I'm sure everyone has found themselves in a rut over dinner ideas from time to time. Whether you're a single person, have a small family, a large family, or empty nesters or something else entirely: Everyone has to eat at some point.
In our house, I am the meal person. Prior to my usual Monday shopping routine, I try to ask around for meal ideas for the upcoming week.
Sometimes I get good ideas. Sometimes I get blank stares.
As uninspired as it seems, I tend to do spaghetti and meatballs with texas toast garlic bread at least once a week.
We have four people with four distinct food preferences. It's hard to please everyone. Spaghetti is one meal I don't fret over. Everyone likes it.
Oddly, while Buddy likes spaghetti, he doesn't care for lasagna. I don't know why - lasagna is essentially spaghetti in a varied format. Oh sure, he'll do baked pasta, but only if there is no cheese on top that has browned and become crunchy.
Typically, everyone likes my paprika chicken. That will be served this week as well.
But, I think this week, I will also serve some more laid back meals. Monday evening was Manwich and fries. Sissy ate a plate of plain pepperoni and fries. At some point, I'm going to do grilled sandwiches and fries (like ham and cheese).
This weekend, the Evil Twin will pitch in to do his famous chili. I can't wait for that.
I think I'll throw in loaded baked potatoes and salad one night. (I can split the sour cream among the: paprika chicken, potatoes and chili). I really try hard to utilize the things I have on hand, and the things that need to be fixed before they go bad, so I'm not throwing out food. I'm not a waster.
In fact, I was analyzing our budget recently. Back when Buddy was born, my dad was still alive. He loved to visit the Sam's Club every two weeks and he would supply us with diapers, wipes and formula (a real blessing!). We didn't ask him to do this and we offered to pay him every time, but he refused payment.
This was 1998. I had stopped working at a paying job. Our weekly grocery expenses were roughly $40 a week. Keep in mind, I shopped at regular grocery stores (not discount places like the WM) and bought all my paper goods, cleaning supplies, etc. from places like Kroger.
These days, I have a larger family, one (STILL) in diapers and I shop at the WM (aka "discount" place). I spend about $100 to $130 a week. That is for lunches and dinners for a seven day period. I think that's pretty decent - especially considering that includes paper towel, toilet paper, dish detergent, laundry detergent, toothpaste, shaving supplies, cleaning supplies, bird seed for the pet bird, etc. (as needed - I don't buy all those things every week) and food.
Plus, I haven't even calculated in the 1998 to 2005 weekly carton or more of cigarettes that the Evil Twin smoked back then. His last cig? January 15 2005. That would up our weekly spending average by about $35 - meaning at least $85 a week 10 years ago and now: $110 - $130 doesn't seem very out of line.
I'm thrifty. I like to use coupons, but only for the things I know I would buy anyway. Like: Cascade dish detergent. Cascade Complete was rated number 1 on cost and performance by Consumer Reports. It's great. It's worth a little more - to me. I'll use coupons for that. But, I won't use a coupon just for the sake of saving .50 cents if the generic equivalent is less anyway (like for a can of green beans, for example).
We all have to do things that work for our own family. Might not work for everyone, but I just do the best I can with limited resources.