5 Reasons to Have a Meal Plan

5 Reasons to Have a Meal Plan - Food Wine & Poopy Diapers

I have some friends that I look up to. Not because of their beauty (which they have lots of), or their accomplishments (which they have tons of)… but for their amazing organizational skills! Seriously, they have their meals planned out for a month, they never have dirty laundry, and they clean their houses every night AFTER the kids go to bed (while I crash in the recliner in my PJ’s with a glass of wine and some chocolate).

In all seriousness, though, these are the ladies I aspire to be like, because being organized definitely feels good. Here are just a few reasons why it’s GOOD to have a meal plan!

5 Reasons to Have a Meal Plan - Food Wine & Poopy Diapers
5 Reasons to Have a Meal Plan – Food Wine & Poopy Diapers

It makes grocery shopping easier – When your meals are planned out in advance, everything about shopping is easier. You can easily make your shopping list, and plan for the week’s meals ahead. There’s no scrambling to the store at the last minute for things you may have forgotten, because you’ve got it all planned out, and YOU ROCK. 🙂

It cuts down on waste – When your meals for the entire week are planned out, you aren’t wasting money on junky convenience meals that end up in the trash. You can plan portion sizes, just enough for each family member, so that you have just enough to go around and you don’t have leftovers getting funky in your fridge.




It reduces stress – I don’t know about you, but when I have NO CLUE what I’m going to make for dinner, I tend to get a little bit stressed. Even though it doesn’t always happen that way, I am at my best and happiest when I’m organized and I have a plan that I stick to.

It’s fun & whimsicalI MEAN… how cute is this menu board?? Being able to do this is reason enough to plan your meals, am I right?!

5 Reasons to Have a Meal Plan - Food Wine And Poopy Diapers

It’s easier to eat healthy – When meals aren’t planned out, we get hungry. And when we get hungry, we get desperate. And when we get desperate, we eat fast food. Don’t eat fast food. Plan out those meals, friends! 🙂

For the ULTIMATE in meal planning, check out my eBook, 1 Month of Dirt Cheap Dinners! It’s full of recipes, photos, shopping lists & more, to make your life easier!

1-Month-of-Dirt-Cheap-Dinners-Kelli-Brink

Kelli Brink Food Wine Poopy Diapers

 

 

 

  • This post contains affiliate links.


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My New Ebook Will Save You 75% On Your Next Grocery Bill!

1-Month-of-Dirt-Cheap-Dinners-Kelli-Brink
1-Month-of-Dirt-Cheap-Dinners-Kelli-Brink
1 Month of Dirt Cheap Dinners by Kelli Brink

 

I’m thrilled to share with you the launch of my first cookbook! It’s called 1 Month of Dirt Cheap Dinners, and I’m so excited about it! I just know it’s going to save you and your family BOAT LOADS of money on next month’s grocery bill! Following this plan actually reduced our family’s grocery bill by around 75%…can you say, “LIFE CHANGING”?!

This simple and enjoyable cookbook is a spin-off of my popular money-saving-meal plan blog posts. This book gives you an entire month of frugal, yet delicious, meals that your entire family will love…all wrapped up into 42 full-color pages with many photos of my own kitchen creations. You’ll get an entire month of recipes, as well as weekly meal plans and printable shopping lists. With everything from easy Asian cuisine, to down-home comfort food, and everything in between, this book is perfect for beginning cooks looking to learn their way around the kitchen with no-fail meals, as well as experienced chefs just looking to mix up their meals while saving money.

Wanna know something even better? It’s just $1.99! For that tiny little price, I’ll teach you my money-saving kitchen secrets, and get you on the fast track to eating well while saving “dough”! Ready to buy my Ebook? Just click here or use the Buy it Now option below!




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Food, Wine & Poopy Diapers Featured On The Life Of A Navy Wife Blog!

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I recently got to chat with Jenn & Desi over at The Life Of A Navy Wife blog & I just loved all the great tips, photos, and inspiration their blog has to offer! If you’re ever having a rough day, go there! Not only is the blog full of amazing frugal ideas, but it’s also full of positivity and uplifting scripture to guide you and turn that frown upside down!

I was also really honored to be part of a great blog post they did about the importance of having a meal plan! Jenn discussed the dangers of shopping hungry, and overspending on impulse buys. We’ve all been there. I know I have! Especially when I’m tired, frazzled, unorganized, and have the kids with me at the store. Lack of planning is a sure-fire way to go over budget! My motto lately is, “Fail to plan, then plan to fail.” It’s so true, in many facets of life.

Please check out their blog post titled, “Fun & Frugal,” as well as their other useful and inspirational posts! Be sure to visit The Life Of A Navy Wife blog, and check back often (they update almost DAILY)!

Thanks, girls!!

XOXO

Kelli Brink Food Wine Poopy Diapers

 

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Week 3: How I Fed My Family For Under $50 This Week!

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If you like my frugal meal plan series, you’ll LOVE my Ebook! 1 Month of Dirt Cheap Dinners brings you an entire month of easy, frugal & delicious recipes, along with meal plans and shopping lists! Best part, it’s $1.99!
1-Month-of-Dirt-Cheap-Dinners

veg

Hi guys! It’s been FOREVER since I posted meal plans for Week 1 and Week 2, and I’m so sorry for the long delay! Life, ya know?!

Without further adieu, here is Week 3! Be sure to check out Week 1 & Week 2 if you missed those!

The details:
We live on a budget to help bring us closer to achieving our dream of being completely debt free!
We cook at home because it’s healthier, it tastes better, and it’s a fraction of the price of eating out. We feed our entire LARGE family on a budget of under $200 per MONTH! This is less than what most people spend in a WEEK! Our average shopping trip is under $50 per week. We only shop once a week, on Saturdays. We ONLY shop at Aldi. They have, by far, the best prices and quality.




Aldi-Stores-Bargains
Save money at Aldi stores!

This week I fed our family for $46.37!!!! This makes me so so so happy! 🙂 The bill keeps getting lower every week (pat on the back)! 🙂

This is based on a family of 5… Actually, 7 now! (5 adults, 2 toddlers) My parents also live with us now (don’t be alarmed, it’s great!) and eat dinner with us frequently, although not every night. Since my last meal plan post, our youngest is eating big boy food, and our oldest has turned 18. Ohhhhh how time has flown since I started blogging!

My meal plan includes a week of dinners and breakfasts for us all, plus lunches for 1-2 adults (since the entire family isn’t always home during the day).

These calculations assume that you already have some basics stocked in your pantry, like seasonings, oil, butter, etc. Also, it doesn’t figure in the things I buy in bulk and stockpile, like canned veggies, because I only buy those 1-2 times per year when I can get them on sale (or use coupons) for about 20 cents per can. We also can, or vacuum seal and freeze veggies in the summer and eat them all year long. We also enjoy fishing, and have friends who hunt, so we have access to free meat sometimes. Told ya were frugal!

A couple things to note, I use meat sparingly in dishes and bulk things up with veggies to save money. Also, the price of beef, even ground beef, has sky-rocketed recently. Ground turkey is super inexpensive at Aldi, so that’s my new go-to meat on-the-cheap. It’s healthier, too!

Main courses for our dinners this week will be:

Monday: Beans & Rice
Tuesday: Alfredo Pasta with Chicken & Veggies
Wednesday: Homemade Crockpot Veggie Stew
Thursday: Grilled Chicken Salad (salad greens & veggies topped with grilled chicken we cook in bulk once weekly)
Friday: Turkey Tacos (simple tacos using ground turkey instead of beef)
Saturday: “Thai” Ramen Noodles with Peas & Mushrooms
Sunday: Tater Tot Casserole




Our breakfast options this week, based on our shopping list, are:
Cereal, Greek yogurt, toast, eggs, omelets, French toast, fruit.
Lunch options this week will be mainly left overs, because the dishes I’m preparing make TONS of food!

Here’s my shopping list, and the prices I paid. I shop at Aldi and ONLY at Aldi!

Dried beans- $1.29
Rice- $1.19
Chicken broth- $.89
Pasta- $.89
Alfredo sauce- $.99
Frozen veggies- $.89
Chicken breast- $1.89/lb
Veggie stock- $1.19
Canned tomatoes- $.58
Canned corn- $.58
Canned green beans- $.58
Canned carrots- $.58
Canned kidney beans- $.58
Canned mixed veggies- $.58
Lettuce- $1.19
Shredded cheese- $2.89
Eggs- $1.49
(2) Ground turkey- $1.49/lb
Tortillas- $1.29
Salsa- $1.49
Ramen noodles (6)- $1.49/12 pack
Frozen peas- $.89
Fresh mushrooms- $.49
Tater tots- $1.89
Cream of chicken soup- $.79
Frozen veggies- $.89
Bread $.89
(4) Greek yogurt $.85
(2) Milk $3.09
Waffles $1.49
Cereal $1.69
Apples 3 lbs – $2.99

=TOTAL $46.37

I hope this post helps you with your meal planning this week, and helps you make your money-saving goals!
~Kelli

Don’t forget to check out Week 1 & Week 2 in my budget meal planning series!

Photo Credit: Mary LaFrance, publicdomainpictures.net


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Best-Ever Beans & Rice

Beans-and-rice-recipe
Beans-and-rice-recipe
Best cheap meal ever: Beans & Rice!

This is one of my all time favorite meals! It’s dirt-cheap, healthy and it makes a gigantic pot that you can eat all week or freeze for another meal (freezer meals, yay!!!!)

Best-Ever Beans & Rice
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Southern Food
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
This meal makes a ton & sticks to your ribs! It's also dirt-cheap and SUPER healthy!
Ingredients
  • Dried Beans (any kind)
  • 1 Carton Chicken or Veggie Broth
  • 1 Diced Onion
  • Spices: Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Paprika, Pepper, Salt, and anything else you like.
  • Rice
Instructions
  1. Rinse & sort beans.
  2. Add to large pot.
  3. Cover with broth.
  4. Add onion and spices.
  5. Bring to a boil; let boil for 10 minutes.
  6. Reduce heat and simmer on medium low for 90 minutes or until beans are tender and ready to eat.
  7. Cook rice according to package directions.
  8. Serve beans over rice and enjoy!

 

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Cheap Alfredo Pasta with Chicken & Veggies

Poverty Pasta - Feeding a Crowd on the Cheap
Poverty Pasta - Feeding a Crowd on the Cheap
Poverty Pasta – Feeding a Crowd on the Cheap

Ok, so this isn’t exactly made-from-scratch…BUT, this is a quick, easy and cheap meal that is great for busy nights. You can even make it ahead and freeze it. Gotta love those freezer meals! And it’s fairly healthy, too, made with grilled chicken and a big dose of veggies! This is definitely a go-to meal in our family. Everyone likes it, even the kids!

Cheap Alfredo Pasta with Chicken & Veggies
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Freezer Meal
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
This is a quick, easy and cheap meal that is great for busy nights and it feeds a crowd for very little money. You can even make it ahead and freeze it. Gotta love those freezer meals! And it's fairly healthy, too, made with grilled chicken and a big dose of veggies!
Ingredients
  • 1 Box Penne Pasta
  • Grilled Chicken (we grill a bunch on the weekends & use it all week)
  • 1 Jar Alfredo Sauce
  • 1 Steamer Bag Veggies (broccoli or mixed veggies)
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to directions on box.
  2. Cook veggies according to directions on bag.
  3. Add both to a 9x13 baking dish.
  4. Add 1 cup diced grilled chicken.
  5. Pour alfredo sauce, plus ½ cup water, over other ingredients, and mix.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees until warmed through and bubbly.
  7. Top with cheese if desired.

 

 

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Week 2: How I Fed My Family For $48.90 This Week!

#frugal #groceries #recipes

If you like my frugal meal plan series, you’ll LOVE my Ebook! 1 Month of Dirt Cheap Dinners brings you an entire month of easy, frugal & delicious recipes, along with meal plans and shopping lists! Best part, it’s only $1.99!
1-Month-of-Dirt-Cheap-Dinners

#frugal #groceries #recipes
Frugal weekly meal plan, with recipes and shopping list!

Welcome to WEEK 2 in my money-saving meals series! Be sure to check out the rest of the series, too! WEEK 1 HereWEEK 3 Here

The details:
We live on a budget to help bring us closer to achieving our dream of being completely debt free! 🙂
We feed our entire family on a budget of less than $250 per MONTH! Our average shopping trip is around $60 per week. We shop one time per week ONLY, either on Saturdays or Sundays.
This is less than what most people spend in a week!

This week I fed our family for $48.90!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now, we will have to run and buy milk at some point. AND…the reason I was able to spend such a small amount was because I am still using a few left over items from last week’s shopping list.
If you didn’t see last week’s list and meal plan, you can view it HERE.

This is based on a family of 4. This includes 7 dinners and 7 breakfasts for us all, plus lunches all week for 1-2 adults (since the entire family isn’t always home during the day).

These calculations assume that you do already have some basics stocked in your pantry, like seasonings, oil, butter, etc. Also, it doesn’t figure in the things I buy in bulk and stockpile, like canned veggies, because I only buy those 1-2 times per year when I can get them on sale (and combine with coupons) for about 20 cents per can. We also can, vaccum-seal and freeze tons of our own garden veggies in the summer and eat them all year long. I’m giving you main dish ideas, but I usually also add a veggie for a side dish, which is “free” for me because they come from our garden or stockpile. And then there’s the bonus that the hubby likes to fish, and we usually have fish in the freezer when his outings are successful. Told ya were frugal! 🙂

To simplify dinner planning, I’m going by this guideline:

-Meatless Monday…eliminating meat one day a week saves money!
-Tortilla Tuesday…because everything tastes better in a tortilla.
-Web Wednesday…every Wednesday, a new recipe from the web that I’ve been wanting to try.
-Throwback Thursday…some of our favorite old-school recipes from our favorite little old ladies.
-Fancy Friday…I try to make something a little special on Friday nights, as a way to ring in the weekend, since we usually stay in.
-Sandwich Saturday…Saturdays are the perfect day for sandwiches, and maybe some soup with it!
-Slow Cooker Sunday…hey, Sunday is the “day of rest”… And it doesn’t get more restful than letting your crockpot do all the work for you!

~~Our breakfast options this week, based on our shopping list, are:
Cereal, Greek yogurt (a few left from last week), toast, eggs, omelets, protein bars & meal replacement shakes (a few left from last week)
~~Lunch options this week will be mainly left overs, because the dishes I’m making actually make quite a bit.

**Here’s my shopping list, and the prices I paid. I shop at Aldi.

Cabbage .59
Mushrooms 1.49
Red pepper .79
Onions .69
Green onions 1.00
Lemons 1.89
Oranges 2.99
Celery .69
Grapes 2.98
Potatoes 1.49
Frozen Chicken breast (bag) 6.49
Frozen mixed veg (peas & carrots) 1.09
Frozen broccoli 1.09
Frozen salmon 2.99
Egg noodles 1.29
Pane Italian bread 3.79
Sour cream 1.29
Butter 2.19
2 cans biscuits .99×2
Pickle spears 1.49
Green olives 1.19
Canned chili WITH beans 1.29
Refried beans .79
1 can chicken 1.79
Minced garlic in a jar 1.99
Aldi version of Oreos 1.69
Cereal 1.87

TOTAL = $48.90




—Main courses for our dinners this week will be:
**Click on the links for the recipes!

*Meatless Monday: Low Carb Veggie Bowl
*Tortilla Tuesday: Chicken & Bean Enchiladas
*Web Wednesday: Easy Chicken Fried Rice
*Throwback Thursday: Tuna Noodle Casserole
*Fancy Friday: Citrus Glazed Salmon
*Sandwich Saturday: Chicken Salad Sandwiches
*Slow Cooker Sunday: Baked Potato Bar

A bonus this week…Included in the money I spent, I’m also going to do something fun and special Saturday morning. I’m going to make my favorite gooey Vanilla-Orange Monkey Bread and have a Bloody Mary Bar (IDEAS HERE) for Dr. B and myself before we go do something fun for the day. I think that sounds like the perfect way to start the day…and his vacation (or should I say, “Stay-cation”). He’ll be off work all week to work on my Honey-D0 List! Yay!

I hope this post helps you with your meal planning this week, and helps you make your money-saving goals!
~Kelli 🙂

Check out WEEK 1 HERE & WEEK 3 HERE

This post contains affiliate links.


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Week 1: How I Feed My Whole Family For About $60 A Week

Frugal meal plan budget recipe

If you like my frugal meal plan series, you’ll LOVE my Ebook! 1 Month of Dirt Cheap Dinners brings you an entire month of easy, frugal & delicious recipes, along with meal plans and shopping lists! Best part, it’s only $1.99!
1-Month-of-Dirt-Cheap-Dinners

Frugal meal plan budget recipe
We live on a budget to help bring us closer to achieving our dream of being completely debt free! 🙂

We feed our entire family on a budget of about $200 per MONTH! This is less than what most people spend in a week! Our average shopping trip is around $60 per week. We only shop once a week, either on Saturdays or Sundays.

This week I fed our family for $67.80. It’s normally less than that, but I had quite a bit of stuff on the list this week.

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