This blog post was created in partnership with FreshCo.
It took me a long time to find my groove when it comes to grocery shopping and preparing meals for six people. It’s not an easy task. But when you add on trying to prepare fresh healthy meals for your family, and not breaking the bank, the entire process can feel overwhelming.
For a few years there, my husband and I were just in survival mode. We had four young kids and would reach for what was convenient over what was healthy and probably more cost effective. But as the dust settled, and we had a closer look at our bank accounts, we knew something had to change.
One of the biggest changes our family had made over the last few months is ordering in less and actually meal planning and getting what we need at the grocery store. I may not be so far out of the trenches that I am cooking gourmet meals for our family, but I have mastered a few healthy, family-friendly meals that I can make in bulk and then reuse the leftovers in other meals.
What is my number one go-to meal? A roast, including roasted vegetables, which I cannot get enough of, especially during the winter. Now with Christmas over, it is time to reel in the spending and be very strategic when it comes to feeding my family.
Here is how I typically approach my meal planning and grocery shopping for our family of six…
For us, I have found what works best is for me to only plan for three days at a time. This is less daunting, and then if something derails us, like illness, I won’t be wasting a week’s worth of food. I am starting to base more and more of our meals around what is on sale at the moment, using our local grocery store’s mobile flyer to help build my list. I find that FreshCo not only has great deals, but will even price match.
I don’t mind popping out to the grocery store a few times a week either, I think that’s because I can wrap my head around a small grocery shop rather than a massive shop, which can take up hours of my day to shop and then put away the groceries.
These mini grocery shops can also make it more manageable when I have all four kids in tow.
I have my staples that I stick to, and always buy our produce first. I will typically plan out two fresh meals and grab an easier back-up meal like frozen lasagna, just in case, well… life happens.
Roasts are one of the easiest meals to prepare in my opinion. It is a meal in one, but the best part is, it’s easy to make a large quantity without extra hassle. This is a must when you have four kids. I always go to the recipe my mother passed down to me and I will share with you.
Start by pre-heating your oven. You will have to check the weight of your roast and determine how long to cook it for. Often a quick Google search can answer this question for you. Take your roast, (either pork or beef), and lay it in a roasting pan, fat side up. Although I have a nice roasting pan, I have been using disposable tin pans for easier cleanup lately.
Cut up your vegetables and place them around your roast. I highly recommend carrots, potatoes, onions and my personal favourite… parsnips.
Here’s where the magic comes in… you quickly season your roast and vegetables with pepper and salt, toss on a few dabs of butter and then squirt your favourite steak sauce all over it. Yes, you heard me right; the secret is the steak sauce. I love using HP sauce on my roasts. It has a great kick which really compliments the flavour of the vegetables. Yum!
Then cover and cook for the recommended time.
Afterwards, you have a beautiful roast that will most likely last you a few meals…
…and an abundance of roasted vegetables that I love to add to pastas and salads for days to come.
I am excited, as my kids get older, and life becomes a little easier, I cannot wait to add more and more meal ideas to my arsenal. It is exciting finding ways to shop and meal plan that actually work and save us money.
Disclosure: This post has been generously sponsored by the makers of FreshCo but the opinions expressed are my own.