Our Menu Plan Week #1

I've been thinking a lot lately about what type of content I want to be putting out over the next year, what things I want to add to this space, what things I want to take away, and what value I feel like I can add to your lives. I've always felt the happiest with the content that I produce when it's able to give something back to you guys, and either inspire you to make something, help you save money, whatever it may be, I love being able to contribute something to your life. 

This year we're really striving to make more home cooked meals. When I was in Idaho I was so excited to get home and work on this goal that I mapped out what all our meals would look like for the next two months. Picking the meals is always the hardest part for me, and from there I feel empowered to make the grocery list, and head on into the store. 

I decided that this year I want to share my menu planning and grocery shopping process with you guys. Each Sunday I'm going to have a post go live with my previous week's menu plan, and a video of what we got at the grocery store, and how much everything cost. I want to show you that you really can feed a family of four, and get all your household items for the month for less than $400. I've made big claims about money and menu planning, and what we spend on food in the past, and that our monthly budget was only $200/mo, and that's true it was, but it was just food, and I was never counting non-food purchases like diapers, cleaning products, house items, and over the counter medications. This year we've extended our food budget to $400 to include those items, although I don't plan on actually reaching that $400 threshold by the end of the month. If I had to make a guess, I'd say we're probably going to hit at or under $300, but we felt more comfortable budgeting for more, and allowing ourselves to be surprised and happy when we have excess each month.

One final note, I always plan to cook five meals each week, and then leave one night for leftovers or pancakes, and another night to eat out. Sometimes that eat out night will happen, other times, like this week, it doesn't, and we eat leftovers again or whip up something random, but the goal is always five meals a week. Now that we have all that out of the way, this is what we ate last week, and you can see the video with my shopping at the end. 

1. Butter Chicken: This is one of our favorite meals, and was definitely appreciated as our first meal at home after traveling for 20 days. I love how this curry isn't too spicy for the kids, but is full of flavor!

2. Potato Soup via Gimme Some Oven: When we were in Idaho we had Potato Soup a few times and I forgot how much I loved it, and how easy it was to make. I decided to go on the hunt for a good recipe for me to make at home, and we all loved this one! I swapped out the chicken broth for 2 bouillon cubes and 2 cups of water to save money on chicken broth and it was delicious. 

3. Sloppy Joes: I love this meal because it's a family favorite and I never have to fight with anyone to eat it (I'm looking at the four-year-old who lives in my house when I say that), this recipe has been in Derek's family for years, and we love it. 

4. Biscuits and Gravy via The Pioneer Woman: When we moved to the south, we figured it was time to add this to our regular diets. We love biscuits and gravy and The Pioneer Woman's recipe never disappoints. 

5. Fried Chicken and Waffles: I just tried to find this recipe all over my blog and realized that I took a picture for it, but then never put the recipe up? So weird. Basically, get a bunch of flour and add 1/2 tsp of garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, seasoned salt, and black pepper, and if the mixture doesn't taste flavorful enough, add more seasoned salt until it does. Dip chicken breast in egg mixture, then in flour, then back in the egg, then back in the flour, and do this with all the breasts. Then fry in oil until the outside is golden brown, and the inside is cooked all the way through, and then place on top of a freshly made waffle. Then smear a mixture of 1/4 cup mayo, 1 tsp sriracha, and 1 tsp maple syrup mixed together on top of the chicken, and eat. It's the most amazing thing ever. 

Now that you've seen all the meals, here's what it all looked like after the grocery store.


  1. I'm kind of ridiculously excited about this!!! I wish we had an Aldi though, womp, womp.

  2. so when you said you strive to do more home cooked meals does that mean you usually order out? I live in a small town where the restaurants don't last, so there are years where there is none at all, so all our meals are home cooked unless we splurge and drive to the city for a night out (we recently did this when we had to take my daughter to the airport).

  3. I just found your blog and I love it! Def bookmarking :)


  4. Such a great new year plan! I too think 5 meals a week is a totally perfect way to plan: realistic. Your menu and photos are delicious Paige! I hope you enjoyed Idaho!

  5. I always love to see meal planning blogs; can you include what you serve alongside? I did not see much in the way of veggies in your shopping, and I always try to serve at least on vegetable at mealtimes.

    Thank you, and looking forward to your next post!

    1. For the meals that are soups we usually don't do a side since there are plenty of veggies in there, if we do a side, it's usually biscuits on those nights. For the sloppy joes we did a can of corn, a frozen bag of edamame to go with the curry, and fruit to go alongside the chicken and waffles. We usually keep sides pretty simple when we do them :)

  6. Everything looks so delicious! I love the potato soup! Thank you for the recipe!