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Does anyone here know how to plan meals and cook? I'm hopeless.


I'm trying to make a simple, frugal meal plan for my family and I'm new to planning. I vaguely remember reading someone elses plan a long while back but can't remember much about it.

All I can remember is that she did almost the same thing each week. For example every Tuesday she'd have soup. The soup maybe be different, but you always knew you had soup on Tuesday. I was thinking this is a good idea for my kids too. I have children with Asperger's and if they know ahead of time what we are having it would cut down on the fits and complains or other problems. ( Kids with Asperger's need a lot of predictability)

Can anyone one give me any suggestions? I prefer to cook at home due to allergies and to keep it frugle.

I'm trying to decide in general what to have each week. ( Soup on Tuesday? casserole on Wed?) Make use of leftovers too.

How do I plan?

Thanks :-)

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 8:39 AM on May. 23, 2011 in Food & Drink

Answers (10)
  • i make a new plan weekly. I sit don with a piece of paper & write down what we're having to dinner each night of the week. then i go buy the ingredients.

    I do cook. Our menu varies a lot. We always have taco's or burritos every week though, they're cheap & everyone loves them.

    some of the things i make;

    pasta, pork chops, baked chicken, beef stroganoff (DH's favorite) BBQ ribs, hamburgers, hot dogs, Mexican, some kind of soup, steaks (if there is a sale on steak), dinner salad, sandwiches of all kinds, pizza...i guess i could go on....

    Answer by samurai_chica at 8:46 AM on May. 23, 2011

  • It sounds like you're talking about an answer I posted about a month or so ago. Each week I plan my meals around a main ingredient, so for example, Monday is ground meat night, which could be tacos, meatloaf, burgers, sloppy joes, meatballs, etc. made with either ground beef, ground chicken, ground turkey or all of the above. Tuesday is poultry, so baked chicken, fried chicken, chicken enchiladas, turkey burgers or duck l'orange, etc. are all options. Wednesday is beef night, which usually means steaks or roast, but it could also be another ground beef meal. Thursday is casseroles/crockpot meals. Friday is usually fish. Saturday is homemade "fast food", which in our house is pizza, chicken patties, chicken nuggets, tacos, etc. Sunday is leftovers, if we have them, or we might do breakfast for dinner. I choose the specific meal for each day by what I got on sale.

    Answer by mom2aspclboy at 8:48 AM on May. 23, 2011

  • I plan a weekly list, pretty much like above - write out what the menu for each night is and then plan my shopping list from that. My oldest has autism and also benefits from predictability, and to cut down on questions from all my kids I post the week's menu on the frig. One thing I consider though is what's happening on each day - if I have a lot of running around to do, then I plan an easier meal for that night.
    When I first started cooking I would try a meal and if it worked out, I added in to a notebook, if it didn't work I tossed the recipe. Kind of creating my own cookbook of go-to meals.
    Some of my families favorites - breakfast for supper(eggs, grits, bacon and biscuits - CHEAP!), cheese ravioli with salad (frozen ravioli, bagged salad, and jarred sauce makes this super easy for a very busy night), swiss chicken in the crockpot (you can google this), spinach and steak salad w/balsamic dressing (stretches a steak)

    Answer by missanc at 8:53 AM on May. 23, 2011

  • Oh, and I am a huge fan of OAMC, which is Once A Month Cooking or "freezer meals". I take a day or two and make huge batches of a few different meals that center around a single main ingredient, then package them into portions for one meal at a time & freeze them. So, for example, if I get 20 lbs. of ground meat on sale, I might make a few meatloaves, a batch of sloppy joes & taco filling. 20 lbs. of ground meat will make 5 meatloaves, 5 batches of sloppy joes & 5 batches of taco filling for my family, so that's 15 meals in one day of cooking. You can do the same thing with chicken, steak, turkey or fish. Some things you cook completely ahead of time & then freeze for later and other things you prepare the sauces or sides & package them with the meat, then freeze for later. There are cookbooks available for OAMC cooking, plus tons of websites & online recipes. HTH.

    Answer by mom2aspclboy at 8:53 AM on May. 23, 2011

  • I start with the weekly ad from the grocery store. If chicken is on sale, I plan for chicken. Mondays I cook. Tuesdays the kids have religious education so we eat frozen dinners. My Aspergers DD loves BBQ pork ribs. Lots of times, I'll make that on Monday with lots left over. If she doesn't like what I'm making W - F, she'll have reheated ribs.  Friday tends to be our pasta night.  If I have a lot left over on Friday, we'll have left overs.  I try to make more than we need so we have leftovers - either for weekends or lunches.  I also let DD have pot pies (another of her favorites) when she doesn't like what I've if she just wouldn't say 'Oh gross, I'm not eating that' which discourages her twin brothers from even taking a taste, I'd do much better.


    Answer by JSD24 at 8:58 AM on May. 23, 2011

  • I like to try and make 2 nights worth of dinner off one big night of cooking. ex: I'll cook a family sized pack of chicken breasts or ground turkey/beef on Sun night, divide it in half for 2 meals. So we might have tacos one night and spagetti the next, or baked chicken one night, chicken stir fry the next night. I save $ by buying in bulk and time by cooking ahead.

    Answer by Kimedbs at 8:58 AM on May. 23, 2011

  • I know what your talking about I do things like that...every now and then I will mix it up but it dosnt happen is my break down...
    wednesday-fun night(the whole family picks this dinner and we make it together like home made pizza)
    friday-baked dinner (like baked chicken etc)
    sunday-leftovers/quick fix such as grilled cheese can of soup etc.

    i have tried this for about 2 months now but like the other posters said it is eaiser to go off of the main dish like chicken, ground meat fish stuff like are just able to mix it up a bit more. Hope all this helps.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:07 AM on May. 23, 2011

  • Check out - it's a blog, she has posts about food allergies, how to cook certain foods, when she puts up a new meal she often has pictures of step-by-step instructions, etc - it's the best place IMO to check if you're looking both for plans & how-tos.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:39 AM on May. 23, 2011

  • I second the suggestion. Not only does she post menus, but her blog is quite entertaining. Its one of my daily blog stops.

    Answer by jmpj8107 at 11:30 AM on May. 23, 2011

  • I have a ton of recipes that are tasty, healthy, family and budget friendly; send me a message offlist if you would like some.

    Answer by rkoloms at 7:28 PM on May. 23, 2011

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