Looking for a grocery list for two weeks? I'll share our two week meal plan, plus strategies for how to only grocery shop twice a month (no scurvy here!).

woman sitting at desk with cappuccino with text overlay "your 2 week grocery menu and list swipe file"More and more people seem to be joining the twice-a-month grocery shopping bandwagon.

We’ve been doing this for over a year now. Grocery shopping every other week is wonderful for our household: one less errand to run twice a month, we’re spending less money at the store (we've calculated the savings each month are between $100 and $160), and we are planning our meals out much better.

But I must admit that the first week of a new two-week grocery cycle is easier than the second. The first week you get the pick of the refrigerator and the pantry, which usually entails eating the most convenient foods: granola bars, chips, strawberries, ice-cream, lunch meat.

By the middle of the second week you’ve run out of these more convenient foods and have to start putting in some elbow grease and a dash of creativity to keep the food varied and to have convenient foods ready for the workweek.

Pssst: I've created a 2 week meal plan on a budget that pairs nicely with this concept. Free printable grocery list for you!

What's on the Two Week Menu?

2 Week Meal Plan on a Budget – The Recipes

Here are links to the Main Dish recipes:

  1. Butternut Squash Mac ‘N' Cheese
  2. Chicken Gyros: the sauce makes so much that I freeze half of it and then don't need to make it the next time I make this dish
  3. One-Pot Chicken Burrito Bowls
  4. Food Nanny's Chicken Barbecue PizzaFood Nanny's Pizza Dough recipe
  5. Biggest Loser's Tara's Turkey Mini-Meatloaf
  6. Spaghetti Carbonara with Peas
  7. Apple, Bacon, and Cheddar Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  8. Tomato, Bacon, and Spinach Quiche
  9. Florentine Vegetable Sauce with Penne (if I don't have heavy cream, I substitute with my almond milk)
  10. Asian Turkey Lettuce Cups
  11. Leftover Pizza (pizza dough, sauce, mozzarella cheese, and whatever veggies are leftover in your fridge)
  12. Julia's Favorite Roast Chicken (this is perfect for a Sunday dinner made by my husband, then I use the chicken for a quick Monday dinner − see next)
  13. Chicken Strips on a Salad (Use chicken gleaned from the roasted chicken, then add lettuce/spinach, shredded carrots/shredded cheese, chopped veggies, and ranch dressing)
  14. Swiss Fondue (Bonus: this could be paired with a date night at home! I omit the kirsch, dry sherry or brandy because I don't ever have any on hand)

Here are the Side Dish/Veggie Recipes to Pair with Recipes Above:

Based on our experience I thought I could offer some insight on how we stretch the food in our household to include a wholesome, nutritional, satiating diet for the full two weeks.

Tip #1: Save Sunday Afternoon for Cooking

My biggest tip is to cook on Sundays, which is something both my husband and I love to do.

There is something so warm and comforting about this to me — the smells, the warmth in the house, seeing the person you love working in the kitchen for the family — and it's a very inviting way to start off the coming week.

But aside from all of that goodness? By cooking for several hours on the Sunday of the second week of groceries, we are able to make plenty of food to keep us from prematurely stepping foot into a grocery store or convenience store.

Below are some of the foods I cook and prepare.

Tip #2: Strategically Keep Fruits and Veggies in your Diet that Second Week

Not all fruits or vegetables will last into that second week.

They just weren't meant for that.

But that in NO WAY means you won't be eating fruits and vegetables in Week 2 and 4 of the month. That would be super unhealthy!

Here's how we do that:

  • To Satisfy the Sweet Tooth: By week two the ice-cream we eat for dessert is gone (confession: we typically obliterate it in 4 nights). Instead, I take the ripe bananas I have frozen from previous weeks when I did not get around to eating them, the frozen berries I always stock up on, and I make Frozen Banana Bites , Smoothies, and Monster Pops (ooohhh my goodness my three-year-old son cannot get enough of my Monster Pops. He eats them once a day! I steam a carrot, then get a frozen banana and frozen watermelon chunks from the freezer. It all gets pureed, then put into these ADORABLE monster pop molds). My favorite smoothie includes bananas, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and about half a cup of almond milk. It comes out velvety and the color is amazing!
  • Cook with Squash: We love butternut squash, which happens to stay good for a long period of time. I make butternut squash risotto and butternut squash mac ‘n’ cheese. But one butternut squash is enough for several of these recipes, so I freeze what I don’t need in portions needed for each of our recipes. Then, when I want to cook something delicious on a chaotic week night, I just need to take the pre-roasted butternut squash out of the freezer and throw it in the pan. We also keep canned pumpkin puree in our home, and love to cook creamy pumpkin soup.
  • Make Pesto: We always keep fish in our freezer. It's easy to whip up a batch of pesto from our own basil in the garden (by garden I mean one pot of growing vegetation in our backyard). Pesto tastes amazing on white fish (tilapia); you can also use it in an array of other dishes (have you ever smeared some pesto onto grilled cheese sandwiches? Yummy.). It adds a nice punch of green on your plate! Unfortunately this one is not available all year round (unless you grow basil indoors, or freezer your pesto).
  • Rosemary Potatoes: We keep dried rosemary from Paul’s mother (thank you!) hanging in our kitchen. Paul pairs this with olive oil, salt, pepper, and quartered potatoes (red potatoes are best, but we even just cut up regular potatoes into small pieces if that’s what we’ve got).

Tip #3: Batch Cook Recipes that Can Make New Recipes

Back to the Sunday cooking…cook a batch of something (ideas below) on a Sunday that you can then use a base for the next 3-4 meals during your week.

  • Roast a Chicken: Another staple we keep in our freezer are whole chickens. Roasting a whole chicken brings delicious smells to your kitchen and home. This is the centerpiece to a beautiful Sunday meal, and since there are only two of us adults and one, picky, 3-year old, we can use the meat over several days for chicken enchiladas, chicken salads, etc.
  • Brownies: Ummm…I'm just throwing this in here (chocoholic). Somehow I always have brownie ingredients on hand. Tip — put a tsp. or so of cinnamon in your brownie batch. It elevates the entire experience!
  • Chili: My husband makes awesome chili. I love to eat it in a bowl with avocados (might sound weird, but is oh-so-good), sour cream, cheese, and Fritos. Then throughout the week we make Chili Baked Potatos, Chili nachos with fresh salsa (Paul is a pro!), and sometimes chili hot dogs.

How often do you shop for groceries? I’d love for you to share some of your favorite recipes below!

14 replies
  1. Sustainable PF
    Sustainable PF says:

    We shop weekly. I find some items just won’t keep 2 weeks, for example, sandwich meat. Some fruits/produce spoil before 2 weeks as well – especially when it has travelled 2000 miles to arrive at our grocer, to sit on a counter until we finally buy it. It is far from fresh.

    Staples are also required weekly – bread, milk etc.

    That being said we do like to stock up on things and freeze them. However, we find there are new deals each week at the grocer so we like to pick up things that have been priced down.

  2. Jana
    Jana says:

    I shop weekly because there are some things like milk, juice, fruit and vegetables that we go through too fast and have to replensih. I do stock up on items like pasta, rice, canned tomatoes and frozen veggies when there is a good sale.

    to keep costs down, I always shop with a list. I’m not too good with creating my own recipes but I rely heavily on certain websites and cookbooks for meal ideas.

  3. Money Beagle
    Money Beagle says:

    My wife goes once a week. I think we will be set on many items as we’ve been stocking up. We’ll need the perishables, lunch meat, milk, eggs, etc. but we have a lot of meat, pasta, sauces, soups, and other staples so hopefully our bills will be low for awhile.

  4. Crystal @ Industrial Special Risk Insurance
    Crystal @ Industrial Special Risk Insurance says:

    We shop for the basics once a month, but I go on supplemental fruit and milk runs about 4 times a month.

  5. Hunter
    Hunter says:

    Pesto! This takes me back to college and my early twenties.

    We have a MASSIVE fridge and our family of 5 cleans it out weekly, even faster for some things like juice and milk. I can see the merits of your great ideas but for now we need to stick to our just-in-time grocery system.

  6. Olivia
    Olivia says:

    We have two young males who plow through milk and a smallish fridge. So right now the once a week shopping is the way to go. Gratefully stores are nearby.

    Did you know you can freeze pesto? We had an amazing crop of basil this summer and have small jars tucked in all over. It should last us well into winter. We’ll baby the plants as long as we can into fall and use the fresh as long as we can, but it will be nice to have the stash during dreary days. Have you ever tried it on homemade pizza? Oh man.

  7. Neo
    Neo says:

    I am SO guilty of eating out way too much. However, I can also make a box of pasta last for a few weeks by eating a little each day. I guess that makes me a man of extremes… This is why I save first, so my saving is already done and my spending automatically stays in-check.

  8. Financial Independence
    Financial Independence says:

    We shop whenever we need too, our diet is fairly stable and similar. No ice cream at home although.
    The reason for it is many berries and fruits have very limited storage time, once you unpack them.
    The same with fish and meat, it is better when it is fresh, bread will go along.

    But it depends what you are aiming for. Every little helps.

    I collected and published information about our family budget over 4 years and groceries is only fraction of it.
    If you try to save on it, not going to be a lot.

  9. novel investor
    novel investor says:

    Been doing two weeks for a couple years now and wouldn’t switch. It took a while to figure out what lasts and how long.

    Usually stick to one big pasta meal every two weeks. Great for an extra meal or two, I can’t do small portion Italian food.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Best Money Tips: The Cheap Eats Edition | IndieNation says:

    […] Helping to Make One Grocery Trip Last Two Weeks — To make one grocery trip last two weeks, cook with squash and make pesto. [Frugal Confessions] […]

  2. […] two chances for impulse buys instead of four. It also allows us to get creative with our meals, specifically during the second week when the more convenient foods have been eaten. At the moment I shop at Kroger, and do not hop from store-to-store to chase deals. If we go out to […]

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