Step-by-Step Meal Planning: 1/21 thru 1/27

Brand new to Meal Planning?

Start reading about Meal Planning (scroll down to "A Day in My Life" on the right-hand side of this page and click Meal Planning: How To Get Started) or just click here in order to familiarize yourself with the steps and how to get started!

Because I've gotten so many emails asking me exactly how I do this each week, I decided to walk you through it step by step for this week's meal plan.

I've created an Excel spreadsheet that I captured in a screen print and uploaded for you all to read:

You'll see that I first took inventory of my deep freezer. Then, I shopped my pantry, freezer and fridge for ingredients to come up with some meals. Next, I scanned the weekly ad to see what was on sale that might complement and/or substitute for what I had come up with and clipped the coupons I would need.

Finally, I added meals to my plan based on how I could stretch ingredients I was purchasing. I also made note of items that were on sale to stock up on and made my grocery list. I set my budget, $150 as I do every week and went shopping.
My budget: $150.00
Actually spent: $147.75

Pretty good job but not my best work. Why? Nearly $20 was what I call "unfortunates".

Because unfortunately, I had to purchase items that we were out of and had to pay full price as they weren't on sale and I couldn't wait until next week. It happens! There's no way to stock up perfectly each time something goes on sale due to spoilage. So, what were those items?

Chocolate mini wheats $4.49 (yikes! I never pay more than $2 box of cereal)
Whole wheat tortillas for wraps $4.29 (normally get it at Costco for $2.00 but they were out)
Organic spinach for wraps $5.99 (normally find it 2@$5)
Organic pasta sauce for meatball subs $4.99 (normally 2@$6)

Weekly Meal Plan
Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and steamed peas
Roasted red pepper Alfredo with grilled chicken & broccoli
Sloppy Joe's with baked sweet potato fries
Baked "fried" chicken
Meatball subs
Grilled chicken salad

Once home and I put away everything, I got to work making two meatloaves, a batch of meatballs, and a batch of my herb biscuits so I could use up all the fresh herbs and the remaining buttermilk. I froze the meatloaves and the biscuits prior to baking them as I like things to taste as freshly prepared as possible. I cooked all the meatballs and then froze them as I really like to just pull out a few to thaw the morning I'm going to need them and just heat them in the sauce I'm using for that night's meal. I also marinated two portions of boneless skinless chicken breasts for David to smoke on the grill later today; one portion will go in my Roasted red pepper Alfredo for tonight's dinner and the other portion will be used in a grilled chicken salad later in the week.

Lastly, I put my meal plan on the fridge next to my Inventory List. I actually just print it on a Post-It. Each morning we'll choose what we want to have for dinner that night and thaw out whatever we need to in order to prepare that meal. Whatever is chosen I write in on our family calendar, also on the fridge so that at any time during the month, I can see what we have already eaten so we don't end up with too many repeats.

So, there you have it. Step-by-step exactly how I did my own meal planning, shopping, and preparations for the week.  If you have any questions, shoot me an email or leave me a reply on this post!

Check out these and all my recipes on the right-hand side of this page under From My Kitchen!

Click HERE to return to the Meal Planning: How To Get Started page


  1. What awesome tips! I'm gonna have to try this. Then it'd also help with the nightly what to make dilemma.

  2. Yay! I'm so glad your Meal Planning posts are back!

  3. I was literally just thinking 1. I miss last year when we were able to chat on the site about our pregnancies & older kids. 2. That I miss your meal planning posts as sleep deprivation & lack of help has made mine kind of pathetic as of late. Decided to pop on & see what you had written about...and meal planning & a recipe. Love it! :) so, thank you. My b'day gift to myself is to get back on track again as I have felt ick not eating as well as normal, and seeing you do it with a LO gives me motivation to
    keep trying :) I have started blogging again so pop over sometime - did you see her picture? Take care!

    both kids look so adorable & happy. Glad things are going well for you: :)


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