Planning Dinner for Two

Special thanks to Brantley for suggesting I share my meal planning.

ML and I are trying to eat healthier and it’s easy to say that it’s way too expensive on our limited budget. In fact I’ll admit that I was a bit doubtful as we’re trying to eat a minimum of 3 well rounded meals per day . Here’s how we planned it.

Step 1: Pull out the cookbooks

We’ve got a few cookbooks that are our go to. This week ML looked through 6 Ingredients or Less and Looneyspoons. We’ve yet to make a bad recipe even when we play with ingredients, which is often as we will adjust ingredients to suit our pantry and tastes.

Step 2: Select the Recipes

We’re pressed for time this week so it’s important that the recipes are easy to make and don’t take more than an hour from conception to completion.

Our rule of thumb is that we select 4-5 recipes. We often don’t make all but having options always makes us feel good.

Our selection for this week is coconut chicken, chili, garlic chicken, and southwest casserole.

Step 3: Ingredient list

Now that we know what we’re making we go through and make a note of all the ingredients we need that aren’t currently in the house.

Step 4: Assign pricing

This is just our best guess based on experience. Here’s what our grocery list looked like:


As you can see that’s $85 we anticipated. Small problem: the budget for this week is $65. Does it matter greatly if we blow the budget? No, because we could tighten up in other areas since we’re only halfway through January but it’s the principle of the thing. Maintaining the budget is our goal and the grocery store is our playing field.

Step 5: Review the List

If we look like we’ll be over budget I put marks next to anything I don’t think we’d need. This time it was the sweet peppers as we have some and the salsa as I had ingredients to make my own.

Step 6: Shop

I shop with my list and a calculator. As things go in my cart I cross the item off my list and make a note of the price if it’s different. Before hitting checkout I calculate the total so I don’t have any surprises.

Here’s how I did:

Ground Chicken $10/ 4 lbs ( was cheaper than the beef)

Crackers $3.88

Cheese $4.99

24 pieces of chicken 21.15

TP $5.64

Milk: $8.99

8 tins veg: $10


How do you plan your meals for the week?



6 thoughts on “Planning Dinner for Two

  1. Honestly? I don’t look through a cookbook. My kids are ‘fussy’ eaters – at home, anyway. When they go to other people’s houses, I am always surprised by the things they’ll eat!
    But as for everything else you mentioned? It’s right on the mark! I am glad there is someone else out there like me – budget, list, cross off what I really don’t need etc. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s always nice to see that we’re not alone in our processes! We started using cookbooks again because I got fussy, I didn’t want to eat the same thing week after week and we had gotten ourselves in a bit of a rut.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Salsa – Saving Without Scrimping

  3. Nice one, right under $65!
    My process is checking what’s in the fridge, planning meals to use that up and picking other meals we feel like, then add ingredients to the shopping list (I try to keep ingredients as simple and homemade as possible). At the store I have a fairly good idea of prices and can change plans or substitute things fairly easily. Our budget does suffer when my partner shops though – he just buys what’s on the list regardless of price. Haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m now becoming more like you, I was definitely your partner all the way last year at this time! I bake and have done so for quite some time so I’m totally goo swapping out ingredients but cooking seemed more difficult. Because of that I used to get ML to do all the grocery shopping. Slowly as I’ve begun to do more cooking I’ve gotten better at understanding which ingredients can be substituted without losing the taste.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: January Week 3 or the week I overspent – Saving Without Scrimping

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