Frugal Cooking Carnival- the details

I thought I ought to give you the rest of the details about our frugal-cooking carnival, coming up on April 25th. The object is to put together three days of yummy and affordable menus. Serve it to your family anytime between now and April 25th. Then share your three day experiment with all of us. Here are the three things your post on the 25th should include:

1.) A PICTURE AFTER THE SHOPPING TRIP. Plan your 3 day menu, shop, bring the food home, and take a picture of it all. Also set out any ingredients from your pantry that you’ll be using. You don’t need to be too obsessive about the tiny extras you’ll need, like spices you already have, salt, ketchup, etc. Just lay out the majority of the food and snap a picture. It’ll be fun to see what three days of food looks like at your house.

2.) YOUR MENU AND RECIPE(S). Write out your three days’ worth of menus. Also pick a recipe or two you’d like to share. If you’re a real overachiever, you can share recipes for every single meal, but one or two recipes is fine. You could also take a picture of a plate at each meal, but that’s not essential.

3.) YOUR PER-PERSON COST. Add up your expenses for all three days of food. If you had to run to the store to buy something you forgot, add that in too. Divide your three day total by the number of people you are feeding to get your per-person cost. If you’re a math fanatic, you could break it down by meal as well, but it’s NOT required. Be sure to mention which meals were best-liked by your family, and if you had leftovers. (By the way, it is perfectly fine to incorporate a meal of leftovers into your three-day plan.) Do you think you could budget like this all month? Why or why not?

Sound like a plan?

Any questions?

I can’t wait to see what others share. And speaking of sharing, I’d love it of you’d mention the carnival on your blog. The more ‘players’ we have the more ideas we’ll all get. Feel free to copy the button above, and link to this post. See you on the 25th!!!

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  1. texasknights says:

    OH how much fun! I am in. I will post it on my blog! 🙂

  2. Ooh, count me in! One question though, is it just three days’ of dinners, or is it all meals for three days?

  3. It is ALL the meals for 3 days, so you might want to do a weekend, when your family is home. Or you canadd in the cost of school lunch, etc. And it doesn’t have to be all food from scratch…the main goal is affordability and taste….


  4. nicolex2 says:

    I’m always looking for easy, affordable meals that are also yummy! I look forward to what others have come up with. Great idea!

  5. How should I figure the cost of what is already in my cupboard?

    If an ingredient happened to be on special, but I would have purchased it at regular price, do I count the usual price or the sale price?

    And are we just counting the percentage of the purchase price that actually went into the meal? If I bought five pounds of flour, but used only one pound to make a batch of dinner rolls, I would figure the cost for flour at one-fifth the price, right?

    Am I just complicating the matter??

  6. Great idea Mary! I’ve posted it on my blog and am looking forward to it…my mind is already going! What a great exercise in frugal menu planning.

  7. Amy,

    Definitely gve yourself credit if you find something on sale. Shopping sales is a big key to getting the most for your dollar. If you want, you could also mention how much the item costs in your area when it is not on sale. But that is not esential.

    If you only used part of something in a meal, then, yes, figure the cost for the partial amount.

    And give your best guess about price for items you use from your pantry. If you plan your meals before you shop, then at the store you can check the current prices for things you plan to use from your pantry.

    In general, reasonable guesstimates are fine. I want participation more than I want costs figured to the last penny. So, everyone, please don’t be scared away from this carnival by the math, OK?

  8. Thanks for answering the question, Mary! My kids are on Spring Break, so I need to plan 3 meals plus snacks anyway. I’ll be cleaning out the freezer, the pantry, and streeeetching my money at Aldi for this challenge 🙂

  9. This is such an useful carnival!! I just recently mentioned how I really needed to search for some frugal recipes, but it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack. So glad now it will all be in one place. Great blog, btw, glad I found you. Your profile sounds like me…except I *only* have five kids . Blessings!!

  10. Great idea!

  11. Shirley, Absolutely cook how YOU cook! I am hoping to get a good variety of recipes. I would love to see your best frugal AND healthy stuff.

  12. this does sound like a fantastic event!

  13. This ties in so perfectly to finish up the cost-per-serving series I have done the last 3 fridays. I’m mentioning it again in my post tomorrow, so hopefully it will help to get more people interested! I’m going to attempt this while cooking for my visiting teenage brother-in-law– a big eater, though somewhat finicky. Should add to the challenge nicely! I can’t wait!

  14. Hmm–this will take some work since I do my shopping once a month and the kids usually make their own meals. I will see if I can work it all out.

  15. I was going to take part but wouldn’t you know… my husband is going to be away for a couple of those days.

    I’ll just be doing sandwiches and fruit since he is gone. 🙂

  16. I clicked on the chicken enchillada casserole receipe, but received error message 404 stating no link? I’d love to have this receipe. Thanks for your great website and God Bless You and your family.

  17. I think I may be missing something. The contest ended Friday…are the posts in a different section of the blog? I’d like to share the link with our readers (Make a Note ezine, cir. about 35,000, mostly in the USA, but also around the world).
    Sharon, Editor

  18. Wow 10 children! My mother told me about your site and I had to check it out for myself! I love the Frugal Cooking Carnival Idea- I plan on trying the oatmeal with ice cream for my picky eater. Thanks