Two Week Menu Challenge Conclusion

So, two weeks is over. Did we stray away from the challenge again, or did we stick to our guns until the finish line?

As I said last week, for simplicities sake, breakfast was either cereal, oats or eggs.

This week saw a LOT of leftovers, which was fantastic, because it considerably shortened both planning and cooking time for lunch.

Two Week Conclusion 1TUESDAY

As you remember last time, we ate out on Monday. There were enough leftovers for lunch on Tuesday.

Throughout the day, I cooked London Broil steak in taco seasoning in the slow cooker. For dinner, I served that on top of lettuce with some lime juice and olive oil as a dressing. Like a taco salad.

WEDNESDAY

We bought milk and bell peppers. It was $5.11. With $14.15 from last week, our total spent over the two weeks was $19.26. We succeeded at being under $20 by 74 cents. Winner.

Two Week Conclusion 2For lunch, we had sauteed peppers, onions and kielbasa.

For dinner, I made pesto with fresh basil, oil, almonds and Romano cheese. Mixed with spaghetti. Delicious, plus plenty of leftovers.

THURSDAY

For lunch, we had canned tuna.

For dinner, I made pan seared swai fish, vegetables and rice.

FRIDAY

Leftover pesto pasta was lunch.

Dinner was “pasta and peas.” For our pasta and peas, I browned ground beef and cooked with diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, oregano, onions, garlic and canned peas. I tossed in some cooked pasta at the end, but it was mostly like a meat and tomato stew.

SATURDAY

For lunch, we ate whatever leftovers were in the house.

As planned, we went out to a restaurant that we had gift cards for, so that was covered.

CONCLUSION

It was quite the challenge, but we succeeded. We stuck within the $20 budget for shopping, and went out to dinner once and lunch once. Our anniversary meal was covered by gift cards.

So, Rob, what were the benefits?

There’s a couple of big benefits. The first is time. Planning helps free up time. By spending only about 10 minutes two weeks ago, I spent practically zero time in planning for two weeks. Also, I never found myself pressed for time, because I never got carried away and forgot to start cooking or defrost something from the freezer.  Every day, glance at your menu and cook when the time is right. If something needs to be defrosted, by checking in with the menu, you can take it out at the right time.

Another benefit is that I also was able to utilize food that I might not have – food that was in the deep freeze or pantry anyway. Honestly, I have so much that we probably could have gone another week or two just based on pantry items alone. It gives you thought to use food that you already own and is just sitting there.

Of course there were changes along the way. Especially last week. We had plans to go out with friends one night. We found ourselves adventuring as a family and needed to stop for lunch. Life happened, and that’s fine. That’s wonderful in fact. But because the plan was so thought out before, the changes were small and didn’t faze us any.

flexibleI might do this challenge again from time to time, especially if I’m coming off a big grocery trip. And weekly menu planning is something that I’m going to try to do without fail, because it’s just easier than scrambling and trying to figure out something to do.

But Rob, how do you have so much food in your pantry anyway?

Check in later this week folks.

Until next time, heroes.

-Rob

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