Meal Planning: Making the Most of What I Have

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I’ve been doing a “Pantry Challenge” for the last month. It has proved to be a success, I think, with my grocery spending at $455 and our eating out at $115, we were several hundred dollars under what we normally spend.

(For the curious, we typically spend about $600 a month on groceries with another $200 for dining — for a family of 8, 5 of them male.)

And while I am itching to get back to regular shopping, I also have a freezer still bursting with treasure. I decided that unless the meat deals are screaming my name, we’ll eat from the freezer for a little while longer, and continue buying dairy, produce, and some dry goods.

I’m seriously amazed at how much we still have. I must have a big freezer….

Anywho, here’s the meal deal for the week:


(all served with fresh fruit or applesauce)

Oatmeal (either baked, instant, or not mushy)
Muffins and Smoothies
Rice and Toppings
Donut Run (’cause that’s how FishPapa rolls)


(all served with fresh fruit or veggies)

Sunbutter Sandwiches
DIY Pasta Salad
Snacky Lunch
Calzones or Soup
Sauerkraut and Brats, Potatoes


(all served with salad or steamed vegetables and rolls or bread)

Pasta with Crockpot Red Sauce
Roast Turkey (possibly grilled if it’s hot), Potatoes
Turkey Pot Pie
Beans and Rice
Grilled Fish, Quinoa Pilaf
Grilled Hamburgers on Homemade Buns
Eat Out (’cause that’s how I roll)

What’s YOUR meal deal this week?

Don’t forget to visit I’m an Organizing Junkie for more meal planning inspiration.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe you can get great meals on the table -- and still keep that pretty smile on your face.

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  1. The gas was turned off in my apartment because of a leak. So this week all I could do was order out OR make food raw.

    Since I’m vegan, that’s exactly what I did. I took some broc, bell pepper, kidney beans, fake chicken, olive oil, salt and pepper, curry powder, and reduced balsamic vinegar and made amazing salads for myself. And it’s all nice and RAW! Yum.

  2. We’re having a busy week with VBS every night but our menu is coming along. 🙂

    Our breakfasts and lunches are simple, I have a chart on the refrigerator that lists the standard choices with a place to write in leftovers or special things they might like.

  3. I make a menu, go shopping once a week, and substitute or be creative if I don’t have exactly what I need the rest of the week. I don’t want grocery shopping to take over my life. Some great meals have come from substituting or experimenting!

  4. The salad above at the top of the post looks absolutely Ah-mazing! Which one is it? What all is in it? Greens, garbonza beans, feta cheese maybe, tomatoes & looks like maybe some carrots??
    We are trying to slim down as well and our salads just seem to be getting boring.

  5. Danielle B says

    My stockpile has dwindled down to nearly nothing as we spent most of last month eating solely from the pantry and freezer. I was purposely trying to use up all of the super processed foods we used to buy.
    My goal this week/month is developing a new outlook on “stockpiling”. I’m also learning how to make almost everything from scratch, one recipe at a time. I realized last week that the flour I had stocked up on from Kroger during the holiday season last year had already gone bad. It was actually a bit of a relief though, because I kept wondering, “Why does everything I make taste horrible???” I’m still a newbie in the kitchen, but I’m not that bad! 😉 I threw out all that flour and am using the Great Value brand I had purchased from Wal-Mart. Since my recipes are turning out much better now, I feel confident that I really can learn how to make EVERYTHING from scratch.
    I”m going to be working on getting our membership back at Costco this month, purchasing 5 gallon food storage buckets and liners, and beginning to work on making larger purchases of wheat, flour, rice, beans, sugar and oil.
    I still love my coupons for household items and such, but shopping for food has a whole new outlook now.

  6. Under breakfast you list rice and toppings. What exactly do you mean? I’m interested in specifics. I can’t think of rice with toppings for breakfast just lunch or dinner. Thanks so much!

    • Jessica Fisher says

      @Jill, I serve brown rice like I would oatmeal — with cream, brown sugar, butter, and/or dried fruit. Some of my kids prefer it to oatmeal.

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