Weekly Menu/Weekly Budget: An Example

February 8, 2010 § 4 Comments

Remember how I told you I found it really helpful to plan the entire week’s menu in advance? Because I love doing it and take some mild degree of pride in my ability to turn out royal feasts on under $50 per week for the family of four voracious eaters, I want to show you an example of this week’s planning. My menus are fairly loose – not all the things might get prepared, or some extra things might. That’s why I usually only plan five meals a week, with leftovers or some quick snacks for the remaining two nights.

You have to bear in mind, though, that the following shopping list doesn’t include any milk, yogurt, cheddar cheese, butter, meat, chicken, eggs, potatoes, garlic, canned tomatoes, beans, some frozen vegetables, or onions, since I either raise/make most of those things, or buy them in bulk from other sources. But if your budget is, let’s say, even a $100/week, you can easily spend the extra $50 on all of the things that I don’t include into my $50.

Anyhow, here’s the actual menu I’ve constructed for this week:

Main Courses

1) Chicken roast a la Kate Hundt with mashed potatoes, gravy, and frozen corn (all of the ingredients for this are already in my freezer/pantry). Make stock with the bones afterwards.

2) Chili

3) Pelmeni (Russian boiled dumplings stuffed with beef and onions, a family favorite) + roasted delicata or acorn squash

4) Steak with compound butter and herb-cheese oven fries + green salad with feta, avocados, and blue cheese

5) Squash-spinach soup with the chicken stock base (I have some squash that needs to be used up in a hurry and some leftover spinach from something else)

(We might even have a romantic Valentine’s day fondue adventure, and I have all I need for that).


(Not for every night)

1) Caramel pots de creme (I LOVE pots de creme – easy, fancy, and very rich) + whipped cream

2) Molten lava cakes + whipped cream

3) Baked fudge +whipped cream

I might or might not whip up some other desserts as I go with the ingredients on hand, but we don’t usually have them every day, and, until recently, we hardly ever had them at all.

Shopping List

Conventional Worstershire sauce $2 (these are not exact prices, I am guessing here, but overall I come pretty close)

Organic flour $10 (I bake 100% of my bread)

Organic cream cheese (for kid’s snacks) $4 (this might be high – but I just don’t remember the price)

Sugar (white, conventional – not the hippie kind – it’s just SO much more tasty and affordable, as much as I use it) $3. See? I am not too crunchy.

Yeast $4 (this too might be high, but I think it’s 3-something)

Blue cheese $5 (I can’t recall if it’s organic – I know it’s imported – I buy whole little chunks at the food co-op, never crumbles – the dried-out crumbles and packaged grated cheese are just so much more inferior, in general. No, I want my blue cheese fresh, fragrant, creamy and crumbled by moi).

Organic avocados (2) $2

Local organic sunflower oil (the only kind I buy – in bulk, which is so, so affordable) $10

Organic heavy cream $4

Chirardelli bitter-sweet chocolate, 4 oz $3.50 (maybe?)

Total: $47.50

Note how the above list doesn’t include any fruit for the kids as it usually does – that’s because I still have a few oranges and apples in my fridge, and need to finish those first before I buy any more. Also note how there’s no processed snacks on this list. I guess I am pretty crunchy, after all. It also doesn’t include any alcohol, which is more of a Jacob thing, and the wine we tend to buy in cases, separately.

You also don’t see any seeming breakfast items on this list – this is because breakfast at our house almost never includes cold cereal (and if it does, it would be exclusively granola), but consists of toast/egg/bacon (sometimes) for Jacob and the kids, and open-faced bread-and-cheese sandwiches with coffee for me. I still have my breakfasts the Old Country way.

I also don’t generally buy juice, because I find it inefficient (we usually have some of our own frozen apple cider, though not this year). My kids drink almost exclusively milk, and that’s what I prefer it. You need animal fat for their little brains to grow.

And there you have it! Rich food for lean times.

§ 4 Responses to Weekly Menu/Weekly Budget: An Example

  • This is a good one! We try to plan our meals a week in advance. Of course, by making extra of everything, our freezer fills quickly and planning takes a back seat to eating what we have on hand. There is nothing better than a very well stocked pantry. Believe me, after living in a small space in a densely populated “big” city, we’ve learned to store things efficiently.

    Steve & Jason

  • Sofya says:

    We don’ t usually manage to eat through everything, but pretty close. I guess the rest just goes into compost. We do have a habit of overstocking a bit…

  • A says:

    OMG. My breakfast is “old world” too Sweet black tea and an open-face sandwich of bread, cheese and some sort of meat (beef salami if I can find it, or something approximating it if I can’t).

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