menu planning

For the most part, I cook everything we eat from scratch. At the moment, the only prepared foods in my house are Boca burgers, a Kashi frozen meal, a frozen burrito, a few boxes of Zatarain's black beans & rice, Tofurky, a box of Kraft mac & cheese, and an assortment of condiments.

There are several reasons for this: GMO/processed foods freak me out, HFCS is the devil, real food tastes better than processed food, it's healthier, and cooking from scratch is usually less expensive.

Working fulltime, combined with a preference against dining out for the same reasons mentioned above means that I have to be extremely organized when it comes to menu planning and food preparation.

Here's how I do it:

We live in a fairly upscale area with grocery prices to match. To save money, I drive across town and buy my groceries at Price-Rite and the asian grocery and produce stores. The only things I can't get there are specialty items like tempeh, soy milk, TVP, Tofurky, and tahini, so once in a blue moon, I'll swing by Trader Joe's or Whole Foods.

I'm not too cool to pick my groceries off of pallets and bag my own, so my grocery budget for two weeks, including pantry stocking is about $60.

With a little planning and prep, I can cook dinner at home from scratch in about the same amount of time it would take me to order and pick up take-out. The cost savings is significant, and I know exactly what we're eating.

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