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!).
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:
- Butternut Squash Mac ‘N' Cheese
- 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
- One-Pot Chicken Burrito Bowls
- Food Nanny's Chicken Barbecue Pizza, Food Nanny's Pizza Dough recipe
- Biggest Loser's Tara's Turkey Mini-Meatloaf
- Spaghetti Carbonara with Peas
- Apple, Bacon, and Cheddar Grilled Cheese Sandwich
- Tomato, Bacon, and Spinach Quiche
- Florentine Vegetable Sauce with Penne (if I don't have heavy cream, I substitute with my almond milk)
- Asian Turkey Lettuce Cups
- Leftover Pizza (pizza dough, sauce, mozzarella cheese, and whatever veggies are leftover in your fridge)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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:
- Parmesan Roasted Carrots
- Roasted Butternut Squash w/ Dried Cranberries, Pecans, and Feta Cheese
- Moroccan Carrot Salad
- Grilled Sweet Potato Fingers with Curry Dip
- Side Salad (we buy one of those large, organic salad containers and have probably 4-5 side salads with dinners. To give you some ideas, our salad mainstays are lettuce/spinach mixture with avocado slices and balsamic vinegar + olive oil, or lettuce/spinach with shredded carrots/shredded cheese/chopped bell peppers/whatever other veggies we have + ranch dressing)
- Rosemary Potatoes
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!