Today one can buy everything ready to eat. The trick is to buy food that one can store at home instead of fast food and restaurant meals. Frozen meals, shelf stable sauces and mixes, and raw ingredients abound. If hamburgers are the fare of choice, seven cases of hamburger patties at Sams should see one through 270 meals (including breakfast). One woman I know is leaving her house regularly for weeks and months at a time. She turns her refrigerator and freezer off. Shelf stable Sauces from Costco already packaged in bulk are right for her lifestyle. What one gives up when buying prepared foods is versatility. For example the cream base of Alfredo made from scratch can also be used in soups, whipped cream, other cream sauces, caramel, ice cream, etc... It would be impossible to use a jar of Alfredo in so many ways. So the more basic the ingredient the fewer ingredients one needs to store.
The dinner we had tonight a huge success. This one was for my Mom. She loves prepared Alfredo Sauce which I don't have. So we cooked it. Fear of the unknown has kept me from even trying this recipe for 20 years. I used some of the asiago cheese that has been in the freezer for a long time, Parmesan cheese, garlic, onion powder, salt and pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. I have quarts and quarts of whipping cream that I was adding to the dried milk before the children revolted. Normally we buy 2 quarts a year - one for Thanksgiving and one for Christmas. Now I have a 12 month supply in the freezer. We can make real Alfredo all we want. If I wanted to decrease the fat, I would use dried milk and make dried Alfredo mix. The pasta is a staple already on hand along with the bottled chicken. We added cabbage/nut salad and carrot sticks as sides. (The children are really wishing for fresh pears, apples, and bananas. The carrot sticks were to help assuage the craving for crunchy and cold.)
Breakfast: Cornbread with honey butter, hamburger patties, canned peaches, and yogurt.
Snack: Candy Bars and Shockers - the whole family relished a sweet which I purchased in January so that we would not be tempted to go to the store. Buying it was a splurge I will not repeat. The children ate one whole case of candy the first week without permission.