November/December Once a Month Freezer Cooking & Food Budgeting

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November/December Once a Month Freezer Cooking Plans

It’s been a little while since I’ve shared our monthly food budget and our meal plans. I’ve just had trouble coming up with the best way to share them so they are the most benefit for you and not just “Hey, look what I did!”. But here is our meals plans for November/December (because of how our co-op works I always make plans mid-month to mid-month), you can use them too!

Where I Shopped

Since we just got moved into our new little farmstead I’ve wanted to plan our meals better since I don’t have the opportunity to get to the grocery store like I did before. Now we only have one grocery store (there might be 2, I haven’t explored much yet!) and a Walmart. Both which mostly carry items that we don’t normally purchase. I’m still able to order with our co-op, Azure Standard and we’ve decided it would be beneficial to buy a membership to Costco, which is a few hours drive away. I ordered what I could from the co-op and picked up the rest at Costco.

Getting Started

I started out  by writing out recipes, gathering them all in one place, and writing out a grocery shopping list. Then I moved into making my baking day plans for what foods could be made ahead and stuck in the freezer.


The Meals for the Month

Here are the meals I planned for us for this month. Not all recipes are included here since some come from cookbooks I used but those books are linked next to the recipe name. I suggest you check them out!


Strawberry Banana Smoothies
Peach Banana Smoothies
Strawberry Filled Crepes
Blueberry Cream Cheese Muffin Toppers (recipe coming)
Breakfast Apples (From Fix It and Forget It 5 Ingredient Favorites)
Waffles – Dairy Free (From Cooking for Isaiah)
Pumpkin Muffins
Extra Fresh Fruits


*Note: These are hubby’s lunches for work. We will eat leftovers at home.

Bagel & Egg Sandwiches (Similar to these Breakfast Sandwiches but with a bagel)
Pizza Crescents (Pizza ingredients in a crescent!)
Ham & Swiss Sandwiches
Roast Beef & Cheddar Sandwiches
Breakfast Burritos (Made like these Beef N Bean Burritos but with eggs and sausage)


*Note: Some of these use cream of chicken soup, I simply sub 1 cup cream + 1 cup chicken broth)

Swedish Meatballs (I also make Chicken Broth Gravy for these and put over rice pasta)
Creamy Rice and Chicken Casserole
Garlic Chicken Soup
Apple Cheddar Soup (recipe coming)
Cheesy Stuffed Tomatoes (Simply fresh tomatoes stuffed with cottage cheese & mozzarella, then baked)
Broccoli Cheese Soup
Slow Cooker Beef & Onions
Bean & Sausage Soup (From Fix It and Forget It 5 Ingredient Favorites, subbing beef sausage for ham)
Ground Beef & Bean Soup (From Fix It and Forget It 5 Ingredient Favorites)
Simple Chicken (From Fix It and Forget It 5 Ingredient Favorites)
Steak (I just cook this in the oven and we top with butter/onions!)
Loaded Baked Potatoes (We top these with Canned Beans, cheese, Caramelized Onions, sour cream, and butter)
Easy Creamy Chicken (From Fix It and Forget It 5 Ingredient Favorites)


Fruit Snacks
Homemade Gummies (Gelatin recipe + 1 extra Tablespoon of gelatin)
Rice Crispies & Bananas
Oatmeal Cookies (recipe coming)
String Cheese
Extra Fruit (to eat and dry)

Freezer Cooking

Printable Grocery List (Printable)

*This list is just the grocery list for the suppers (and we plan leftover days so it’s not 30 days of meals, you will have to add a bit extra for breakfasts and lunches. Also note that this list does not include items I consider staples such as oats, flour, garlic powder, ect. When I’m making my grocery list though and I come to these items I make sure to check and see if we have them first before I leave them off the list. 

Baking Day To Do List (Printable)

So there you have it. That’s our complete meals list for a month!

I kept all our grocery receipts and our total to make all these meals came right to $300  (We do not have an added cost for the meat on a monthly basis since we buy that in bulk a few times a year.) That price included a very large amount of produce I stocked up on this month (potatoes, tomatoes, winter squash, apples, pears, ect) purchased in 20lb boxes or more, those will last us many months. Also included was extra milk for drinking, snacks, ect that is not necessarily included on our meal plan list. That means it cost us about $4 per meal for the three of us. (That is all organics, and it was really not quite that much since we stocked up so much but if you figure in the price of meat…)

And since most of the meals are ready to go and in the freezer, all I need to do is place them in the crockpot (These are almost all crockpot meals, I have a Programmable Crockpot which I love!), there is hardly any work involved besides the baking day.

I also went ahead and wrote everything out for the days we planned to eat it. This made things very easy since our baby cannot always eat everything we are eating since he is allergic to dairy. I even wrote down which snacks we could have each day so I won’t be scrambling to find something after nap time.

Weekly Meal Plans Printable Page

Here’s a little bonus as well. We created this meal planning chart that is the one that I use to write all our meals on. It has plenty of space for each day to list all the meals and the snacks for the day. You might also want to print a blank calendar so you can have all the months meals done and see them at a glance. If this printable doesn’t work for you we have several different setups and styles in the Meal Planning Made Simple ebook.

How do you plan your monthly meals? Do you do it weekly? By month? Or play it by ear?

*Please let me know if you find this post useful and if you would like to see it in future months!


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  1. Your menu looks super yummy!

    I was wondering if y’all put some sort of protein with your breakfasts, or if you prefer high-carb? I know that’s a strange question… I’m just a little OCD about getting protein in the morning lol.

    1. I usually have milk in some form (in my smoothies or oatmeal) and for my dairy free son we do some kind of meat since neither of us can do eggs it’s pretty hard! If we don’t do that then I make sure the mid-morning snack is some kind of protein.

  2. I love it! Thank you so much! I followed one of your other posts and actually made (ahead) lasagna, one of which we got to enjoy last night. I haven’t quite made it to preparing a lot of meals at one time and then freezing, but I have already prepared several meats (which I vacuum sealed according to dinner size) and have LOVED that! Just so much easier when coming in after a long day! Thank you SOOOOO much! I love your ideas and you are SUPER encouraging!

  3. I am interested in planning meals by month
    And saving money on food purchases
    I am looking also for easy prep meals, I have Lupus Cerebritis, having chemo and some days it’s hard for me to think of things to prepare for, especially Dinner. In my thought all day just what to prepare for Dinner, that we be both healthy and appetizing.

  4. I see this is really done for your family — but when I read your shopping list, I was surprised. If I were to make one — for example 16 lbs. of Chicken breasts would do us 16 meals (smile) and there would be leftovers for lunches. 5 lbs. of ground beef would do us at least 5 meals – with lunches, or closer to 8 without. We have leftover nights – often to cut down on cooking every single day!
    Around here, unless they were on super sale, I wouldn’t buy that much at a time. The stores are closer here, but most of the food has been frozen to the store and thawed — freezing it again without cooking it first, just makes it almost impossible to eat. So during super sales I do buy “more” than usual but then I cook the meals up (think homemade chicken soup, or meatballs) and freeze them.
    For us, I buy at least 5 dozen eggs a month (breakfasts mostly) — and about 5 bags of fresh vegetables each week for about $11.00/week at the local Chinese grocery. I am allergic to things too (and cannot have any fruit or corn products) … and so my list would contrast with yours. I am not sure mine would be all organic either. Most — or all of my cooking and baking is from scratch and I make my own breads.
    I never make a meal plan without checking what’s on sale that month. Then I work around that ~~ our trip to the warehouse store is always around $125 and we only go once a month. If we need a grocery run, and we can do that on the way home from work, we usually spend less than $20. for what we are missing. I stock up on things on sales with coupons for the “pantry”. All in all I would say we eat more vegetables and usually spend about $200 a month. But our plan would look very different from yours. THANKS for sharing it, it was interesting to read and know how someone else does it!

    1. I really wish I could make a meal plan around a sale! Like I said, we only shop once a month because of our co-op, although they do have sales on occasion I’m not guaranteed to get those items in so it’s a little hard. Plus we have to add our food allergies into the mix…

      It is fun to read how other people meal plan though, it’s all up to your needs and what works for your family 🙂

  5. I plan by the week. Hubby’s schedule is seasonally heavy with the university’s special events. Nights that he’s working, daughters are working, or have activities, I plan differently according to tastes/special diets or even just serve leftovers for the other 6 of us.
    I do tentatively plan most of the month in advance after finding recipes and seeing what ingredients I have. Last month, I planned three weeks in advance, because we were out of money–and we made it with what we already had by sticking to my plans!
    I do have to be very flexible because hubby’s and daughters’, and grandsons’ schedules can change on any given day. When I can, I bake and cook extras to freeze as I’m preparing a meal. However, that’s often hard for me to do when cooking for 9 or 10 each night. I would love to have a commercial stove and lots more counter space–just a dream. But I did find a huge, nice refrigerator at the thrift store for only $60 in September. It’s wonderful having the extra freezer and space to put gallons of milk and fresh veggies, etc.

  6. I live in northern Alabama, and I shop every two weeks (we are paid every two weeks). I shop based on sale items. I menu plan every Sunday night based on the items I have on hand and in my pantry/freezer. I try to spend less than $8-$10 a day to feed our family of four. We have grits, oatmeal, toast, eggs, pancakes, biscuits, or cereal for breakfasts, and leftovers for lunch.
    Our menu this week is:
    Monday: coffee crusted pork lion with root vegetables
    (Pork loin was on sale for $1.39/lb; potatoes from my parents’ garden; carrots and celery were on sale for $0.49)
    Tuesday: Reuben casserole
    (corned beef was on manager’s markdown for $2.00 a pack; sour cream, thousand island dressing, kraut, and rye bread were on sale)
    Wednesday: Beef quesadillas, chips and guacamole
    (ground beef was on sale for $2.39 lb; avacodos and chips were on sale for $1.00)
    Thursday: Spaghetti with Italian Sausage
    (spaghetti sauce and pasta were on markdown for $0.49 each at Kroger; sausage was on markdown for $5.49 for 2#)
    Friday: Breaded Tilapia sandwiches
    (Tilapia was on sale for $1.99/lb)
    Saturday: Hot dogs cooked over our fire pit
    (Premium hot dogs were on sale for $1.25 pack)
    Sunday: Chicken and rice casserole
    (Chicken leg quarters were $0.59/lb and rice was free with coupons)

    We are not in an area where lots of organic and all natural items can be found, and there are only a few produce co-ops that are extremely high priced in our location.

    Thanks for all you do Merissa! I love your blog!

  7. I used to do monthly meal plans! It was such a lifesaver. Now I just wing it and it’s driving me nuts. I need to start planning again. It’s just been harder as the kids get older to plan meals when my husband is gone a lot at night for work. I hate cooking for myself and two picky eaters!

  8. I am in the same boat as Camille.. The kids have activities 4 nights a week, (not all of the kids each night, but I am always going somewhere at different times) They can also be very picky. One kids loves something, the other hates it etc.. . It is frustrating to plan out a meal, and then no one wants to eat it.. Since they are older and all know how to cook, when they start being picky I tell them that it is a fend for yourself night.. 🙂

  9. Love these tips, please keep them coming! Just discovered your Facebook page and this site… recently got laid off from work and am looking to live very frugally and plan meals, but didn’t know how to get started. Thanks so much!

  10. I take my hat off to you for being so organized and able to plan a month of meals at one time. Since our family is grown and moved away, I only have the two of us to cook for so meals and meal time are much more flexible. I usually go through the sales ads every week and if something pops out as a very good price (like chicken breast, ground beef etc.) I will buy it and sock it away in the freezer. We try to buy in bulk (a bushel of squash from a local farmer etc.) and I freeze or can what we produce in our garden – even though its still only the two of us. Old habits are hard to break. At this stage of our life, I don’t have to be so frugal and do without something that appeals, but then again I am not extravagant. I make all of our baked goods and much of our bread (which we try to limit in our diets). We do buy almond milk as we are both not good digesting milk. I try to make as much of our meal items as I can and after cooking like this for 47 years, commercially made products just don’t taste as good and if I buy them, I often end up giving them to the chickens! Planning your meals in advance, buying in bulk, making your meals and baking from scratch, preserving from your garden, having chickens and raising some of your meat (even from just a health standpoint) are all good ways to build your nest egg for a rainy day. I commend all the young homemakers who are starting out in this direction!

  11. Thank you for sharing this. I was doing your monthly meal planning but was sad when you weren’t doing it any more. I tryed to keep it going but got to frustrated.

  12. This looks like a really good plan with some great meals. I have lived in small towns and have had to make a list for 2 or 3 weeks before. It can be a challenge. I you did a great job!

  13. Great idea especially with your move. I am barely able to plan a week ahead but we are spoiled with 3 grocery stores plus some little markets within 5-10 minutes. Need to get in the habit to plan more menus and work with what we do have in pantry more.

  14. I found that if I don’t meal plan I can go to the store and do a little better than planning. I am on food stamps, it’s just two of us and go once a month. when I go I look for mark downs and base my meals around that. I go to walmart and they have cold rotisser chicken marked down to $2.50 so I buy a couple of them, there are 4 meals, 3 lbs. ground beef, divide into 1/2 lbs., there is 6 meals, family size pork chops 3 meals, 2 lb bag talipa fish makes around 8 to 10 meals. A I do this on $220.00 month. It also includes breakfast and lunhes that I have not mentioned. But I shop once, pay $220 cook 2-3 days a month and still do not need a plan. But I still love to read these kind I blogs and learned how to do what I do. Thank you for all the good work, keep it up.

  15. Oh yes. Please keep these posts coming. And I love your substitution for cream of chicken soup. Going to have to remember that one.

  16. We live about 70 miles from a city and sometimes don’t get to shop for 3-6 mos. When we do,we hit Costco,but watch what we buy there,our bill usually
    runs around $300. Walmart another $300. Otherwise it’s our small town
    grocery which unless it’s on sale,I don’t buy,prices are way high.
    Usually spend about $200 a mo there. This feeds 3 adults and sometimes extra
    company. We have 2 freezers,only grow a couple Veggies as our soil is terrible.
    We hunt and hopefully have wild game in the freezer. I don’t buy packaged
    foods,and do little baking nowdays. The adults here only want 2 meals a day,
    so that helps keep the food bill down. We don’t snack much,and only one is
    a little overweight.I use to plan at least weekly menus,but now seem to spend
    Most mornings trying to think up “What to fix for dinner” Need to get back
    into Menus again’ Thanks for the great ideas you post on here Merissa and all readers’

  17. That’s an impressive list and price! The info is definitely great, but the “Look what I did!” is quite inspiring on it’s own.

  18. I keep a huge stock in the house of groceries and 3 freezers full. I feed a large family 14 of us plus my daughters boyfriend has dinner with us almost every night. I usually wing it, but I have done freezer cooking recipes or smaller cooking sessions to fill the freezer up. right now we have zucchini and pumpkin puree in small increments to be able to use. I freeze breakfast sandwiches, French toast, waffles, pancakes and pancake pockets that have a sausage link in them. Hubs works 2nd shift so he takes last nights dinner for his lunch. But if lunches aren’t leftovers we have things like chili cheese burritos, chili dog burritos, I freezed sub sandwiches of all kinds when my older ones were in school. even made tv dinners with leftovers. We still freeze leftovers like lasagna, enchiladas, chicken fried rice in single serve portions for anyone who wants them or happens to not like dinner which isn’t often. dinners I make my own hamburger patties ready for the grill. All of these have been dinner at 1 time or another from freezer cooking: chicken fried rice, taco chili, bacon cheddar stuffed chicken breast, beef enchiladas, chicken enchiladas made with salsa and con queso, pepper steak, shredded bbq beef, lemonade chicken. monteray chicken, meatballs, lasagna. I also do my own French fries, potato wedges, home fries, seasoned home fries, twice baked pizza twice bake and onion rings.

  19. We are currently freezing cookie dough for Christmas we will pull it out and bake the week before Christmas. We do a lot of cookies for us and for presents to the mail man, garbage man, greeter at walmart we are friends with etc. chocolate covered turtles, haystacks and a cornflake Christmas tree have already been frozen. We will do chocolate covered cherries, oreo balls, buckeyes, fudge, chocolate candies, peanut butter rice krispie treats, chocolate covered pretzles. (we is my teen daughters and I)

  20. I have been married over 33 years and never quite got the hang of this! It amazes me just how simple this really can be and how much money we could have saved over the years if I had only known what to do! Thanks for enlightening an older lady!

  21. I am very interested in starting to do meal planning… But don’t really understand how it works… You have less than 10 options for breakfast for a month, a little more options for lunch, and about 14/15 options for supper. Does this mean, you rotate between your list and make the same thing multiple times in the month?

    1. For more on meal planning and creating a meal plan that works best for you family I suggest checking out our Meal Planning page. This post isn’t really meant for a comprehensive plan since you will need more meals for the entire month but inspiration to get you going. 🙂 I do tend to make many of the same meals a few times during the month though with my meal planning.