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What do meals look like in your house?

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In the grocery budget thread I got quite a few comments about my menus being fancy. I'm not sure where the "fancy" is coming from. Granted we are not cereal eaters in the morning and it seems that after 40+ years of eating sandwiches for lunch I'm through with them. We seem to just quit making them a few months ago. Honestly the thought of a sandwich turns my stomach.


I'll post the menus in no particular order other than breakfasts, lunch and dinner. I'll prepare them as I feel up to it. I'll also indicate what is make ahead and what is typical for weekends

Menu Breakfasts

Breakfast burritos -make ahead

pancakes - weekend,

leftover pancakes,

French toast,

scrambled eggs w/spinach,

eggs w/fried potatoes and sausage - weekend breakfast,


banana bread - make ahead,

leftover banana bread,

fried eggs,

scones - make ahead,

leftover scones,

scrambled eggs with toast,

muffins - weekend make ahead.


Menu Lunch - none of these takes more than 15 minutes to prepare.


Grilled cheese w/ soup,

Greek salad,

Caesar Salad w/chicken,

California dream salad

(all salads served with multi-grain muffins that are made over the weekend),

black bean soup,

leek & potato soup,

chicken noodle soup,

leftover lasagna,

left over pasta,

left over chili,

leftover stew,

leftover quinoa


Menu Dinner

Beef stew,

fish with salad and bread,

pork chops with rice and veg,

steak with baked potato and salad, (The steak sounds expensive, but it came with the 1/2 cow I bought.)


Peruvian Quinoa stew,

pasta with chicken piccate sauce,

lentils and rice,


pasta with bruchetta and capers, (While this sounds expensive it really isn't. I bought the bruchetta for about what I'd pay to make spaghetti sauce and for where I live with all the other expensive stuff - capers are cheap.)


fish and chips,

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Your meals themselves do not look fancy to me. They are very similar to what I make. But from looking at your grocery list, I think the ingredients you use in those recipes are not the same ones as I use. I wouldn't use a gourmet cheese in any of those recipes but you had quite a few "fancy" cheeses on your list. (I would just use cheddar and Parmesan for them.)

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Your meals themselves do not look fancy to me. They are very similar to what I make. But from looking at your grocery list, I think the ingredients you use in those recipes are not the same ones as I use. I wouldn't use a gourmet cheese in any of those recipes but you had quite a few "fancy" cheeses on your list. (I would just use cheddar and Parmesan for them.)

Those cheeses were not for any of the recipes, except the parm and the mozzerella. And the feta in salads. The rest of them (3) are for dh to snack on instead of chips this go 'round.

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DAIRY - Chocolate or White Milk, Cheese

VEGETABLE -Salad, Carrot sticks, Soup

FRUIT - Apple, pear, peach, banana, raisins

PROTEIN- Chili or Tacos, Chicken nuggets, Ham, Roast Beef, Tuna, Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, Peanut Butter, Leftovers

BREAD - Quesadillas, Ramen Noodles, Macaroni & Cheese, Crackers, Bread/Rolls/Buns, Popcorn




PROTEIN - Eggs - fried, scrambled, omelets, ham, bacon, sausage

BREAD - Muffins, biscuits, toast, waffles, French toast, pancakes, cinnamon rolls, oatmeal, cereal

FRUIT - Banana, orange juice, fruit smoothie

DAIRY - Milk, yogurt


DINNERS: Current 36 meal rotation



Pork Roast

Salmon Patties or Stir Fry

Beef Stew

Baked Chicken

Potato and Tomato with Sage Soup

Salisbury Steak or Tacos

Pork Chops


Beef Teriyaki

Chicken Kabobs

Chard and Yam Soup





Pea soup

Pot Roast

Chicken Broccoli Casserole

Cream of Mushroom Soup


Hamburgers or Hot Dogs

Pork Chops

Fish Fillets

Chicken Parm

Beef Kabobs

Turnip Squash Soup


Chili or Lasagne

BBQ Pork Sand.

Chicken Teriyaki

Beef Stroganoff

Stir Fry or Salmon Patties

Burritos or Salmon Patties


Root Veg Soup


These are the main dishes that didn't make the rotation this time:


GR Beef: Hamburger Corn Casserole, Cottage Pie

Beef: Pot Pie, Oven Roast, Cube Steak, Hash

Chicken: Roasted whole, fried, Cordon Bleu, Lemon, Pot Pie, Crepes, BBQ

Soups: Chicken, Veg Beef, Ham and Bean


Sandwiches: hot roast beef, bbq beef, sloppy Joe, French dip


Vegetables (2-3 servings), milk, and whole grains are served with each meal, and often fruits are too. These are the main dishes only because my comprehensive table will not copy & paste here. All homemade, except for bread and crackers. Where there are choices on the menu it is because DH won't eat some dishes the rest of us like - he usually gets the salmon patties the rest of us won't eat.


When I have time, I prefer to make the breads, rolls, and buns. Usually, I do not have time.

Edited by RoughCollie
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I don't know if it helps since we eat sandwiches for lunch every day when DH is at work. We just started doing that about a year ago...before that I'd just make extra of dinner and we'd eat it the next day for lunch. My kids adore oranges, carrots, and apples so we have them practically every day. I don't buy canned fruits/veggies, only fresh or frozen and I plan our menu around what fruits and veggies are on sale that week. This week's ads at the 2 stores I usually shop at: apples are 88 cents/lb, tomatoes 69 cents/lb, oranges are 10/$1, strawberries are on sale for 1.88/container, cantaloupes are on sale for 99 cents each, squash for 77 cents/lb, asparagus for 1.49/lb, avocados are 4/$5, cauliflower 99 cents/head... I buy meat in bulk when it's on sale and freeze it until we need it so I can make whatever I want. Shrimp is on sale for 3.99/lb this week so I'll buy a bunch of shrimp and freeze it even though it's not on our menu this week. We also don't eat beef, which helps because ground turkey is a LOT cheaper than ground beef.


Here's my menu for the week:



Breakfast - Eggs, toast, strawberries

Lunch - peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, carrots, apples

Dinner - cheese lasagna, asparagus, french bread



Breakfast - Oatmeal with brown sugar, banana

Lunch - tuna fish sandwiches, broccoli, oranges

Dinner - turkey tacos (tomatoes, homemade black beans, avocado, cheddar)



Breakfast - waffles (from scratch) with honey, yogurt, oranges

Lunch - peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, carrots, apples

Dinner - Jason's Deli (we go there every Wed with friends)



Breakfast - oatmeal with brown sugar, oranges

Lunch - egg salad sandwiches, cauliflower, apples

Dinner - Mujadarah, yellow squash, steamed green beans



Breakfast - yogurt and homemade granola bar

Lunch - peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, carrots, apples

Dinner - grilled cheese sandwiches and soup



Breakfast - eggs, homemade biscuits, cantaloupe

Lunch - black bean and mushroom quesadillas

Dinner - monthly date night



Breakfast - zucchini-pecan muffins, banana

Lunch - turkey hot dogs on whole wheat buns, chips, cauliflower

Dinner - pasta with salmon, broccoli, and mushrooms


Hot dogs were a special request this week that is very rare in our house. Just have to say that. LOL!


Hope this helps!

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Breakfast: fresh fruit, with oatmeal if they want

(maybe banana pancakes on Sunday)


Lunch: sambhar (lentil stew)

rice or mashed potatoes

cooked veg dishes, like okra or beetroot or cabbage

(maybe pasta on Sunday)


Supper: sambhar

rice or mashed potatoes

cooked veg dishes

(maybe chappati on Sat. night, with coconut chutney)

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I admit that your grocery list seemed very fancy for me, but your menu wasn't very different. My selections for the same types of things are just plainer (and therefore cheaper for me). You bought many things I don't even look at because of cost.


*We don't eat fish or steaks. Just ground beef, chicken, and pork.

*We don't buy anything from the deli.

*We don't eat premade or boxed mixes.

*We don't buy nicer cheeses.

*We don't buy drinks. Just milk, water, and coffee for dh.

*We don't buy fancy bread. Just regular whole wheat, tortillas, and buns.

*We don't buy fruit out-of-season.


I would love to buy what is on your list, but I don't want to pay for it!!!!


By the way, I enjoyed reading your grocery list. I had food envy all night!

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I still think it's the perception of your grocery list being deemed fancy by folks, not what you're cooking, because it doesn't look fancy at all.


$20 salmon (though if you're buying wild caught salmon instead of the farm raised stuff for conscientious reasons, I understand that). Really expensive cheeses, etc.

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We just stopped eating sandwiches for lunch on a regular basis and I am so enjoying it. Your meals don't look fancy...just well planned out. I am starting to get better at that as well. I was tired of panic driven dinners...oh my gosh it is 5:30 everything is frozen, what is for dinner? Leftovers for lunch have been a big hit around here.


I have recently gone to more whole foods snacks as well...cheeses, crackers, hummus, almonds, fruit etc. I am bringing in less packaged stuff. It is still more expensive but healthier.

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I only cook dinner. I won't stand in the kitchen all day.


Dinner menu in a typical week or two:


burritos/tacos/taco salad

Friday night Pizza (homemade usually)

tandoori chicken, rice, naan (at least once every 2 weeks)

Chicken curry with rice (again, every 2 weeks or so)

Spaghetti or alfredo pasta or pasta casserole

Baked potato night with toppings

hamburgers/turkey burgers

Salmon or tilapia with rice

BBQ pulled pork (actually very rarely as I don't like it!)

Pot stickers with rice


I am trying to learn to make my own low mein noodles and I do occasional make fried rice. So far, I haven't been successful with the noodles.



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I agree with many others that your menu doesn't sound fancy but your shopping list does compared to things I would buy. Also I read through part of the other list and the impression I got is that just about everything I would consider "fancy" was an item for your husband. Just in case that wasn't obvious to you I thought I'd point it out. I think the problem lies with his eating habits. You can talk to him and see what he is willing to change but if he's not on board then there is not much you can do to make your groceries cheaper.


For years my husband drank soda (a 24 pack of Pepsi a week- generics were unacceptable) and no matter what I said or did he was not willing to change and if I didn't keep it stocked he would just go buy it no matter the price. If I stocked it, at least I could buy it on sale.


As I've shared information with him about "junk" added into our food, he was been slowly willing to make changes. When I should him that high fructose corn syrup could be contributing to some of his health issues, he was finally willing to give up soda. I now make him tea sweetened with honey (and I keep slowly reducing the amount of honey over time to retrain his tastebuds). Instead of spending $20 a month on soda I know only have to spend about $5 on tea bags.


So I don't know where your husband stands on things but you might want to show him your shopping list and see if he would be willing to make any changes.

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I didn't think your meals looked fancy. You did seem to be buying a lot of expensive cheese (that you've explained) and more prepackaged/premade stuff than I buy.



Scrambled egg muffins with toast, blueberry muffin or buttermilk biscuit and fruit.

Scrambled eggs and sausage with fried potatoes, toast or biscuits and fruit.

Homemade granola cereal

fruit and yogurt



"snack plate" ie. meat, cheese, veggies, fruit, nuts, bread or crackers

homemade pizza







Baked Ziti

Stuffed Shells

Sausage and Penne

Meatballs and pasta


Cream Cheese and Potato soup

Modified Tortellini in Brodo soup

Grilled Lime Chicken

Honey Ginger Chicken

Chicken Parmesan

Fried Chicken


Beef Enchiladas

Grilled Chicken Salad

Stir-fry; either chicken or pork with either a peanut sauce or sweet -n- sour sauce

Chicken Fajitas

Honey Mustard Chicken


Homemade pizzas

Shepherd's Pie

Teriyaki Chicken Strips

Pork chops


Most dinners have a side of salad or veggie, and rice, potato or pasta. Mexican meals have either re-fried or black beans and brown rice. Some meals include a homemade bread, especially soups, salads and chili.


Everything is homemade except taco shells, tortillas, pasta, and burger buns.

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-Homemade oatmeal (not the packets)

-Homemade whole wheat toast with peanut butter

-Homemade pancakes

-Homemade waffles

-Eggs in a hole made with homemade whole wheat bread

-French toast made with homemade whole wheat bread



-PB&J on homemade whole wheat bread

-Mac and cheese (I buy the cheese powder in bulk and make my own noodles) with diced tomatoes

-Baked potato with canned pork and beans topping


-Ramen noodles with leftover veggies or meat added

-Grilled cheese with homemade bread



-Homemade muffins

-Homemade granola bars

-Homemade cookies

-Homemade (not microwave) popcorn

-Apples and bananas



-Hot or cold tea

-Tap water

-Hot chocolate

-Homemade wine



-Shepard's pie with one pound of hamburger and one cup of cooked black beans

-Homemade chicken soup with homemade noodles or dumplings

-Pesto pasta with sausage and homemade breadsticks

-Homemade pizza (I make my own dough) with different toppings

-Canned tomato soup with homemade potato pancakes

-Chicken in gravy over homemade biscuits or waffles

-Spaghetti with homemade garlic bread

-Chicken cacciatore with homemade breadsticks

-Salmon alfredo casserole with canned salmon, homemade alfredo sauce and homemade bread cubes

-Seafood pasta with imitation crab meat and homemade alfredo

-Cabbage soup with homemade biscuits

-Sausage soup with homemade biscuits

-Tuna casserole with homemade noodles

-Lazy piggies casserole with one pound hamburger

-Ziti casserole with one pound hamburger


If we can't afford the hamburger or sausage I substitute black beans, usually. If we can't afford chicken I can substitute chick peas sometimes. I get canned veggies on sale and have them as sides. We don't have a big freezer to store stuff in, so I can and I buy canned stuff. We garden usually except last year I had some skin cancer removed and I didn't want to be out in the sun. This year we will get back into the garden again, it made too big a difference for us.



The only cleaner I buy is Comet. I clean with the cheapest bar soap I can find and a warm wet washcloth, I'm not into making cleaners out of vinegar although I have tried it.

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We just did our month stock up this past weekend and got everything we needed + extra for the Super Bowl party (sigh), including diapers, and a bottle of cleaner for just under $240. I've got $40, tops, to play with for the rest of the month to buy milk, eggs, fruit and vegs as we run out.


For breakfast we generally have some combination of scrambled eggs, toast, yogurt (I need to get back to making my own - I use the crockpot), granola (homemade - just oats, butter, and honey done in a skillet), pancakes, waffles, french toast, and crepes. Once a week I'll make everyone a few slices of bacon to go with whatever we're having for breakfast. Bananas or a few slices of canned peaches/pears to go along with.


Lunch is generally leftovers or one of the following: sandwich (rarely), homemade mac & cheese (once a week-ish), cheese and crackers, tortilla pizzas, quesadillas, or brown rice with veggies topped with a little cheese and sour cream. Generally fruit or veggies, pending what we have, on the side.


Snacks are either more leftovers, homemade granola bars, or yogurt.


This months dinner menu consists of the following:


Spaghetti with homemade bread (every Tuesday)

Butter Herb Chicken w/ gravy over rice

BBQ Shredded Pork with buttered pasta

BLT Quesadilla Wraps

Baked Ham & Cheese Sandwiches

Southwest Pasta bake

Meatball sandwiches

Chicken salsa wraps

Calzones (likely to be made with ham and pepperoni)

BBQ Porkchops (3x)

Roast (2x)


Homemade Pizza

Chicken Parmesan

Homemade Hot Pockets

Roasted Garlic and Dijon Chicken

Orange Glazed Pork chops w/ citrus rice

Chicken Parmesan Subs

Chicken Salad wraps

Homemade Sweet-N-Sour chicken with rice


Sides are usually buttered pasta, pasta salad (etc), mashed or twice baked potatoes, or rice. Dinner is served with a veggie or two, type pending what was on sale/ what is in the fridge/pantry.

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I guess anything with more than one or two ingedients is fancy to me. :D


Our dinner menu each week is very much like this: marinated meat (once a week) paired with a couple of vegs. Pasta with sauce and a salad. A salad with chicken or salmon or beans on top. Soup and bread x2. Pizza. Leftovers or breakfast. Breakfast and lunch are OYO, but again not complicated: eggs, cereal, toast, or waffles (frozen whole-grain), and sandwiches, chips with cheese and salsa, or leftovers.


My theory is KISS. We're all healthy and my grocery budget is manageable, so it works for us. :001_smile:

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I guess we eat really simply, although I don't think of us as doing so. My children are old enough that they feed themselves so I am only including my husband and myself on this list.




Oatmeal with brownsugar, fruit, and milk




Cheese sandwich or peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Milk or juice.




Milk and some sort of starch with some sort of vegetables on top or next to it. Sometimes my husband makes himself a salad. Sometimes we have a bit of meat that we include, or we include eggs. So we might have pea soup and bread, or baked beans and brown bread, or corn and bean casserole, or baked potatoes and broccolli, or pizza, or roasted vegetables. If there is a sauce, it is usually some sort of white sauce with or without cheese. Mushrooms are usually included. We like mushrooms. We often have eggs in some form for supper.




Fruit or cookies or nuts or popcorn or chocolate or juice or yoghurt or icecream.




If we go out to eat, we usually pick sushi.



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I don't think your meals look fancy but that might be because I do cook fancy. We are foodies here and we like a lot of flavors so I cook a lot with nice cheeses, shallots, leeks, fresh herbs. It's something I enjoy. There is nothing wrong with fancy food. :)


:iagree: it just depends upon how it fits in your budget. I buy salmon and fancy cheese. BUT, I also spend less overall than the OP on a week's shopping trip, even with Hawaii prices. Or was that a two-week trip? I spend about the same in 2 weeks. I don't buy things like premade jello or little packs of fruit. I don't really shop sales or do many coupons. I have 2 more kids than the op, and I pack my dh's lunch (usually leftovers).

Edited by Mrs Mungo
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This looks much like the sorts of foods we eat, save that we eat more south Louisiana meals, too. I don't bake because my new oven is actually worse than the old one (I'll never buy another Kenmore appliance), but other than that we eat much the same types of things. We generally don't eat a "breakfast" meal in the morning, but do eat such meals at dinnertime....

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Your meals and snack/cheese choices are not fancy to me. Outside of the fish, very similar. We eat shrimp or scallops about once a week instead of the fish. You pay a little more, from your grocery list, but that is more based on having more options where I live.

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Your meals don't look fancy to me.

I spend about $130 a week on just food, so your gorcery bill doesn't look terrible to me. I do like to cook and would be a real foodie if we could afford it!


But your list has a lot of prepackaged and prepared food that I don't buy. And brand names. I only get those if coupons make them cheaper than store brand. I don't buy anything in single-portion sizes, but rather get the large container and portion it out as needed for lunches etc. I don't buy store bought cookies or bread except things like croissants that I can't make and those only every once in a while.


I shop at three or four different stores (over the course of a month) regularly to get good deals on things we like. I do use the CVS coupons to get toiletries and some household items. I do buy nice cheeses - usually at Costco. I do buy good beer and an occasional bottle of wine. I do buy things at Trader Joe's. Our CSA share saves us a lot in the summer and the produce is very high quality. I do buy some things just because DH likes them! We eat less starch and more protein in the summer, because we grill so often and because we don't crave potatoes, m&c or other comfort foods in the summer!


I know that my family can go leaner than we do on groceries, but we try to walk a balanced line. Sometimes the budget is tighter and we eat more rice and beans. Other times we have more wiggle room.


It is always a dynamic thing. I don't find that I can ever just get it down to a system and do that for a long time. Too many variables! Managing a household is not simple and not easy!

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We eat very simply. I used to have a monthly rotating meal plan with many different meals, but when we switched to more fruits and veggies and whole grains only, that changed drastically. I keep it simple, and I hate to take time to grocery shop, so we use what we can buy in bulk (grains, beef, chicken, baking supplies) or have delivered (milk, yogurt, butter.) I really only have to buy fresh fruits and veggies each week, and I hit Costco and TJ/WF every 4-6 weeks.


For dinner, we have:

fish (salmon or haddock,) chicken breast, or lean beef

couscous, quinoa, brown rice, or whole wheat orzo with a bit of broth or seasoning

one cooked vegetable

one raw vegetable or salad

one fruit for dessert


Once a week, we have spaghetti, lasagna, or baked penne instead. And usually once a week, I make stir fry chicken with veggies over brown rice. We buy seasonal veggies and supplement with bags of frozen veggies from WF and bags of broccoli and carrots from Costco. We buy fruit seasonally, too, though I always get apples, bananas, and berries.


For lunch, dc have: soup (homemade beef barley usually,) almond butter and strawberry All-Fruit on homemade bread, or turkey breast sandwiches on homemade bread. They also get a raw veggie and a fruit. I have a ham and cheese ww tortilla roll-up or a bowl of soup and a piece of fruit.


For breakfast, dc have eggs or yogurt, a fruit, and oatmeal or muffins. I have a yogurt smoothie and a banana, and dh makes an egg and ham English muffin for the road.


Everyone drinks water, except that dh and dd each drink a glass of milk a day. Ds gets 3 glasses of whole milk a day, two of them with Ovaltine, because he is underweight. I do buy grape juice every once in a while (1/month.)

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Homemade yogurt with homemade fruit sauce, slivered almonds and flax seed


Scrambled eggs with spinach, red and green pepper and onion

Whole wheat toast (homemade bread) with poached eggs

Grapefruit and whole wheat toast




Peanut butter and jelly

Leftover pizza

Tuna salad sandwiches



Dinners are a constant variety since I like to try new things

African chicken stew, fruit salad

Shrimp kabobs, caesar salad, brown rice pilaf

Beef stroganoff, noodles, glazed carrots, spinach sauteed with garlic, pine nuts and raisins

Red and yellow pepper chicken

Orange glazed chicken, rice, kale

Red peppers stuffed with brown rice, kale, pine nuts, parm cheese

Salmon Chowder

Broccoli Cheese soup

Turkey meatloaf, mashed potatoes, veggies

Stir Fry chicken

Homemade bbq chicken pizza

Chicken and Dumplings

Honey soy wild salmon, baked sweet potatoes, salad

Mussels in white wine sauce

Mu-Shu Pork

Mushroom alfredo

Pork Chop casserole

Roast Beef


Homemade Chicken Noodle soup

Steak, baked potatoes

Stuffed cabbage

Stuffed peppers

Sweet and sour chicken

Thai spaghetti toss

and tons more.... I didn't always list sides but always with as many fruits and vegetables as I can get in there!

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