I decided to write out some things I did this month to slim the budget. I reviewed my shopping lists, my meal plans, and recipes.
My first week of menu planning was originally from www.Hillbillyhousewife.com. I used her suggested menu. I had many of her ingredients on hand. I added a few of my own. I will go into detail on the menu in just a second. This was a good start for me. This lady is has a phenomenal meal plan on her site. She gives you the menu, recipes, shopping lists, and daily jobs to keep the kitchen flowing. It was an eye opener. This first section is breakfast.
Here are meals that I cooked this month. I wanted to add that I make a meal plan with three meals a day and add snacks in the notes section. However, I rarely cook what is scheduled for the day. I may not be in the mood for pancakes for breakfast so I have muffins and a smoothie instead. I just cross off what I ate and save the pancakes for another day. But having a menu plan ensures I have the necessary ingredients and I don’t have to wonder what I’m going to make. I have choices.
>Oatmeal – We don’t eat this very often. I keep it on hand for quick a fix or baking.
>Bran Muffins – These are called 30 Day muffins. I had these as a child and decided to look up the recipe. I use www.cooks.com to find recipes. This recipe will make about 5 dozen muffins. You can keep it in the fridge for thirty days and make them as you go. I need my bowl on a regular basis so I half the recipe. I cook all the muffins, which makes about 2 dozen in my Pampered Chef stones. They are a little bigger. I have switched out a few ingredients as well. Here is my version of the recipe…
THIRTY-DAY BRAN MUFFIN MIX
2 c. 100% bran cereal
Combine cereals in a large bowl. Add 2 cups boiling water to dry cereal. Let stand for several minutes. Stir in buttermilk. Cream shortening and sugar together in bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add bran mixture to shortening mixture. Mix well. Sift flour, soda, and salt together.
Stir into bran mixture until mixed. Cover. Refrigerate until needed. Will keep up to 30 days.
Bake muffins in 400 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until muffins test done. (Add nuts and blueberries for a special treat. Allow mixture to set for at least 1 day before baking any muffins.
THIS RECIPE MAKES ABOUT 5 DOZEN!!
>Smoothies - I make banana smoothies with the muffins. This is probably the most common breakfast for us. The smoothies consist of frozen bananas. I freeze a bunch of bananas. When I am ready to make smoothies, I put the banana in some cold water long enough to make the skin soggy. If you leave it too long the banana thaws. Too short, and the peel is a pain to get off. A frozen banana makes a smoothie. A thawed banana makes “banana milk” as the kids call it. Either way it’s good. I put one banana, milk (probably about 1-2 cups), a few dashes of vanilla, and a teaspoon of sugar. This will make about two 8 oz smoothies. *Note-portion control is a big issue. I use small tumblers that are approximately 8 oz for most drinks. I serve water in the larger glasses.* An 8 oz smoothie and 1-2 muffins will serve an adult. For the little one, I use a tiny, kids coffee mug. It might be a 4 oz. Sometimes I pour one glass and mix a little extra milk to make it go farther. It just depends on how many I am serving.
>Bacon and eggs – I will make this once a week or so. I only cook 2 – 3 half slices of bacon each. We used to cook the whole pound of bacon and split it four ways. I know; that can’t be good for us. Anyway, one or two eggs, a few slices of bacon, and wheat toast are a great start.
>Pancakes – Now I copied this recipe from the Hill Billy Housewife site, but changed it again. I never thought my family would go for wheat pancakes but they all liked them...more than me but I am adjusting.
Get out a medium sized bowl. Measure in the milk, egg, oil and sugar. Beat well with a fork or wire whisk. Add the salt, baking powder, flour and cinnamon. Beat again, mixing until the batter is smooth. Cook on a hot, well oiled griddle or skillet. I use about 1/4 cup of batter per pancake. I heat up my iron skillet over medium-high heat, and melt a spoonful of butter. I drop in about 1/4 cup of batter. Brown it well, and lay it in a plate. Repeat until all of the batter is used up. The recipe as it is written will serve 4 people with average appetites.
>French Toast – We have French toast on occasion. There is a recipe for over baked French toast though I haven’t made it. We have tried to cut down our starches to a healthy amount. So we don’t make this often. But it’s an option.
>Juice – I usually keep juice in the fridge. I make it from concentrate. The only thing I do is add FOUR cans of water instead of three. I water it down a little and no one notices. There can be a lot of sugar in fruit juices so I feel better watering it down a little. I only serve juice for breakfast (unless we are having breakfast for lunch or dinner.) I serve 4-8 ounces.
>Egg Surprise – Sometimes I scramble eggs and throw in whatever left over veggies are in the fridge and toss with a little cheese. Sort of like an omelet but scrambled.
This is our basic breakfast menu. Muffins and smoothies are common for us. Since I can spend an hour making the muffins, once a week and have both breakfast and snacks on hand. The smoothies only take a few minutes as well. This works well for rushed mornings since it can be eaten in the car.
As far as shopping goes, there really aren't many ingredients used for the recipes above. Here is what I have come up with to keep on hand...
Canister of Oatmeal
Bananas (in he freezer)
Baking powder (I use this a lot for many different recipes. I had no idea!!)
The ingredients for the muffins have to be considered. I don't use the bran cereals for anything. So I keep them on hand for the muffins. The ingredients go pretty far with this recipe. I have made about 6 dozen muffins off the same boxes of cereal. The only thing I need to remember is the buttermilk. I buy about 1 qt every two to three weeks. I hope this is helpful in planning your breakfasts.