Friday, April 19, 2013

Fun Fridays-Saving Money in the Kitchen with breakfast and lunch

Welcome back!  So glad you are sticking with us as we find more ways to Save Money in the Kitchen!
Last week we talked about one of my favorite subjects- Snacks and Desserts!  This week we are on to two of my least favorite subjects as far as the kitchen is concerned- breakfast and lunch.  Sad, but true!  I am not a huge morning person so breakfast just does not excite me and as far as lunches go, well, there have been times that lunchtime alone could have driven me to send my kids to public school.  Seriously!  The thought of putting money in their hands and having someone else feed them has tempted me many a time.  I mean, I already cook dinner for them every night- what else do they want? ;)  Why, lunch, of course.
But let's start with breakfast since it is fairly easy.  And let's look at the villain of the day- CEREAL!
I know, that is harsh, but hear me out.  It is processed.  It is sugar laden.  It is dye saturated. AND IT IS EXPENSIVE!  Very expensive.  And we are s-l-o-w-l-y weeding it out of our lives.  If there is one area in our diet that I have to struggle with my family over, this would be the area!  They love cereal.  And I used to be the queen of cereal.  Stack coupons with sales and you can sometimes get it at a fairly cheap price.  But, we have become a twice a week, cereal eating gang, and not very interesting cereals at that!  My goal- shhhhhhhhhh, don't tell, is no boxed cereal!  Most boxes of cereal cost $3-4.  If you only go through one box a week that is $12-15 a month just on cereal.  And we KNOW that no family goes through just one box a week.  Honestly, before I was convicted about the health reasons not to consume so much, I simply just could NOT justify spending so much money on cereal.  It bugged me!  Still does. 
So what does one eat instead?  Now, THAT'S a good question.  For those of you who know me or have followed the blog for a while, the first answer should come as no surprise-
MUFFINS!  Yes, we have a thing for muffins.  They are cheap and easy to make.  Always double the batch when you make them and freeze the extras.  Pretty soon you have a wonderful assortment to pull out of the freezer at least once a week.  My tip- don't wait til morning to make them.  Yes, it smells good in the morning, but most of us just don't have time for that.  Make them the night before and move on!  Or spend one Saturday a month making several batches to freeze.
PANCAKES AND WAFFLES!  We do this at least once a week as well, often on Saturday when dad makes them for us!  The key here to to make more than you can eat and freeze the extras!  Then you can pull out frozen ones and toast them in a minute.  Saves you money from buying in the freezer section of the grocery store and are much better for you.
EGGS!  Eggs are inexpensive compared to many breakfasts foods.  If you are blessed to have your own chickens, well, just don't tell me as I will covet them!  Scrambled eggs, french toast and breakfast casseroles are easy to whip up.  We even do a breakfast casserole overnight in the crock pot that we love!  Great for when company comes too!
BISCUITS AND FRUIT! Another quick thing to make.  I keep a homemade biscuit mix in the fridge that all I have to do is add milk to.  No need for expensive canned ones.  Mine may not be as pretty, but they are healthier and cheaper! 
OATMEAL.  Notice the lack of an exclamation.  That is purposeful.  Y'all, I do not like oatmeal.  Gag!  But luckily my kids and hubby do.  It is healthy for you and cheap.
OK, you get the idea.  Again, the key to saving money is to stay away from convenience food.  You pay for it.  Don't fall into that trap.  I know, you don't have a lot of time in the morning.  I understand, I am busy sleeping, remember.  Make things ahead of time and become best friends with your freezer.  Your budget will thank you.
Now, the dreaded lunches.  This was once such a problem at our house that I came up with a weekly lunch schedule and did not deviate from it.  Monday- Pizza, Tuesday- sandwiches and so forth.  I was tired of cooking, tired of trying to decide what to fix and even more tired of four kids having four different opinions on what we should have.  While they are older now and slightly less opinionated and therefore we do not follow the strict schedule, we do tend to repeat the same basic things. 
PIZZA!  We do make or have homemade pizzas once a week for lunch.  I have a simple recipe that makes a large enough pizza for the kids for lunch AND  makes one or two personal size ones to freeze.  I layer them between wax paper and then freeze in a baggie.  Then, when I do not want to take the 10 minutes to make the dough, I just pull out four of the personal sized ones and pop them in the oven.  I keep these on hand all. of. the. time!  Who would have thought that homemade pizzas would be a time saver but here in our house they are lifesavers!
SOUP! We do this about once a week as well.  Choose your favorite, simple recipe, make ahead and freeze.  Better for you than the canned stuff.  Since I cook a whole chicken almost weekly I will often just make chicken and rice or chicken and noodle soup the day after deboning a chicken.  We use brown rice that takes longer to cook so I make it in batches and then freeze 1 cup servings in baggies ready to just dump in the broth.

SANDWICHES! That same chicken also makes good sandwiches.  Processed meat is expensive, don't go there.  Even PB&J is cheaper.

MAC AND CHEESE!  What kid does not like mac and cheese?  Elbow noodles are a dime a dozen.  Just add a little milk and butter and a cheese of your choice and you are on your way.  Dye free!  Yes, it took my kids a little while to get over not having it from a box. But, yes, they did get over it.

LEFTOVERS! Sorry, but you know I had to go there.  I do not particularly love leftovers either but I refuse to let good food go to waste, so we do eat leftovers several times a week.  Usually there are several things to choose from and the kiddo who gets to the kitchen first when called gets first dibs.  I am fair like that.

Sure, it is easy to grab convenience food from the grocery store, but I am here to tell you, coupons or not, those foods are one of the fastest ways to run up your grocery bill.  Don't think so?  Look at your  last grocery receipt and add it up.  You will be surprised what convenience costs these days.  Staple items like flour and sugar can be bought in bulk.  Cooking from scratch and eating real foods, ones God made- not man, really will save you money!  And your health as well.  Bonus!

So, what are you fixing for breakfast and lunch at your house?

Hope to see 'ya back next week for more money saving tips!

Until then, blessings,

Linking up with Amy from Raising Arrows!

Welcome Home Wednesdays

Linking up with Caroline at The Modest Mom!


  1. Smoothies: one big container plain Greek yogurt (or Kefir), frozen berries or fruit of choice, a touch of honey, tsp of chia and blend. Makes enough for our whole family of 5 for breakfast or on-the-go something in your tummy. Nicole K.

    1. This is a great idea, Nicole! Thanks for sharing. I really need to get back into smoothies...we use to make them a lot! Where are you buying chia?

  2. Would you be willing to share your biscuit recipe? Great tips btw! We are trying very hard to always make extras to freeze so we can get rid of the expensive convenience foods.


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