A friend of mine received a membership to Once a Month Mom, a wonderful website where they give you recipes, shopping lists, printable labels, and directions for your food for the month. I'm always looking for new freezer recipes, so I took a look at the website, and last night, at the shopping lists and recipes she had printed out. I was hooked. This site does it all for you. They have multiple options for meals, gluten free, paleo, diet, traditional, whole foods, and even do a baby food menu. All the recipes are free, the membership gets you the extras. The shopping list that you can alter based on how many people you are cooking for, the recipe cards so you can make it easy on cooking day. For $8 a month or $72 a year, (and you pay via paypal for immediate satisfaction and access to all the good stuff) they do all the preparation for you. That's about an hour of your time (I'm using the average minimum wage here) and you would spend MUCH more time gathering recipes, preparing the amounts you need to buy, etc. This is well worth it.
I'm cooking this week for the next month. Lucky for me, we hit Costco last month and are well stocked on meats. So I think I have to buy maybe one pound of sausage for this month's worth of meals. Ok, I can handle that. I'm now scouring through my pantry and cabinets to determine what I actually need to buy. I love knowing that I have things, it cuts the price way down. Oh, did I mention the Google Docs Spreadsheet they give you for shopping has places you can include the cost, so you get an accurate idea of how much you are spending on food? Yeah, its pretty awesome.
Abigail and I will go shopping on Tuesday, and then I will cook a few meals as we go through the rest of the week. Then my freezer will be full again, and we'll be set for another month. Stay tuned for all the recipes I'm making and how much this endeavor actually cost me.