!

HappyCamperToo
06-18-2006, 05:13 PM
since I get home from work around 7:00 and DH is ready to eat

sorry--but if he's ready to eat, what does he prepare for you both to eat at 7 when you are first getting home? or are you the only cook in the house? if you guys have the household chores divided up pretty evenly and yours is cooking, but your getting home late tempts you to eat out, maybe you could take on one of his chores and he could do the cooking :goodvibes might be worth discussing--how nice it would be for you to come home to a cooked meal!

renessa
06-18-2006, 05:29 PM
I agree with HappyCamper!

Yensid_MD
06-18-2006, 06:52 PM
I did not look where you live but see if there is a Let's Dish near you:

http://www.letsdish.com/

The meals you make there IMHO rival many restaurants, at a lot less. We used to eat out way too much as well.

Also we splurge at Omaha Steaks and buy good meat which we use for nicer meals.

rparmfamily
06-18-2006, 10:49 PM
Typical menu for me:

Grilled Lemon Pepper chicken breast, corn on the cob, greek salad
Fajitas w/rice and chips/salsa
Spaghetti w/garlic bread
Pot roast (crock pot) w/roasted veggies and potatoes
Leftovers
Teriyaki grilled chicken, rice, steamed carrots
Pizza

grlpwrd
06-19-2006, 12:20 AM
I do a lot what others have mentioned already, such as salads, theme nights, buying things just in case. What I also do is try to make copycat recipes using such sites as topsecretrecipes.com, www.recipegoldmine.com , and others. It's amazing how much you can cook just like they do in restaurants for much, much cheaper.

staciepm
06-19-2006, 12:22 AM
I have found that it helps to have meats around that don't need defrosting.

Tyson Terryokki chicken Breasts from costco (precooked so no defrosting)
Crab Legs 2.97lb treat
Shrimp- quick and feels special. Add a few to spaghetti sauce to feel special

I need to not eat out this summer with the kids for lunch. Last year my DD started 1rst grade at 60lbs. At the end of the year the teacher weighed them again and she was 55lbs. I think last summer we ate too many cheap FF lunches. My goal is to pack healthy lunches for the waterparks etc. She really ate healthy at school; because, I packed the healthy foods she loves and no french fries for lunch.

Dh is going out of town this week so I will try to keep eating out to a minimum or none.

Stacie

My2Cinderellas
06-19-2006, 09:43 AM
tonight - Jambalaya, it's DH's birthday and this is a favorite! We make it fairly mild these days as DD6 likes it too, and then spice it up to taste at the table. I made a birthday cake for yesterday's father's day/DH birthday family get together and we still have 1/2 left so that's done.

tomorrow - cheese ravioli (freezer) with homemade meat sauce (make a BIG batch and freeze in smaller containers for a quick meal) and a salad

wednesday - grilled pork chops and grill potatoes (sliced potatoes and onions in foil, season with s/p, chopped garlic and a little olive oil - double wrap in foil - start them directly on the coals if using charcoal for about 20 minutes, then up on the rack once the meat goes on. I'll add a veggie of some sort.

after that???? the grocery ads come out on Tuesday so I'll look them over.

a secret of my cooking success at home is a well stocked deep freeze. I buy things, especially meat on sale and repackage and freeze. We buy beef a 1/4 or 1/3 at a time, I'll get whole pork loins on sale, the butcher will break them down into roasts and boneless chops for me. The big huge packages of boneless chicken breasts and bratwurst at Costco - repackage into smaller portions and toss in the freezer. We do our own frozen sweet corn when it's in season, much better than the boughten stuff! same thing with fruit for pies/cobbler. i usually have sliced apples and blueberries and rhubarb in the freezer. I also make pesto in the summer, freeze in 1/2 cup containers. this can thaw enough to use in 30 seconds for a last minute side dish.

Littlemotherhaywood
06-19-2006, 01:19 PM
We've been really bad lately and we honestly can't afford to be:( One thing we've done in the past is to make up a bunch of meals in advance that freeze well. We did a months worth of cooking before our ds was born and froze everything. Also, we tend to shop in bulk. For instance, we'll buy two or three big cans of sauce and make up a huge batch of spaghetti sauce with meatballs or whatever else we want and freeze it in servings (not individual). We have a freezer full of wedding soup. Not my personal favorite but when you find stuff on sale, it's the cheapest way to do it. If I find myself staring at the fridge at four (which I do often) I will typically make breakfast foods like pancakes, french toast, omelets, biscuits and gravy, egg sandwiches, etc.. or grilled cheese and soup or salad or some sort of pasta. I'm the only one in my house who eats salad so I don't normally make a big bowl of that or anything to accompany any meal. My family is picky, picky, picky!!! Also, when I cook I tend to cook a lot (my mother made enough food for an army and I haven't learned how to scale down) so we always have food for lunches or even a second dinner depending on what it is.

We really need to jump back on the bandwagon:)

tarheelmjfan
06-19-2006, 01:34 PM
goodevening from the uk!!

we are having;
monday pasta carbonara (ds favourite!)
tuesday pork escalopes with mushrooms and garlic creme fraiche
wednesday pizza (soccer night so frozen :rolleyes: )
thursday chicken breasts with bbq beans and fries
friday fish and rice (probabbly with nacho starter as kids just love nachos at the moment.

you can probably tell me love quick food, but i teach food studies in a high school and dh is a head chef, the last thing we waqnt to do after being in the kitchen all day is cook!!
id love to see some of your favourite american dishes, and maybe i could give you soem quick european dishes? lets share!! dh is french, so anything you want to know... :goodvibes
tracy

Tracy,
Our families favorite cuisine is french. We absolutely love it! :lovestruc Unfortunately, it's too time consuming to attempt at home. I used to love to cook, & would routinely spend 2 to 3 hrs. preparing a meal. Now that I have arthritis & a deteriorating spine, I'm no longer able to do that. :guilty: I would love some recipes that are quicker. :woohoo: We get really tired of eating plain foods. I try to watch my fat intact, as much as possible. I'm a carboholic, & love dessert, so fat is where I try to cut back. :blush: I'm up for any recipes you're willing to share. The more the merrier!!! :teeth: Anything to get us away from the same old foods all the time. :listen:

teamagic
06-19-2006, 02:50 PM
We are in the same boat as everyone else. I tend to stand in the kitchen at 4 pm and try to figure out what is for supper. The answer is go out and eat. We spend way too much on eating out. I agree that if you have a menu planned out it is much less tempting. I will be checking back here often.

Chicago526
06-19-2006, 03:50 PM
DH and I are trying to eat out less. But one thing we do when we DO eat out is to find deals. There is a great (and I mean G R E A T) chinesse place not far from where I work. They have a lunch special Monday through Saturday. For between $5 and $6 (depending on what you order) you get a bowl of soup, an egg roll, a fried wanton, and a very generous entree. I order a diet coke, DH drinks water, so for about $12 to $15 plus tip, we get a fantastic chinesse meal. If we went for dinner, we'd spend twice that, easily. Sure, it's more than cooking at home but it's a great way to get fantastic food and get that "I want to eat out" bug out of your system.

Another place near our home sends out $5 off coupons, again if we stick to the cheaper items on the menu (burgers and sandwiches) we pay about $15 or so for dinner. And yet another place near us has a hot dog or polish w/fries for $2.49 (and this is the regular menu, not the kids menu). Add in a drink and the two of us can eat for $10. They also have an italian beef w/fries on the menu for $5.99. A bit more, but we get more food and since I can only eat half of it, DH gets to have my leftovers as a snack when we get home.

If you MUST eat out, or find that every once in a while you just need to treat yourself, then try and find the deals at your local restaurants.

sameyeyam
06-19-2006, 04:34 PM
To save money while on vacation (road trips) stop at grocery stores instead of restaurants. Bring along some disposable plates, utensils, napkins, etc...

Most grocery stores have pre-made green salads, rotisserie chicken, fresh cut up veggies & dip, fresh cut fruit, etc... You can actually make quit a healthy meal out of their freshly prepared items.

Most pre-made sandwiches are yucky tasting, but you can usually buy fresh rolls from deli and enough sliced meat and/or cheese for however many sandwiches you want. Will probably cost about $3-$4 for 4 sandwiches. Many of the deli's also have packets of mayo, mustard that they will give you for free just for asking.

Our local stores have platters with Mexican Layer Dip, then grab a bag of tortilla chips and dig in!

Have everyone grab a piece of fruit for desert. If you want something sweeter, look in the bakery section or grab a box of Ding Dongs!

You will probably spend more than you would preparing them at home. But not nearly as much as you would eating at restaurants. Some grocery stores even have places you can sit down & eat. Or eat in the car or find a local park & make it a picnic, stretch your legs, etc...

PigletFairy
06-19-2006, 05:31 PM
We HAVE to eat in! Currently DH just took a job which pays monthly (He has been working almost a month no paycheck yet) so we have to eat in. I am in love with 30 min meals! They usually consist of a meat, veggie and a starch. I love my micro rice maker and the oven. Since there are only two of us I can makes us really anything. Normally we eat:
Spagetti- takes about 30 minutes (lunch next day)
Oven baked chicken w/ rice and green beans.
Chili (left overs lunch)
stir fry w/veggies and rice
chicken casserole.
I have several recipe booklets that i got at the $1 place at target and i have several websites i go to. I like making simple foods with lots of flavor. We do buy ice cream and frozen pizzas for those day we want to feel like eating out. I love breakfast and DH does too so sometimes we do that. For lunch at the office I pack sandwich, soup and chips and keep apple sauce at my desk with breakfast bars. I hope this helps with some ideas.

LoveWDW
06-19-2006, 05:53 PM
We like the self-made dinners places. The local one is Let's Dish. It is kind of expensive, but in two hours I put together 8 or 12 dishes that serve 6 each. Then I freeze them when I get home and pull them out to cook them. I don't have to buy unusual ingredients that I'd use only once, or many other ingredients. So my grocery bill is less, but the reason why I'm posting is that we have discovered that we no longer go out to eat. We get food as good or better than restaurant food- delicious, different seasonings, fun, and easy to cook. Also, I make the dish according to our tastes- not too much hot spices for my husband. Not going to restaurants means no taxes and no 20% tip, no gas to drive to the restaurant. So even though I'm not so sure we actually save money, so far I am having great fun trying the dishes, and my husband is very happy with the food.

disneymom3
06-19-2006, 07:22 PM
I have been intending to go to one of those make dinner and freeze it places for quite awhile. There is one by us that also includes the side items in the package. It is a little bit more than Let's Dish, but hardly at all so with the side items included I think we would come out ahead.

I made my planned dinner tonight. I was pretty proud of myself because I found out at about 4 that DH would not be home for dinner and I am soooo tired of being at home with the kids alone that I almost said forget it. Our church youth group is doing a fundraiser at Culvers tonight and we almost helped raise some money for them. BUT we went out to dinner for Father's day yesterday so I resisted and made my enchiladas. It was quite yummy and the feeling of no guilt from spending unneccesarily feels great.

My kids are doing VBS this week and tomorrow when they get off we are going to the Y. I am getting Lunchables for them so a bit more than lunch would cost if I made it at home, but it is an uncommon treat and much less $$ than McDs or something as well as wayyyy healthier. We will pair it up with a juice box and grapes to round it out and it will still be less than $2 per child.

umaangel00
06-19-2006, 07:41 PM
I joined www.dinnerplanner.com I love it! The recipes are awesome! And a bonus, I do not have to come up w/ something for dinner now.

mom4graceandlogan
06-19-2006, 09:41 PM
We are trying to cut back on eating out as well. Not only is it expensive and unhealthy, but it can become very monatenous(?sp). We eat at the same mexican place every friday for almost ten years. Before kids our bill would be around $17.00. Now it around $35.00 with two little ones by the time you add tax and drinks. We don't keep sodas in the house , but the kids are allowed to order it out which really adds up. What is even worse is that the family likes my mexican food better and my version is much healthier. But my husband got in this pattern of saying meet me out after work and we would take the night off so to speak. I prefer cooking and saving the money. Af ew things I keep on hand to quickly peak interest in a meal, both by my husband and kids are feta cheese, shredded(not grated )Parmesan and pine nuts which I toast in the oven and keep in the fridge for a week to add to salads and pastas; These ingredients seem to really dress up quick prep. meals. These ingredients aren't cheap, but go a long way and have major flavor impact.

A few money time saving ideas. Buy chicken breast or chicken thighs in the big bulk bags when they are on sale. I do it either in a crock pot with either a can of enchilada sauce dumped on top or a packet of taco bell seasoning packet (add water per packet) cook on low all day, then shred and serve as tacos or enchiladas with rice and beans.

I also marinate several chicken breast in a ziploc with olive oil, oregeno, minced garlic, and lemon juice, then grill it. I do extra breasts, chop and freeze it. It goes great over spinach salad, with tomatoes and feta; over pasta with parmesan, frozen vegetable and olive oil/garlic sauce. Also makes a good cold greek salad when mixed with cucumbers and tomatoes and a ziki yogurt sauce. Spinach Tortellini from the dry pasta section is also pretty cheap. I mix it with a little basil pesto sauce, parmesan and grilled chiken for a meal. The extra pasta and pesto makes a great cold salad with sandwiches. This is pretty much the type of food we would order out and by eating at home save a great deal and personally find it more relaxing than keeping my 2 and 5 year old DD's entertained. Some of these ingredients seem like they add alot to a grocery bill, but a $3.00 pack of pine nuts and a $5.00 jar of pesto sauce can be stretched over 4 or meals. I add a fruit and/ or veggie to every meal and freeze fresh french bread to serve with meals.

The best thing you can do to make sure you can cut back on eating out is to not only menu plan and keep some basics in the house, but to decide the night before or the morning before what you are having and go ahead and thaw the meat or start the crockpot. I also put the cans of beans, box of rice etc. on the counter that morning as a reminder that are eating at home. Also write down every penny you spend in a notebook. It is shocking how many times we would swing by Wendy's etc. without really counting it as eating out. I do flylady.net which has a menu planning component that I don't use, but I do get e-mail reminders in the morning reminding me to figure out what's for dinner. Very helpful to force me to think about it before 4:00 p.m. with no groceries.

Belle5
06-20-2006, 01:27 AM
I have a large family. I have six sons (19,18, 16, 13, 8, 2) Our grocery bill is huge but eating out is a killer. I have a routine of getting up in the morning and starting laundry, eating breakfast and putting dinner in the crockpot. I remember the years of standing by the fridge at 4 in the afternoon wondering what would be for dinner and ending up in a restaurant. The crockpot was the cure for me...

NALA 24
06-20-2006, 06:56 AM
Thanks for the great ideas. I'm anxious to try some of the menu planning ideas and websites. We've only paid to eat out once, since I started this thread and that was at McDonald's for less than $20. However, we went to a Graduation Party and a Father's Day Cookout.
:disrocks:

KristinU
06-20-2006, 12:08 PM
Just a tip that if you don't have a make it-freeze it dinner place near you (i.e. Let's Dish or SUper Suppers) or if you find it too expensive, you can do it on your own or with a friend or two. I got a cookbook titled "Don't Panic: Dinner's in the Freezer" and I love it!

I'm also big on planning ahead, it helps us from staring at each other at 6 pm wondering what to have then deciding to take out or go out, then doing the blank stare thing again deciding where to go!

Here's my menu for this week:

Monday: Grilled chicken breasts
Tuesday: "Big Salad" with leftover grilled chicken
Wednesday: (ok, not in the spirit of this thread: we're planning on going out with the coupon for Panera)
Thursday: Asian Lettuce Wraps
Friday: Kielbasa on the grill
Saturday: Veggie pasta toss (along with any leftover kielbasa)
Sunday: Picnic Night - Tuna pasta salad, fruit salad, etc.

Our downfall for eating out is lunches on the weekends. I think I need to make a point of having some sandwich fixings on hand. During the week DH and I each take a frozen lunch to work and DS gets a full hot lunch at daycare, so lunches are kind of a no-brainer except on weekends.

Great Thread!

mjbaby
06-20-2006, 12:48 PM
We're nearly on two weeks since eating out but things are getting mighty sparse in the pantry - I definitely have to hit the grocery store after dinner tonight.

Tonight's dinner? Creamed chipped beef, toast, scrambled eggs and pineapple. Yep, a "bottom of the barrel" dinner before heading out to restock. BUT, thanks to all the great suggestions here I was able to plan a shopping trip that should do us well for another week to ten days! Woohoo!

Another great benefit to eating in all the time - when we eat out, we frequently get home just in time for baths, stories and bed and the kids don't get much playtime with their dad. By eating at home there's been plenty of time for everyone to play and be together. So it's not just good for the bank balance, it's been good for our family relationships, too.

Local_Girl
06-20-2006, 01:54 PM
This is a great thread with some great ideas! :thumbsup2 We have been trying to limit eating out, but I'm like many of you...standing in the kitchen at 4pm trying to figure out what to do for dinner! My family is somewhat picky and we've fallen into a rut with the same old stuff every week or two. So I'm determined to use some of the ideas here to make our at-home meals more enjoyable and eat out less often!

DH also said he's ready to go back to WDW...and since we have to save up for the trip...saving by not eating out will be the perfect way to do it. :smooth: Now, if I can just get him to give me the $$ to put into a Disney savings account...

One way we do save when we eat out is by sharing meals...we have 2 kids, DS12 and DD10 who rarely if ever order off the kids menu anymore. If all 4 of us order a full meal, it gets very expensive, and it really is too much food. Sometimes, we'll order an appetizer to share (or free chips at a Mexican restaurant works well too!) and then split 2 meals (which sometimes include salad and bread), and then share a dessert. It works well when we agree on everything... :rolleyes:

Littlemotherhaywood
06-20-2006, 02:39 PM
I just wanted to post a site for everyone that has some quick, tasty, and inexpensive recipes. I've even tried a few and my picky eaters devoured them.

www.hillbillyhousewife.com

Lots of good stuff there including convenience food items. Also, this site inspired me to branch out and see what else I could make on my own. I found a great recipe for sweetened condensed milk that's literally a quarter of the cost of buying it. I try to make it a game to see how much money I can save on food and I think I'm winning :rotfl2:

Iott Family
06-20-2006, 05:39 PM
Subscribing!

grlpwrd
06-20-2006, 06:20 PM
Oooh, I love that hillbillyhousewife site, too. I even learned how to make my own yogurt! :thumbsup2

Some other sites I have bookmarked and books which I have mentioned before:

www.30daygourmet.com

http://snider.mardox.com/OAMC.htm

http://www.recipezaar.com/r/285

http://www.ellenskitchen.com/newpage.html

http://hardys.freeservers.com/plans.htm

http://www.angelfire.com/bc/incredible/indexfreeze.html

http://oamc.8m.com

www.savingdinner.com I have the Saving Dinner books and they offer an email subscription service, too.

cookbooks by Miserly Moms/Jonni McCoy and Tawra Jean Kellum - I've known Tawra previously from a simplicity and frugality website and she really knows her stuff.

GL! :)

teamagic
06-20-2006, 08:29 PM
Love all the suggestions. Keep the web site links coming. I am having fun checking them out.

pjshaff
06-20-2006, 08:30 PM
cookbooks by Miserly Moms/Jonni McCoy and Tawra Jean Kellum - I've known Tawra previously from a simplicity and frugality website and she really knows her stuff.

GL! :)[/QUOTE]


was Tawra on the parentsplace/ivillage site? Her name is familiar, but I can't place it where I have seen it before.

tarheelmjfan
06-20-2006, 09:48 PM
Reading this thread got me all motivated to plan meals for at least a week. So, I sit down tonight with the Winn Dixie sale paper & what do I find....... very few meats on sale. :bitelip: For 3 weeks straight I've checked the sale paper & they've had lots of BOGO meats. My DH usually does the grocery shopping & he couldn't get motivated to do any serious shopping, & I never want to. :blush: He's been picking up a couple things at a time & not taking advantage of the sales. Now that we've decided to shop smarter, there's not many deals. GRRRRRRR Oh well, there's always next week. I'm still going to make a menu. Thanks for the motivation. :goodvibes

caribbound
06-20-2006, 11:17 PM
I'm terrible at planning. I buy what's on sale and staples for dairy, meat and snacks and cereal. Then I get busy and don't think about dinner until it's time to eat and with summer here that means at least two of us are on our way out to soft/tee ball. We end up eating cereal alot for dinner on those nights. It doesn't help that two of the three kids are so picky and one won't eat much of anything normal adults would. :sad2:

Looking forward to more ideas from you. :)

wdw_dine_junkie
06-21-2006, 09:35 AM
Reading this thread got me all motivated to plan meals for at least a week. So, I sit down tonight with the Winn Dixie sale paper & what do I find....... very few meats on sale. :bitelip: For 3 weeks straight I've checked the sale paper & they've had lots of BOGO meats. My DH usually does the grocery shopping & he couldn't get motivated to do any serious shopping, & I never want to. :blush: He's been picking up a couple things at a time & not taking advantage of the sales. Now that we've decided to shop smarter, there's not many deals. GRRRRRRR Oh well, there's always next week. I'm still going to make a menu. Thanks for the motivation. :goodvibes

I was dissapointed in the sale ad this week at Winn Dixie but when I got there, there were a couple of things cheaper than I expected. Sirloin steaks were 2.99 lb and they had some pork tenderloins for 2.99 each. I grabbed some of each to stock up the freezer. It might be worth it go check for some sales at your store.

tarheelmjfan
06-21-2006, 12:52 PM
I was dissapointed in the sale ad this week at Winn Dixie but when I got there, there were a couple of things cheaper than I expected. Sirloin steaks were 2.99 lb and they had some pork tenderloins for 2.99 each. I grabbed some of each to stock up the freezer. It might be worth it go check for some sales at your store.


Thanks for the heads up! :thumbsup2 We should have the same sales. I'm adding that to the list.

mjbaby
06-21-2006, 03:45 PM
We blew it last night! And we'd been doing so well, too. I had a client meeting that was supposed to end at four, but didn't until 4;30. Then there was a back up on the highway I took to pick up my kids from my MIL's (I work verrrry part time) and we didn't get home until 6:30 - I had called my husband to pick up a pizza and he arrived home, dinner in hand, at the same time we did. So, yeah, just ten bucks, but still.

But I finally went grocery shopping last night after dinner and picked up everything we'll need for at least the rest of the week:

Tonight: pierogies, snap peas, watermelon, corn bread
Thursday: Italian sausage, tortellini, salad, homemade bread
Friday: Bison steaks, scalloped potatoes, sauteed squash with pine nuts, wilted lettuce salad, blueberry shortcake
Saturday: Chicken paillard, barley "risotto", steamed broccoli, fruit salad
Sunday: quiche, biscuits, spinach salad

Disneymaniacs
06-21-2006, 04:08 PM
We are also trying to eat at home. So far we have only gone out twice this month. Once was fathers day. My kids are 5 and 2 and the 2 year old is ready to leave the restaurant before the food even gets to the table. We got sick of paying $50 to eat out and be tortured by the baby. To further rub salt into the wound, each time we return home from one of these disasterous dinners our friends next door are relaxing outside with their kids having just eaten homemade pizza, boiled shrimp, or steak burgers. We realized we are paying lots of money for tacos or spagetti and our friends pay $10-15 for some shrimp or steaks and had a better meal and definitely a better family experience than us. With better planning we too are more relaxed and eating healthier and better tasting food at home for less. :bounce:

LisaG
06-21-2006, 07:40 PM
I am enjoying all the ideas. Planning is the key! I try to plan at least 5 meals before heading to the grocery store. I also study the sale circulars, and pick the grocery store accordingly. I have also discovered ALDI for staples. You can't beat their prices on cereal, yogurt, cheese, and produce. You can even get beautiful fresh flower bouquets for 2.99 each...a great way to fancy up your dinner!

CF'er
06-21-2006, 10:42 PM
and got the only DH who won't eat sandwiches/soup or breakfast for dinner!!!! Luckily chili/ beef stew don't count as soups. LOL

I so envy those of you who can cook those things for dinner once in awhile. I just stopped working (health reasons) and $$ is tight. I LOVE my slow cooker and find that if I throw it in first thing in the AM dinner's ready when we are. Plus, you can get cheaper cuts of meat and they will still be tender.

Really enjoying all your menu ideas....

Lisa10
06-21-2006, 10:47 PM
We almost NEVER eat out. I'm so used to it I don't even think about it. I'm a stay at home mom with 3 kids and I just do the grocery shopping to keep food in the house. I shop at Sam's and buy alot in bulk because its so much cheaper and I'm not always running out of what we use alot. I just try to keep things simple - its summer so I cook out on the grill alot - mostly burgers, loaded up with cheese and whatever fixins' each one likes. Sam's has big boxes of frozen hamburger patties that go right on the grill - they're great and the rest of the time do the basics - all kinds of pasta with meat and tomatoe sauces, breaded chicken breasts (Tyson frozen - really good), etc. I know I save a ton of money by eating at home.

tarheelmjfan
06-29-2006, 12:16 PM
I had to bump this up to report our success so far. :cheer2: I finally got motivated to make out a menu. I started with a 2 week menu. Now that the new WD sale circular has arrived, I'm currently working beyond that. My 2 guys are loving it!!! My DS checks the fridge to see what's for dinner that night, then what's for dinner the next night. He checks 2 or 3 times a day. I guess to make sure nothing's changed. ;) My DH doesn't check the fridge, of course. :rolleyes: He always asks me though. The other night he said it was fun knowing what we were going to eat in advance. It's almost like him asking where we have a reservation for on vacation. I can see why they're liking it. My DH & I used to be discussing dinner over the phone on his way home in the evening. We constantly went back & forth between the 3 of us saying, "What do you want? It's your turn to decide. I asked 1st." Very mature, huh? :p

OP,
Thanks for starting the thread, & thanks to all of you who made suggestions. Our home is much happier at dinner time, because of this thread. :teeth:

Chicago526
06-29-2006, 01:26 PM
I've had real luck with salads lately! Bagged lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and grated cheese with dressing of choice and some kind of meat. For example:

Bufalo Chicken and Blue Cheese dressing. I just buy the Tyson frozen Bufalo chicken tenders and a bottle of dressing. Also, Grilled Chicken, Fried Chicken (left over tenders or nuggets are great!), canned Albacore Tuna, or Grilled Steak and homemade vinagrette (or whatever dressing you feel like using) has been a big hit too.

They are fast (especially if the meat you're using is leftovers from a previous meal), you can through the salad together as you are cooking or re-heating the meat. By the time the meat is done the salad is ready. Slice meat into bite sized pieces, toss with dressing and serve with bread!

Also, chicken or steak stir fry is fast and good. Frozen asian veggies (found with all the bagged frozen veggies) sauteed in a bit of oil until hot and crisp, set aside and fry chicken/steak in a bit more oil with green onion and garlic. Add the veggies back in, then add some soy sauce beef/chicken broth, ginger powder, mix together, thicken with corn starch slury. Serve with spagetti noodles or rice.

disneymom3
06-29-2006, 05:26 PM
That Buffalo chicken salad idea sounds awesome!! That will be going on my list for my next shopping trip.

I am not doing too well. We are supposed to have eggs, sausage and toast for dinner tonight and I just don't want it. Don't want to go to the store either! Hmmm, maybe I will do spaghetti. Having to come here and tell you guys I blew it and ate out is good incentive!!

disneymom3
06-29-2006, 05:45 PM
I had to bump this up to report our success so far. :cheer2: I finally got motivated to make out a menu. I started with a 2 week menu. Now that the new WD sale circular has arrived, I'm currently working beyond that. My 2 guys are loving it!!! My DS checks the fridge to see what's for dinner that night, then what's for dinner the next night. He checks 2 or 3 times a day. I guess to make sure nothing's changed. ;) My DH doesn't check the fridge, of course. :rolleyes: He always asks me though. The other night he said it was fun knowing what we were going to eat in advance. It's almost like him asking where we have a reservation for on vacation. I can see why they're liking it. My DH & I used to be discussing dinner over the phone on his way home in the evening. We constantly went back & forth between the 3 of us saying, "What do you want? It's your turn to decide. I asked 1st." Very mature, huh? :p

OP,
Thanks for starting the thread, & thanks to all of you who made suggestions. Our home is much happier at dinner time, because of this thread. :teeth:

It is such a relaxing feeling isn't it? I feel so much more peaceful knowing what is for dinner each night. I have to remember this so I don't blow it in a few weeks!!

I'm terrible at planning. I buy what's on sale and staples for dairy, meat and snacks and cereal. Then I get busy and don't think about dinner until it's time to eat and with summer here that means at least two of us are on our way out to soft/tee ball. We end up eating cereal alot for dinner on those nights. It doesn't help that two of the three kids are so picky and one won't eat much of anything normal adults would. :sad2:

Looking forward to more ideas from you. :)

I went to a speaker at a conference a couple of months ago and he told this joke about his son asking the neighbor kid over to dinner and then asking him if he liked cereal cause "we have cereal A LOT at our house!" I think everyone does!

We are also trying to eat at home. So far we have only gone out twice this month. Once was fathers day. My kids are 5 and 2 and the 2 year old is ready to leave the restaurant before the food even gets to the table. We got sick of paying $50 to eat out and be tortured by the baby. To further rub salt into the wound, each time we return home from one of these disasterous dinners our friends next door are relaxing outside with their kids having just eaten homemade pizza, boiled shrimp, or steak burgers. We realized we are paying lots of money for tacos or spagetti and our friends pay $10-15 for some shrimp or steaks and had a better meal and definitely a better family experience than us. With better planning we too are more relaxed and eating healthier and better tasting food at home for less. :bounce:


Isn't that the truth!! Last time we went out to dinner at Applebees cause I just didn't feel like cooking. We did not have all that much fun, the food wasn't all that great and it cost us $45! I told DH to remind me that not cooking dinner isn't worth $50 the next time I got the urge!

mjbaby
06-29-2006, 06:57 PM
Last time we went out to dinner at Applebees cause I just didn't feel like cooking. We did not have all that much fun, the food wasn't all that great and it cost us $45! I told DH to remind me that not cooking dinner isn't worth $50 the next time I got the urge!

Here, here! The last several times we ate out at national chain places we were so disappointed and food was so mediocre that we've simply decided: NO MORE! Now, if we feel like eating out is a good idea for whatever reason, we go strictly local. If I never see the inside of an Outback Steakhouse or Carrabas or whatnot, it'll be too soon.


As for eating at home, we're going well for dinner this week. Lunches, though, have been more of a challenge. My son gets picked up from camp at noon and I often have an errand or two to run during the day so the pickup combined with his sister's nap time means we've done too much in the way of lunches out this week.

So I just started applying my dinner planning strategies to lunch, too. I picked up some nice rolls (I hate plain white bread), pizza crusts (I like to make my own, but it's not exactly speedy) and a bunch of veggies to cut up for dipping. Breakfasts lately around here have been fruit to dip into yogurt and then lunches are either sandwiches and fruit or veggies and dip. The kids have liked the "restaurant-style" presentations and I've really enjoyed the low- or no-cook and easy cleanup preps.

IDoDis
06-29-2006, 11:36 PM
We only eat out once a week (dinner on Saturday) and I might take the kids to lunch once at McD's or the mall since they aren't in school during the summer. DH and I are both slimming down and eating healthy meals at home. Knowing we get to splurge on Saturday helps make it through the week. I don't know if I could stick with a goal of not eating out for several months.

Typically, we'll do something like this (varies each week and foods are different in the winter since we will use the oven more):

Sunday: Cook several chicken breasts on the grill. Eat 1/2 that night and eat the other 1/2 the next night (which means no cooking on Monday!). We will eat it with a veggie like broccoli, corn on the cob or a salad, and we also have some brown rice (sounds icky, but the Minute Made brand is pretty good).

Monday: Repeat leftovers from Sunday

Tuesday: Spahgetti & salad (we use ground turkey meat instead of hamburger to cut down on the fat, and also use whole wheat spaghetti. You could use whatever you like though).

Wednesday: We eat a Stoffer's bag meal of some-type w/ a veggie & salad

Thursday: Boca Burgers on the grill w/ veggie & salad

Friday: homemade pizza & carrots w/ ranch dressing

Saturday: Eat out night

Sunday: leftovers that were brought home from Saturday night or diner's choice (could be cereal, a Healthy Choice frozen meal or maybe chicken tacos.

A friend of mine who does not like to cook, started using a local place called "do it dinners." They have a menu w/ recipes of various meals each night. You bring in your tupperware or storage containers to take everything home in. The ingredients are measured and ready. They just need to be "put together" by following the provided recipe which she said is very simple. Then you package everything up, take it home and warm it up. You can put together 3 different meals at one time. Then, eat one and freeze the other two. She said it works out great and she spends about the same amount of money she would have had she gone to the store to buy everything. You might check to see if you have a similar business where you live.

http://www.doitdinners.com/other.htm

jwann
06-30-2006, 07:39 AM
Sorry if this is a repeat - I haven't read through all the posts but I do freezer cooking that I learned from a book called 30day Gourmet. www.30daygourmet.com is the website. I have been doing it for more than 6 years now and we save a TON of $$ on going out and I have a homecooked meal every night. You have an assembly day every month (I usually do it every 6 weeks) where you assemble your meals. Use duplicates of the same meals unlike the Once A Month freezer cooking. Like choose 6 recipes and make 3 of each, etc. The website and book have tons of recipes also you'll learn to adapt our family's favorites for freezer cooking. We LOVE it!

disneymom3
06-30-2006, 08:59 AM
I went to a community ed class for the 30 Day Gourmet and I have their book. I used to be really good about that, but managing to do the cooking day has just not happened for me the last couple of years. I plan to do it, and then I don't! I seem to handle better the planning each week thing. I did get together with a friend a couple of times and we swapped meals--each made 4 meals. That was awesome, but she moved and I haven't found anyone else to do it with.

I also struggle with lunches. I need to plan them out better than I do. I have found one of my kids favorite lunches is when I take lunch meat (which I buy at Aldi's--either ham or turkey and it is CHEAP--and roll it up and spear it with a couple of toothpicks and then cut between the tootpicks, cubes of cheese, grapes or apples or whatever fruit, carrots with dip and crackers or toast rounds. I did it one day as a desperation meal and they thought it was SO fun and are totally excited whenever we do that. It's sort of like a homemade lunchables. We also do mini pizzas on english muffins--toast them first and then put the sauce, cheese etc on them and put them in the ovenl

NALA 24
06-30-2006, 09:33 AM
Thanks for the great ideas. We've only eaten out at another Graduation Party. Planning is important. I've been to the grocery store twice this week, but that's OK because they were on my way. Not eating out has actually given us more family time. Next week, the Fourth of July Picnic is at our house and then it is time for our first vaction. Please keep the ideas and support coming. :disrocks:

pjlla
06-30-2006, 10:06 AM
I think you all have great ideas! We too decided to cut way back on the eating out. We bought a new car and have a monthly car payment for the first time in about 8 years! We sort of figured that by cutting our most of our monthly eating out we could swing the car payment without making any other changes to the budget. But I HATE cooking! I too am in that "stand in front of the fridge at 5pm with nothing defrosted and nothing planned" mentality!

As well as hating cooking, I also have some diet challenges.... DH eats low carb most of the time and DS has some food allergies (as well as being picky).... so lots of pasta dinners don't work for us. I find most of the crockpot meal recipes call for some sort of cream soup. Too much fat for me and too many carbs for DH. Also, DH works late frequently so I need something that the kids and I can eat at 6pm and can reheat at 8pm for DH.

Most of the time my menu consists of some sort of plain meat, as lots of marinades have sugar (DH can't have) or some sort of ingredient that DS is allergic to. I do make my own marinades occasionally, but they aren't too impressive. I always include a starch for the kids and I, most often long cooking brown rice (we like it) or potatoes, occasionally plain pasta. I always include a veggie (most often broccoli or cauliflower). Sometimes a salad. Spaghetti used to be my last minute meal, but DH can't eat the pasta and DD doesn't like the sauce!

Anyhow, as you can see we have some special challenges (not to mention the fact that the nearest grocery store is a 35 minute ride). Any suggestions??...........P

Barbers2005
06-30-2006, 01:17 PM
Just a suggestion for your crockpot, pjlla:

1. Cut up some potatoes, carrots, onions, or whatever other veggies you like and put them in the bottom of the crockpot

2. Add whatever kind of meat you like (pork, beef, chicken) and sprinkle seasonings over the top

3. Pour broth or water over the top (about a cup or a cup and a half)

4. Cook on low for about 8 hours, or until the meat it done

This is always popular in my family and is very low fat if you choose a lean meat. Also look into making soups or stews in your crockpot. I have Betty Crocker's Slow Cooker Cookbook and it has lots of healthy options. This one for beef and potatoes is my favorite (and only 250 calories per serving):

1 lb med. red potatoes, cut in fourths
1 cup baby carrots
3 lb beef boneless chuck roast
3 T dijon mustard
1 1/2 t dried rosemary, crumbled
1/2 t dried thyme
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups beef broth

1. Arrange carrots and potatoes in crock pot
2. Mix mustard, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper- spread over beef. Place beef in crock pot. Sprinkle onions over beef and pour broth over meat and veggies.
3. Cook on low 8-10 hours
4. Remove meat and potatoes from the crock pot to serve. Serve juices from the crock pot on the side (like gravy)

serves 8

tarheelmjfan
06-30-2006, 01:50 PM
Just when things are going so good, my DH told me last night how much we spent on groceries last week. He went on one big shopping trip, then returned to picK up the things he forgot. With all of my advanced planning & sale circular scanning, we still spent $242. :eek: He did get enough food for 9 or 10 meals, but still needs to get a few things to complete those. We've known since we moved here that we could eat fast food cheaper than buying groceries, but never really thought about how much we were actually spending just to eat at home. Our grocey stores are very expensive compared to most places I've been. When I go to the grocery store in NC where my sisters shop, I feel like I'm stealing the food. :p We are totally burned out on take out, & we're loving knowing in advance what's for dinner. I've really got to figure out a way to bring the grocery bill down though. :sad2:

tarheelmjfan
06-30-2006, 01:54 PM
1. Cut up some potatoes, carrots, onions, or whatever other veggies you like and put them in the bottom of the crockpot

2. Add whatever kind of meat you like (pork, beef, chicken) and sprinkle seasonings over the top

3. Pour broth or water over the top (about a cup or a cup and a half)

4. Cook on low for about 8 hours, or until the meat it done

Thanks for the recipe. I'm adding it to my menu for next week. It looks very good, but most of all very easy. :teeth: The fewer ingredients the better in my book. ::yes::

kfeuer
06-30-2006, 03:16 PM
cookbooks by Miserly Moms/Jonni McCoy and Tawra Jean Kellum - I've known Tawra previously from a simplicity and frugality website and she really knows her stuff.

GL! :)


was Tawra on the parentsplace/ivillage site? Her name is familiar, but I can't place it where I have seen it before.[/QUOTE]

Yes, she used to be on the frugal living board on Parentsplace! Still might be, I haven't been there in years. I hated it when they changed to the new format 5 or 6 years ago and just stopped going there.

Anyway, I have her Not Just Beans cookbook. I use some of the recipes but not very many, her bottom line is cooking as cheaply as possible and my bottom line is cooking as healthy as possible (and ne'r the twain shall meet, I'm afraid). I just spent $60 at the farmer's market yesterday and still have to go the grocery store this afternoon :rolleyes: . Oh well! I have medical conditions that are greatly affected by what I eat, and I'm not willing to sacrifice my health to save a few bucks. I'll scrimp elsewhere.

NALA 24
07-01-2006, 07:14 AM
Eating healthier is not always cheap and that is a challenge. When I tried a low carb option, my grocery bill went way up, but eating out would have also gone up. I visited an Aldi's which is very close to my house for the first time last week. I just picked up an armful of produce. (I wasn't sure of the cart thing.) When I got home, I was impressed with the quality. I plan to go back this weekend. How are the meats, dairy, frozen items at Aldi's? Do they accept checks, debit or credit cards?

:thanks:

disneymom3
07-01-2006, 01:22 PM
Re: Aldi's--I stay away from their meats other than the deli style sandwhich meat which is very good. I have had the hamburger go bad on me well before the date twice and one other meat that was iffy too. Don't remember if it was chicken or pork chops. They do have a guarantee but they are too far from my house to go often. I stock up on my staples when I am there--tomato sauce, cereal, crackers, canned fruit for those days we are out of fresh, the deli meats, cheese, yogurt, frozen meatballs, kidney beans, etc. I don't like their brand of Manwhich and their spaghetti sauce is a little thin but I use it as filler for my homemade stuff.

As far as the carts go, you put in a quarter and it pushes out the chain that holds them together and then when you turn your cart in and put the chain back in it, it will push the quarter out so you get one back. Also remember to bring your own bags or you have to buy them.

NALA 24
07-02-2006, 06:39 AM
Thanks for the Aldi's information. Are the deli meats prepackaged?

Thanks.

jennyh2829
07-02-2006, 07:24 PM
I have been put on a no eating out budget since we got back from DCL in June. We have a super suppers here ( www.supersuppers.com )and there are just three of us so I can get 12 meals by halving 6 of them. Also I have been hitting the farmer's market and you can get a lot for just a little money. :love: We love having just a meal of veggies and fresh cornbread ( can you tell I'm a southern gal??)

Also I can attest that to not eat out you have to plan ahead,....every day!! I teach school so during the year I come home exhausted and just wait and say lets go out. I've got to plan ahead.

thanks so much for the thread!!

chemteacher03
07-02-2006, 11:07 PM
My fiance and I will be getting married at Disney August 10th and we are definitely guilty of spending too much on eating out. We have agredd to not eat out until we are down at Disney with the exception of the weekly trip to Coldstone.

psammie1025
07-03-2006, 07:31 AM
I've been enjoying this thread & wanted to share an easy & affordable dish too!

1lb ground beef
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup catsup
3/4 tsp salt
1 box jiffy cornbread mix
1/2 cup shredded cheese

In a large skillet, cook ground beef, onion & garlic until beef is brown. Drain off fat. Add catsup & salt & set aside.
In a bowl mix the cornbread according to the package directions. Spread 1/2 of the batter in a greased 8x8 inch pan. Dpoon the beef mixture over the batter in the pan. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover with remaining batter, smoothing to the corners of the pan.
Bake at 350 degrees until the cornbread is done on top, about 30-35 minutes.
Cool 5 minutes & cut into squares & serve.

psammie1025
07-09-2006, 07:48 AM
I bought the Old El Paso brand fajita kit a few weeks ago when they were buy 1-get 1 free. Add 1 lb of boneless chicken, an onion & a green pepper & you have en easy main dish! I used the cook in the oven option & they turned out great & very tasty! I added a lipton rice & bean dish & we had a great meal!

jlb
07-09-2006, 07:54 AM
One thing that we do, and it has really caught on is Taco Tuesday...it has replaced order out Friday. It is so funny everybody I mention it too is like what a great idea, and has done that. Just vary the toppings every week, and change the meat around and you are set. I think my family was not really into ordering out so much, as they were looking for something different then what we usually have. The only problem we have is our school district does Tacvo Tuesday too, so I have to remeber no buying lunch that day.

sk!mom
07-09-2006, 11:05 AM
I wonder how many people who are eating out too much are the same people who post that they can feed a family of four for $200 per month ( or some other super low figure).

I find that my family is happy to eat at home if we have great meals planned. This weeks menu:
Roast chicken, fresh green beans, baked sweet potatoes
Grilled burgers, strawberries and watermelon
Chicken pot pie from leftover roast chicken
Blueberry pancakes- fresh blueberries (Sat. morning)
Beef fajita salad
Stuffed bell peppers
Taco salad and Quesidillas

Most all fruits and vegetables are from the Farmer's Market. We normally only eat out for Sunday lunch.

We actually prefer to eat a quiet meal at home with a great wine. Eating well isn't cheap but less expensive than eating out.

We would not be happy to eat at home if it was Hamburger Helper or something similar. We also like lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.

mjbaby
07-09-2006, 12:49 PM
I'm off to the market now to gear up for the week's meals (we had a terrible weekend, eating out-wise). In addition to planning for dinners, I want to make sure that there's not too much leftover after Friday afternoon, when we leave for two weeks. PLUS, I want to pick up a couple things to keep us going on our trip for the first couple days. The plan as it stands so far is:

- Tonight: chicken and broccoli bake, mashed potatoes, green beans, wilted lettuce salad
- Monday: Nachos (yep, a complete meal with lots of tomatoes and black beans!)
- Tuesday: Italian sausage, sauteed onions and peppers, tortellini
- Wednesday: hamburgers, french fries, zucchini and carrot salad (with homemade ginger dressing = YUM!)
- Thursday: Grilled garlic and herb chicken, zucchini (can you tell what my garden is producing? LOL), onion and tomato gratin, herbed orzo
- Friday: pita sandwiches and fruit in the car, drivin' like the wind

Oh my, it feels good to have things under control food-wise. In addition to getting ready for the trip, I've got a big work deadline and lots of personal stuff I want to accomplish. On a busy week, I just love have a plan from which to work easily and quickly.

mickeyluv'r
07-09-2006, 12:55 PM
Where we live, the prices are so outrageous, that there are numerous places where we can eat out for about the same amount as eating in. I can easily spend three times as much at the organic market as I can getting burritos. In the past few years lots of good quality quick eat places have cropped up. Not all of them are created equally, and usually the most nutritious meal is still a home cooked one, but for us, a big part of lowering our eating out costs was just changing where we eat out, but it took some discovery to find these places.

Chicken alone is often $5/lb in the grocery store...we can split quality bbq for about $5/pp. (with veggie, corn bread), and not have to cook (running the oven costs money too, k'now.)

Cooking in takes a good amount of time. That's a factor for us. One idea to make cooking in easier is to cook in bulk. WE eat lots of chicken - so I cook up big batches of it (family size pack is cheaper), and add different sauces/sides over the week to change it up.

Potato salad is MUCH cheaper if you make it from scratch, and pretty easy too. It also doesn't have those nasty chemicals. I think this can be said for lots of other food items too - you're much better off buying whole, raw ingredients than frozen dinners and the like.

What I don't get is why anybody would buy frozen pizzas...You can get a much better one from a pizza place for about the same price. Better yet, you can make pizza from scratch (or buy premade dough) and make a great pizza for even less.

mom2my3kids
07-09-2006, 02:29 PM
I spend so much money at the store and eating out. It's always so easy to run through drive thru after work then to come home and cook. I think this idea is great no eating out to save money for disney..

mom2my3kids
07-09-2006, 02:38 PM
I have a large family. I have six sons (19,18, 16, 13, 8, 2) Our grocery bill is huge but eating out is a killer. I have a routine of getting up in the morning and starting laundry, eating breakfast and putting dinner in the crockpot. I remember the years of standing by the fridge at 4 in the afternoon wondering what would be for dinner and ending up in a restaurant. The crockpot was the cure for me...

I have six older brothers, then mom had me...:)

hallie615
07-09-2006, 03:39 PM
I'm off to the market now to gear up for the week's meals (we had a terrible weekend, eating out-wise). In addition to planning for dinners, I want to make sure that there's not too much leftover after Friday afternoon, when we leave for two weeks. PLUS, I want to pick up a couple things to keep us going on our trip for the first couple days. The plan as it stands so far is:

- Tonight: chicken and broccoli bake, mashed potatoes, green beans, wilted lettuce salad
- Monday: Nachos (yep, a complete meal with lots of tomatoes and black beans!)
- Tuesday: Italian sausage, sauteed onions and peppers, tortellini
- Wednesday: hamburgers, french fries, zucchini and carrot salad (with homemade ginger dressing = YUM!)
- Thursday: Grilled garlic and herb chicken, zucchini (can you tell what my garden is producing? LOL), onion and tomato gratin, herbed orzo
- Friday: pita sandwiches and fruit in the car, drivin' like the wind

Oh my, it feels good to have things under control food-wise. In addition to getting ready for the trip, I've got a big work deadline and lots of personal stuff I want to accomplish. On a busy week, I just love have a plan from which to work easily and quickly.

The chicken meals sound great could you post the recipies??

crisrn2003
07-09-2006, 04:03 PM
Subscribing--what a great thread.
By the way, my "almost" 7 yr old DD is planning a Mexican night this week. She's making party decorations, planning the menu, and she's even asked her dad to call the local news media (which he was able to advise her was not a good idea--"what if 200 people came and we didn't have enough tacos"). This is a great option for us.
My spouse and I are doing weight watchers so going out is a big treat for us, but even that requires planning (where can we eat for the least amount of points, etc.) It's a great deterent for eating out all the time.
And as a child, I can remember eating out on Tuesday nights was a big deal. I wish my kids would view "going out" as something special too. That's become more my goal.
And if and when eating out is necessary (due to conflicting schedules, just can't take not going out anymore, etc), try going someplace that has kids nights, coupons, etc. And try having everyone drink water--for a family of 4 at about $2/drink, that saves about $8--and it's much healthier for everyone.

mjbaby
07-09-2006, 06:26 PM
The chicken meals sound great could you post the recipies??


Sure. My recipes aren't really in recipe format, they're more like "put all this stuff together and cook it" so with some imagination, they might just make sense!

For the chicken and broccoli bake, cover the bottom of an baking dish with frozen broccoli and sprinkle cubed chicken over top (I use two boneless breasts cut into 1 inch cubes for the four of us). Salt and pepper to taste and then combine the following and spread over top: one can of cream of something soup, half a cup of shredded jack cheese, a cup of milk. Top everything croutons sprinkled (I used store brand garlic French croutons) and bake in a 350 degree oven for about an hour or so, until the chicken is cooked through. I almost never use canned soup but I've tried this one using a homemade bechemel sauce and it didn't work out. Using celery seed with the salt and pepper is nice, too.

For the grilled garlic herb chicken, use halved bone-in breasts with the skin still on. Loosen the skin on each breasts slightly with your fingers. Slip slivered garlic, a large basil leaf and a half-inch rosemary "spike" under the skin nestled against the flesh (use what you have for this: cilantro is nice, so is taragon, summer savory and thyme). Salt and pepper the outside of the breast to taste and rub a small amount of butter or olive oil over the skin - you don't want the breast moistened, just lightly coated. Place the prepared breasts in a pre-heated grill on low heat and close the lid. Watch carefully and turn as needed. Once both sides of the breasts are golden, move to one side and turn off that side's flame, leaving the other flame on low. The chicken is done when there is no pink and the juices run clear. Keeping the breasts off of direct heat for the bulk of the cooking time keeps them moist, and the herbs and garlic impart a nice, subtle flavor.

Both of these recipes are easy and require very little hands on time. They're not fast in the sense that you can get them on the table in 20 minutes, although you can go take care of something else once they're cooking. And they taste good, too.

mom2dea
07-09-2006, 09:24 PM
We will be moving soon and we are trying to save money and also use everything up in our freezer and pantery before we move .

So this week we are having :
mon~ Alfredo with bowtie pasta and caser salad
Tues ~ Chilie with cornbread
Wed ~ Grilled chicken garlic mash patatos and frozen brocollie
Thurs~ Spagitti bread and butter
Fri~ Baked Ziti (to use up lef over sauce ) and ceaser salad

All for lunches we are having left over for the following day .

For Saturday I making Peanute butter and jelly and also Ham sandwiches for the car as we will be traveling to SC for the weekend to find a house . Also I will bring breadfest with us so we do not have to eat out . However I am sure we will eat out Dinner Saturday and lunch Sunday .

Hope everyone has a great week .

littleprincessmom
07-09-2006, 11:11 PM
Thanks for the motivation...Count me in! Subscribing for more great ideas! ;)

SLDL
07-10-2006, 12:20 AM
Subscribing...thanks, OP, I really needed this thread!!!! :thumbsup2

Tree
07-10-2006, 05:45 AM
Sun Burgers on the grill

Mon Hamburger helper with extra tomatos, onions and using ground turkey

Tues Crockpot chicken salsa Cut up two breast of chicken, add jar of salsa and taco seasoning. Cook for 6 hours. Good on rice or over a salad.

Wed Spinach and hamburger casserole

Thurs Leftover crockpot chicken salsa

Fri Clean out the fridge night

Sat Wedding Kids at grandmas

bettyann29
07-10-2006, 06:45 AM
there are some great ideas.. Thanks again for this thread..

monday- shepards pie
tuesday- hamburgers on the grill
wednesday- tostadas
thursday- chili mac
friday- sausage and rice
saturday- leftovers
sunday- hamburger helper
monday- breakfastbaked ziti
tuesday- baked ziti
wednesday- not sure what you call it but you take peas and diced tomatoes and simmer, then brown 1 lb of hamburger and mix together and put over rice..
thursday- leftovers
friday- ham steaks and pinto beans
saturday- leftovers (I usually throw away way too much food so I decided to start getting better with this)
sunday- I think Im gonna try the above listed chicken and salsa recipe (sounds good)

Whew.. This is my menu for 2 weeks.. I was proud of myself.. We didnt eat out at all this weekend.. I spent about $130 for 2 weeks worth of groceries as I needed extras around the house this week, so not too bad..

bettyann29
07-10-2006, 06:46 AM
Tues Crockpot chicken salsa Cut up two breast of chicken, add jar of salsa and taco seasoning. Cook for 6 hours. Good on rice or over a salad.

This sounds good.. I think I might try this next week.. Do you put any water in this or just exactly what is listed??

hallie615
07-10-2006, 11:04 AM
Tues Crockpot chicken salsa Cut up two breast of chicken, add jar of salsa and taco seasoning. Cook for 6 hours. Good on rice or over a salad.



I have tried this before but never added taco seasoning. Do you just put in a packet of seasoning. :confused3

Disneefun
07-10-2006, 11:37 AM
I don't have any recipies or grocery ideas that haven't already been mentioned, but I do have an alternative way of thinking about eating out that usually keeps me from going out. I think about what else that money can buy that's more permanent, fun, and/or useful. It's just DH and I, so if you have kids your numbers will probably be higher but, for example, for the two of us to eat:

At Chik-fil-A is about $10 which could buy a jigsaw puzzle that we can have fun with for several nights.

At the local Mexican joint is about $15 which could buy a month's worth of NetFLix movie rentals at two out at a time.

At Applebees or similar is about $25 which could buy 90 days worth of minutes for my Virgin phone

At a fancy restaurant is about $50 which could buy one nights worth of lodging at Fort Wilderness or two nights at our second favorite campground.

And any of this money can also be put in my ING acct. and earn more money for more stuff later.

Obviously these aren't the only things that eating out money can buy, and everybody will have their own "lists." But when I'm tempted to eat out, I think about things like this (post it on the fridge if it helps remind you) and usually decide that I'd rather have other things that I'll get more use or fun out of, rather than a meal that only lasts an hour and isn't usually that good to start with. Even if cooking is a pain at times, I just suck it up and do it because there's so much more I'd rather do with that money.

LisaG
07-10-2006, 12:39 PM
To mom2dea,
Welcome to the Palmetto State! Where in SC will you be moving to?

abbyndrewmom
07-10-2006, 12:59 PM
Tues Crockpot chicken salsa Cut up two breast of chicken, add jar of salsa and taco seasoning. Cook for 6 hours. Good on rice or over a salad.



This is very good with pork as well!! Dh and I have it over salad and the kids make taco's.

lillygator
07-10-2006, 01:39 PM
this is awesome! We definitely need to cut the eating out! It's such a killer on the pocket book!!

Tonight - steak, potato and veggie....
Tues - shredded pork sand....
not sure the rest of the week

Tree
07-10-2006, 01:42 PM
I have tried this before but never added taco seasoning. Do you just put in a packet of seasoning. :confused3

just a few tablespoons. I have a large taco season spice jar that I shake over it.

chemteacher03
07-10-2006, 01:49 PM
We have saved about 200 dollars this past month by not eating out as frequently. One thing we have done though is go to Subway and split a footlong sandwich on Sundays. At the Subway near us, they have a special on Sundays - 2 footlongs for the price of one. We have been having one footlong as our dinner and then the other footlong is lunch the next day. Sometimes we'll get 4 and be set for all meals on Sunday and Monday.

CherylA
07-10-2006, 02:40 PM
I just found these recipes. They look pretty good they seem quick and they are one pan meals, made on the stovetop and microwave. NO OVEN! I'm going to give the Baked Potatoes Primavera and One-Pan Potatos and chicken teriyaki a try. :stir:

http://www.mtnking.com/recipe/one_pan_meals.html

kath1210
07-10-2006, 03:56 PM
I just found these recipes. They look pretty good they seem quick and they are one pan meals, made on the stovetop and microwave. NO OVEN! I'm going to give the Baked Potatoes Primavera and One-Pan Potatos and chicken teriyaki a try. :stir:

What recipes? Is there a link missing from your message?

Thanks!

CherylA
07-10-2006, 04:18 PM
http://www.mtnking.com/recipe/one_pan_meals.html

whoops! I added it to the original message.

mom2dea
07-10-2006, 08:16 PM
We are moving to Columbia area . Blythwood is were the job will be . We are hoping for a small town feel and to get seasons! Also its cheaper up there then fl . We could never own a house down here !

We did good tonight I wanted to stop for burgers cause we have physical theraphy and then we had to sop and buy diapers and then pick up our son at camp . But instead I came home and cooked my alfredo and salad and everyone ate it ! Then we all have cake . INfact my son asked for seconds ! I so gladly reminded him he could not do that at a restruant ! lol

Sarah M