My latest menu plan sharing what our family of 6 has been eating recently. Use it to get new ideas and inspiration for your own easy, budget-friendly meals!
Grocery prices are rising and my children’s appetites seem to be increasing, especially when my 13-year-old son is in a growth spurt! As a result, I’ve bumped my grocery budget up to $375 and may end up even taking it up to $400 before long.
The reality is that I could probably keep our budget at $350 if I worked hard enough to do it. But in this season of our life, I’m okay with increasing our budget and using my time for things other than trying to get the absolute best price on groceries or figure out the absolute cheapest recipes to make.
On another note, you’ll see a number of zucchini recipes on this menu. Our zucchini plants are still going strong and I’ve been determined to find ways to use up all the zucchini that we have!
Thankfully, I’ve collected quite a few tasty zucchini recipes over the years and I’ve also found a few new ones to try this year as well. So we haven’t gotten too tired of zucchini yet. Although we may be close!
NEW TO MY MENU PLANS?
It might be helpful to know a few things before reading further.
- The size and ages of our family.
Our family of six consists of two adults, a 13 year-old boy, a 9 ½ year-old girl, a 7 ½ year-old girl and a 5 year-old boy. All of our kids have hearty appetites and tend to be big eaters.
- Having a stockpile saves me money.
If an item that we use goes on sale, especially if it’s a particularly good sale, I try to stock up whenever possible. Sometimes the saving seems small- it may only be $0.25 an item. But doing that with multiple things does add up rather quickly! Then when I plan my menus, I first look at what I have in my cupboards, fridge and freezer and try to plan as many meals around that as possible.
- I use my freezer a lot.
I freeze so many foods to extend their shelf life- everything from cottage cheese to zucchini to onions! Another thing I like to do is cook up extra meat, rice and even things like soup and then freeze them to save time later. Both of these things help save me time and money too.
- I cook almost totally from scratch.
That means when I bake a cake, I make it from scratch. I rarely use pre-packaged sauces. I make my own cream soups, homemade Bisquick and pie crusts. Making our own food is typically less expensive and healthier too.
- We rarely snack.
By eating hearty food like granola at breakfast we don’t get hungry until lunchtime. And our lunches are big enough that we usually are fine until dinner time. When we do need a snack, I try to keep it mostly healthy by offering fruit, nuts or maybe No Bake Energy Bites. We don’t always do it perfectly though, and sometimes end up having chips or cookies instead.
- We eat simple, filling breakfasts.
Typically we have either Homemade Granola or Baked Oatmeal, and occasionally some bought cereal and fruit too. I know that might seem awfully boring to some of you, but the simplicity of it works well for us. I also have a homemade iced coffee, homemade frappe or some other fun beverage like Warm Vanilla Custard every afternoon.
A little side note: I occasionally get asked why I only do a two-week menu plan instead of four weeks. To be honest, it’s mainly for my own convenience.
Keeping track of everything we eat gets to be a little tedious. So only doing it for two weeks helps me not get bogged down with it.
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- Pulled Pork Sandwiches; Fresh Veggies with Hummus; Grapes, Apples and Bananas; Sourdough Brownies; Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars
– We had two families join us for lunch.
- Tuna Quesadillas; Homemade Popcorn; 3 Minute Frozen Fruit Smoothie
- Meat and Cheese Sandwiches; Hummus with Carrots and Peppers; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Fresh Raspberries (from our bushes); Grapes
- Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Burrito Bowls (topped with lettuce, shredded cheese, tortilla chips and salad dressing); Leftover Brownies and Bars
- Zucchini Fritters; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Grapes; Apples
– I can’t find a recipe quite like mine for the Zucchini Fritters, but if you Google you’ll find lots of recipes that are somewhat similar that you’ll probably enjoy as much as we do these.
- Big Lettuce Salad with lots of add-ins like chicken, black beans, hard-boiled eggs etc. with Mexican Dressing and homemade Ranch dressing; Rhubarb Pudding Cake
– I used rhubarb that we had grown and that I had frozen for the cake.
- Meat and Cheese Sandwiches; Hummus with Carrots and Peppers; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Apples (from our tree); Clementines
- Leftover Instant Pot Chicken Burrito Bowls; Leftover Rhubarb Pudding Cake
- Refried Bean and Cheese Quesadillas (used my homemade refried beans); Organic Yogurt; Fresh Pears (from our tree); Clementines
- Easy Ground Beef and Rice Skillet; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; No-Bake Eclair Cake
– For the Eclair cake, I made homemade from scratch vanilla pudding and used that instead of the instant pudding. I also used my Homemade Cool Whip in place of the whipped topping. Neither thing took that much longer but it was so much more delicious and healthier too.
- Meat and Cheese Sandwiches; Hummus with Carrots and Peppers; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Bananas; Clementines
- Various Leftovers; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Leftover No-Bake Eclair Cake
- Meat and Cheese Sandwiches; Hummus with Carrots and Peppers; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Fresh Apples (from our tree); Canned Peaches
- One Pan Sour Cream Chicken Enchilada Skillet; Peas; Leftover No-Bake Eclair Cake
- Breakfast Wraps (eggs, bacon, caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms and sour cream in a tortilla); Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Sourdough Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Tuna Toasts; 3 Minute Frozen Fruit Smoothie; Homemade Popcorn
– For the tuna toasts we just butter homemade sourdough bread, put it on a baking sheet, sprinkle the bread with shredded cheese and bake it until it’s a bit toasted and the cheese is slightly browned. Then we make homemade tuna salad and eat it on top of the toasts. So good!
- Meat and Cheese Sandwiches; Hummus with Carrots and Peppers; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Bananas; Frozen Cherries
- One Pan Spanish Chicken and Rice Skillet; Green Beans (for the kids); Blackened Broccoli (for my husband and me); Best Ever Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Super Easy Pepperoni Pizza Quesadillas; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Canned Peaches; Bananas
- Cheesy Beef and Zucchini Casserole; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Leftover Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting
– I reduced the shredded cheeses in the casserole to about 1 ¾ c. total.
- Meat and Cheese Sandwiches; Hummus with Carrots and Peppers; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Fresh Pears (from our tree); Frozen Blueberries
- Creamy Lemony Chicken and Potato Soup; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Chocolate Zucchini Bread
- Meat and Cheese Sandwiches; Hummus with Carrots and Peppers; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Apples; Grapes
- Various Leftovers; Green Beans; Leftover Chocolate Zucchini Bread
- 5 Minute Refried Bean Dip with Tortilla Chips; Hummus with Carrots and Peppers; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Grapes; Canned Peaches
- Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Soup; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Trifles
- Meat and Cheese Sandwiches; Hummus with Carrots and Peppers; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Frozen Cherries; Clementines
- Zucchini Crust Pizza– topped with pepperoni and of course cheese and pasta sauce; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Store Bought Cookies
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