We want to thank you for signing up for our newsletter. As a way to say Thank you, we would like to give you one of our favorite ways to save in our home – our Weekly “No Food Waste” Planner Download! We share below why we love this download and a quick walk-through on one of our own sample menus. We hope you love it and will agree with the following readers who have loved it as well:
– Thank you for this. I have been using it for 3 weeks & we are wasting less food each week. – Wendy
– You always make my life easier. Thank you, Thrifty Couple! – Kiz
You don’t want your friends to miss out now, do you? Share our site with your friends and let them know they can receive this special download as well just by signing up – just click on tell a friend and let them know about it!
|<== Download your printable No Food Waste Menu Planner HERE|
Alex is my download hero. I say to him, “hey babe, I would love to have a form that would allow me to quickly and easily plan our weekly menu and incorporate foods that we need to use.”
Then he creates it and makes my life so much easier! I use to just write this down on a paper, not in a super organized way, but at least it was planned. Well, I have been able to plan an organized menu with the things that a frugal menu needs!
So I think that Alex did a fantastic job of creating this for me and so I want to share it with you in hopes that it will be a blessing, help, time-saver and money-saver in your home too!
It is a pretty straight forward menu planner, but I will walk you through how to use it!
Step #1- Go to your fridge and write down the foods you need to use this week – the ones that will be expiring soon, the fresh foods that have a shorter life (like fruits, veggies, salads, sour creams, etc. ).
My real life example this week: Broccoli stems, grapes, chives, mangoes, Mexican cheese, hot peppers, fresh vegetable medley, carrots, 5 Fage yogurt, Cauliflower, sour cream, brussel sprouts, lettuce, pears, peaches, ginger sesame dressing, avocados, tomatoes, veggie dip
As a note, almost always do pretty much all fresh produce go on the list so I can ensure I am using it all and so this is most often the longest list!
Step #2 – Now do the same thing for your pantry foods. What do you have in abundance, or that will be expiring the soonest or that needs to be used for whatever reasons. Write those foods down.
My real life example this week: Loaf of bread, BBQ Sauce, garlic bread, chicken broth, Dijon mustard, veggie chips, wheat tortillas, quinoa
Step #3 – Finally, do the same in your freezer. Meats, cheeses, or other foods that you need to eat and use up soon before they expire or that you have in abundance.
My real life example this week: Mushrooms, Saute Express, peppers, rib steak, roast
Once you have identified the foods you need to use up, then it is time to create your “no food waste” menu!
Remember the articles that we shared last week to create a no-food-waste menu? If you are like me, this is also going to be a lot of fun to even create new recipes. One recipe that I created was because one week we had a lot of cottage cheese. We usually eat it as a side, but it was on sale that week and we had a lot of it and being a side for most meals became quite boring. So I decided to make what I now call “lasagna casserole!”
I can make this with any pasta, any pasta sauce, it can be vegetarian or include meat. In the pasta sauce, I mix cottage cheese into it and it turned out so well and has become a favorite! It changes slightly every time I make it depending on what foods I need to use up, but every time it is really, really good! This is just one example, but to help you in making up recipes to use all of your foods, you need to have the other two articles we wrote near at hand to help with that!
Now it is time to plan! Please note, you can use any foods in your house to plan, just make sure to incorporate the foods on your list as the “need to use” foods too, but your menu is NOT exclusive to these items 🙂 Just thought I would make that clear!
Step #4- Plan out your Breakfasts (use our Breakfast Ideas HERE) and cross the items off the list once you have incorporated that ingredient into your menu!
You can plan out your breakfasts based on foods on your list, you can also get ideas from our Building Better Breakfasts page. Many of the recipes will allow you to create concoctions with items you have on hand. I would recommend paying close attention to building breakfast casseroles (using many different items for the crust, and for the actually base), the homemade pre-made muffin mix that allows you to make any muffins or breakfast cake and the article on building fruit and veggie smoothies that taste good every time!
My real life examples from this week: S =Oatmeal and fruit, M = Peach Breakfast Cake (using the pre-made homemade muffin mix), T= Breakfast Casserole, W = Banana Breakfast Cake (using the pre-made homemade muffin mix again), TH= Oatmeal and Fruit, F = Fried Eggs and Toast (fried in coconut oil for health!), S = Grits Casserole
Step #5- Plan out your Lunches and cross the items off the list once you have incorporated that ingredient into your menu! Again, our lunches are quite flexible because I might plan something, but realize we have a lot of left-overs from the night before, etc.!
Lunches are VERY low key in our house! I usually cycle through the same foods and don’t put much extra thought or effort into lunches as we have a quick lunch break during our homeschool days. It is also very flexible because if we have leftovers, than that is what we are eating! Whole Wheat and gluten-free pastas are also a common lunch as I can make almost anything out of it, especially with my SOS mix!
My real life examples from this week: S = left-overs/sandwiches, M = pasta salad, T= Pizza at Co-op, W = Baked potatoes, TH= Sandwiches, F = Cowboy Chili (using leftovers from steak in dinner menu) , S = Cowboy Chili again from making a double batch
Step #6 – Write down foods that are the “approved” snacks for the week! This is mostly for your family’s reference. My kids need snacks and if I don’t have a plan, this is where I feel like we are getting eaten out of house and home! So I write down snacks available to them that week from foods that need to be eaten and they are free to pick from the list of these foods before we need to plan on any other snacks! This is good for older kids too so that they know what they can have and get it on their own!
My real life examples from this week: Fage yogurt, veggie chips, peaches, pears, pretzels, carrots and dip
Step #7– Plan out your dinner menu complete with sides!
Dinners are where the magic is in our house! This is where I put the most time and creativity, but I still try to keep dinner prep in under 30 minutes using the foods I have on hand!
With that, most households tend to put the most effort into dinner, and that is why the dinner section includes room for more details, including side dishes.
My real life examples from this week: S = Roast with carrots, celery, potatoes and onions and 60-min dinner rolls, M = Peach Chicken with garlic bread, brown rice, Italian salad and Best Brussies (roasted brussel sprouts a lot like our Roasted Broccoli), T= Chinese Chicken Salad made with the Ginger Sesame Dressing, lettuce and shredded broccoli stems, W = Enchiladas with mangoes and avocados and homemade salsa with chips, TH= Crock Pot Ribs with fruit salad, steamed veggies and 60-min dinner rolls, F = date night in: take-out , S = Dijon Chicken with Mediterranean Quinoa, remaining fruit and Roasted Cauliflower (like our Roasted Broccoli)
I needed an idea for Dijon mustard this week for a gourmet one that I bought on markdown and that is nearing expiration. I searched google for a recipe idea!
I then followed the steps I shared in our Google Recipe Search post and added a few ingredients including cream cheese (I have that on hand!)
Finally, a few results came up with my requirements, but I am making a creamy dijon chicken this week! It sounds so good and I am not going to have to throw out the mustard that has been in my pantry for a while!
In the notes section of my menu planner, I write a note to myself about where the recipe is located as well as any other notes (guests one night, etc). Also, there is a shopping list section at the bottom. I often find that as I am cooking or menu-creating, I see things that I am out of and add to the list. This list can be torn or cut off the bottom without affecting your menu!
You can print this off for as many weeks as you would like, or print once and make copies to put into your binder.
Alex designed it to where it requires very little ink and in fact you can print it in fast draft/grayscale to use even less ink. But either one uses miniscule amount of ink!
If you haven’t put together your home binder yet, you can get all of the details to our home binder system HERE along with even more FREE downloads! Using these in the menu tab is perfect!
Please note, if you are reading this email in our rss feed or our email newsletter, you may have to click to the post HERE to print this download.
|<== Download your printable No Food Waste Menu Planner HERE|