Wednesday, March 17, 2010

THAT Shopping Plan and THAT Binder...

Ok, I have photo's on my phone, but here's the run-down lest I find myself lynched.  You know, I've seen some areas here in Mississippi...wouldn't surprise me if maybe some of these mountain folk don't still do that sort of thing and turn a blind eye.  I am a yankee, you one would notice way out here in the hinterlands!

Most of my print-offs came from all those great preparedness LDS sites I shared.  A treasury of information on storing foods and using what you store.  The whole binder plan and thinking came from Prepared LDS Family blog, as did most of my bunny trail links.

The Menu Plan:
Here are our 47 meal variations, main dish only...I play with sides and desserts alot, so that's totally free range,

  1. Sticky Chicken
  2. Poor Man's Chicken Parmesan
  3. Fried Chicken
  4. Pot Pie...Chicken or Beef
  5. Stew
  6. Roast
  7. Taco Soup
  8. Taco Casserole
  9. Wet Burritos
  10. Chicken & Broccoli Pasta
  11. Stroganoff...Beef or Chicken
  12. Mock Steaks & Gravy
  13. Beefy Vegetable Soup
  14. Chili
  15. Pork Loin
  16. Chicken Santa Fe
  17. Meatloaf
  18. Tater Tot Casserole
  19. Ham & Bean Soup
  20. Chicken & Gravy
  21. Baked or Smoked Chicken
  22. Lasagna
  23. Rigatoni
  24. Hamburgers & Mac-n-Cheese
  25. Spaghetti & Meatballs
  26. Quiche
  27. Ham & Veggie Scalloped Potatoes
  28. Ham...could be turkey ham, could be the real deal
  29. Chops
  30. Beefy Nacho Casserole
  31. Sloppy Joe...could be sandwiches, could be casserole form
  32. Sausages & Potatoes
  33. BBQ Sausage
  34. Homemade Pizza
  35. Sweet & Sour Meatballs...on rice or pasta
  36. Sweet & Sour Chicken...or could be pork from that loin
  37. Chili Chicken Casserole
  38. Chicken Vera Cruz
  39. Tuna Casseerole
  40. Chicken Bruschetta...or plain chicken & stuffing, no pizzazz
  41. Spicy Sausage & Rice
  42. plain ol' fish sticks
  43. Sausage & Potato casserole
  44. Sticky Ribs
Ok...there's only 45 listed here, but on my laminated menu, the stroganoff is split as is the pot pie.  Yes, yes yes...I will work to get recipes put on the kitchen blog for those not already there, and I will get back here and link things like a good check back often!!!

The Binder:
I did my own version of what I found on several LDS sites.  I haven't really played with the set-up much from when I first put things in, but there's a reason for that.  I realized that I'm not shopping like those LDS Pantry Queens are ;o)  Not that that's a bad thing, mind you, but my goal was shop every 6 months and stock the main needs for longer...not necessarily weekly or monthly, with ads and coupons and what not.  I will still grab things as I find good sales and all.  I have all those coupon sites I'm still wandering through, plus the Kroger sales as they pop up...but for actual grab-n-go weekly usage, that isn't my plan for the binder.  You should have seen the actually shopping trips with that binder in tow on the cart.  I was stopped more than a dozen times with questions about if i was shopping for a business, a day care or what.  I gave a nutshell explanation of the large family, limited income stock up and be prepared thing.  You can tell by the person asking, as well as how it's asked if they want to know the real truth, or just want you to agree with the idea they've already formed.  But, I was on a mission, so it didn't matter if they thought I was wearing tinfoil under my headcovering and waiting on the mother ship to pick me up :o)

I suppose, looking at those great LDS binder ladies, I don't have a good flow in my binder.  Things are just tabbed where they are.  As I said, I'm not really a binder type of person.  I should work them in far more to my daily routine here as I have seen the benefits of organization and all, but I just don't roll that way.  I have lumps, folks.  There.  I said it out loud.  I don't roll any better than the square wheel. you know what's IN my binder now.  And Donna...thank you thank you thank you!!!!  I found the index card sheets at Staples and I love them.  I have a well grouped batch of recipe cards in my binder now. bump on my wheel rubbed down a bit ;o)

What I did:
Just basic nuts & bolts, kitchen 101 stuff.  I sorted through my many boxes of recipes cards, my million and one cookbooks, online recipes and kitchen sharings from some of my go-to blogs for good eats, etc.  I gathered our favorites, our common meals, our stand-bys for canning and large group feeding, an overall year-supply planning list...those sorts of things.  We then made out the list.  It was going to be just 30 meals, but we ended up adding a few things here and there and got a month and half instead.  All the better for keeping the rotation a bit more fun.

From that menu listing, we wrote out every ingredient needed for every single meal.  That master list of ingredients was the base for the shopping trip.  We wrote it out, then went to the pantry with the inventory sheets and made a list of what we had on hand already, as well as hitting the freezers and listing their stock.  I took the inventory list shopping with lists what I have on hand and how many more I needed to complete my menu plan.  Those lists are now laminated and taped up in the kitchen doors...we will mark off every pound of hamburger, every whole chicken, every jar of salsa and can of mushrooms we use until I need to buy more.  Nothing, not even a loaf of bread, will be made without ingredients ticked off the master inventory.

We are not set in stone with this, even with the shopping plan based on this menu.  A spicy chicken dish can be easily altered and played with, fine-tuned, as it were.  And I am not settled on exactly how we will execute the menu yet, either.  I have never been a 'chicken on Monday, beef on Thursday, beans on Friday..." sort of planner.  We know, right now, there are ingredients for every meal on that listed menu, and that we can easily have each meal 4 times, for a 6 month plan.  Our plan right now is to simply pick 7 every week, and tick off as we go, knowing each meal can have 4 check marks before it's 'gone' from the rotation.

Plus you have the whole garden and fresh eating season.  Even if the garden here is a no-show again this year, I have farm markets and Amish gardens here to shop from.  I still plan to stock my pantry with home-canned goodies, and move to a lot of salads and fresh and raw items as summer moves in and takes over.  However, worse comes to worse, there is a 6 month plan in place to go to.  Honestly, this is the first time in a long long time my pantry has seen this much store-bought food....and I don't much care for it, even if it is food and well-stocked.  I miss a pantry of MY canning jars.  All these Great Value white labels, colorful Save-Alot cans, and so forth just don't look as pretty.

The Total:
It was varied, and I lost a couple of receipts already, but all in all, we were right in the area of $1300. 
I could have done way better had I shopped more at Save-Alot/Aldi's, but still, when you break it down, I know for a fact there are 6 months of foods in the pantry, and that averages out to around $217 a month.  For a family of 11.  That is totally amazing as far as I'm concerned.  Most families spend that on 2 people...not even 4 or 5.  I did it for 11, with 2 adults, and 17, 14, 12, 10, 8, 7, 5, 3.
Now, I could have butchered...and still may...those onery chickens out there if they stop egg laying on me again.  I am buying eggs, so that is not necessarily figured in the total above.  I will still shop and see what sales I find and stock more as time goes on.  I am looking at this as a great base, a foundation for that year-stocked pantry I want to get back to.  Those 10-for-$10 sales, any great coupon buys, BOGO sales and such...I will still keep on those, but if there was no income persay above the tightest of bills here, we are well-fed and taken care of for a while.  That alone is a good thing.

I had bucket of grains and rice here already, so I did not need to purchase more.  I stocked things like 16 large boxes of instant powdered milk, flax seed in large tubs from Sam's Club, 12 jars of wheat germ.  I stocked over 2 dozen packages of ground turkey, 4 large pork loins to use as roast as well as chops, my bulk yeast.  We have sugars (white, brown and powdered), we have flour (unbleached bread flour and whole wheat...King Arthur and Bob's Red Mill on sale at Kroger....yes, lots and lots of 5# bags) restocked in my 6 gallon buckets.  I bought out our Wal-Mart's shelves of salsa, diced tomatoes and tomato juice...literally.  I did buy spaghetti and elbow pasta, but we will make every other need ourselves.  I have 16 large double-pack boxes of raisins for granola...a special buy at Sam's Club.

We will, like I said, adjust the menu and tweak as we go.  I don't always follow a recipe anyway and add or subtract things while putting a dish together.  And we will shop along as we go, but it's totally for added stock-up things and the like, it is not a "must get food" sort of thing.  There is a great deal of freedom in having a stocked pantry.  There is a lot of comfort in it.

I like comfort :o)  That's another bump off my square wheel.

So....did I cover everything folks were asking about?  Any questions?


Anonymous said...

Good Afternoon! I went to Krogers today for the shredded cheese deal. Sergentos shredded cheese 1.67 when you buy 8 participating items. I bought all 8 cheeses and froze them. Thats the best price I've seen here in Northern Kentucky. Just wanted to let you know. Thanks Amber

Blessedmom said...

*Seen raising her hand from the back of the class*

*Also, definately festive for St. Patty's as I'm green with envy over your awesome plan and filled pantry*

What do you guys do about milk, I think that's my only issue right now is how to store enough milk for at least a couple of weeks.

Dana said...


This is my goal!! I would love to have 6 months of pantry needs in place, and my goal is to have it taken care of and ready to go and "test" out come winter this year!!!

Thanks for taking the time to post it all out!!!


LizBeth said...

Freeze milk? In smaller containers or ice trays so it will thaw faster. Works pretty well when there is a good sale. Liz

Darlene said...

Ye olde fashioned powdered milk. If you live near an LDS Family Storage Center (used to be called "the storehouse"), they have a good price on powdered milk.

The trick for getting it in a drinkable state is to use some warm water and a blender to mix it up. Then put it in the FRIDGE OVERNIGHT. And DO NOT let ANYONE see you doing it! Next step, is to have two containers from "regular" milk, one of them with regular milk in it. Split 1/2 of one gallon of milk into one container. Now pour 1/2 gallon of reconstituted milk into each container. Shake them up AND THEN DON'T SAY ANYTHING! Most people will NOT know the difference. As time goes on, you can increase the level of powdered milk until it's ALL powdered milk. Just keep putting it into a "regular" milk jug and no one will be the wiser. Eventually, you'll get busted doing this, but by then you can tell them all to be quiet because they've been drinking it that way for xxx.(however long it's been.)

Note: regular store-bought INSTANT powdered milk has larger granules and so it takes more of it to make milk. The NON-INSTANT milk that is sold by the Storehouse and other emergency suppliers has a very fine powder instead of individual granules. So when comparing prices, look at how many gallons the container makes and divide it by the price to make sure you're comparing apples to apples.

Second note: Many recipes from emergency preparedness sites use recipes that call for the NON-INSTANT milk. You can either learn the conversion rate OR whirl your "Instant" milk in a blender or food processor until it's a fine powder and use the recipe measurement.


Jeremiah 6:16
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

Blog Archive