Summer is a busy time of year for playing for my boys. We also have lots of different activities that we don’t have during the school year. I wanted to find a way to save time, money, and energy used on our electric bill this summer. I found a blog called, “Who Needs a Cape” with a summer menu plan to make 30 freezer meals to thaw and use in the slow cooker each day. There are 15 different recipes that have to be doubled to make 30 meals. I printed the recipes and shopping plan, and I made my grocery list after checking my pantry at home. I am cooking for six people each day, and two of them are teenage boys. So I knew that some of the recipes might need to be made a little bit larger than the recipe called for. I kept track of my time spent doing the various parts of the process, and I will share that with you. I also kept track of how much money I spent on groceries. I will keep track of my food prep and additional food expenses for our perishables. I have a lot of pictures to share with you. So be prepared for a lot of scrolling.
Most of you reading this know that I have a large family. We have six children, and we still have four boys at home, so I am used to cooking in quantities. I am also used to large grocery store trips. Typically, I spent 30 minutes a week making a menu and a grocery shopping list. I shop at Aldi’s, Sam’s Club, Wal-mart, and the bread outlet. For this shopping trip, I did not go to the bread outlet, but I did shop at the other three places and the local butcher shop. I spent a little longer planning the 30 meals than normal. I probably spent closer to an hour because I printed off the grocery list and recipes and set up a binder. I also went through my pantry and pulled items I had on hand. But I spent about the same amount of time shopping. It took me 3.5 hours for this shopping trip. Most weeks, it takes 3 hours. I added a stop at the butcher shop for this menu. It made the most sense for what I needed, and I am very familiar with Sam’s Club meat prices, so I knew my best prices. I did get a few meat items at Aldi, too.
The printed grocery list and my hand-written list. I tend to remember what is on my list if I write it down. I write it down by aisle in Aldi.
Receipt from the butcher shop.
Shopping cart at Aldi. A few items are not a part of the freezer challenge, but they are a part of my menu plan.
Receipt from Aldi’s. (Close to my typical amount spent in a week.)
Cart at Sam’s Club. (The rolls and mints are not a part of the freezer plan, but they were on the list.)
Sam’s Club Receipt
Cart at Wal-Mart. (More than I typically buy at Wal-Mart in a week.)
Receipt from Wal-Mart
The trunk of my van.
The pantry items I pulled out for this menu.
My kitchen island is clean and ready to use.
My sink is shiny.
I will post more pictures of the day I put the freezer bags together. It was quite the production, and I took a bunch of pictures of the whole process. As I cook the meals, I will take pictures and review the taste for you.