Local produce market for the WIN! #mealplanning 8/18 thru 8/24

Brand new to Meal Planning?

Start by reading all 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! There, you will find a link to a detailed example of my own weekly meal planning where I walk you through step-by-step.

The first thing I do on Saturday mornings is to look back over the week to see if we did indeed eat everything on my meal plan and adjust my inventory, reducing it by what we ate and increasing it by anything I purchased and/or made-ahead. We did eat everything on our meal plan last week so I reduced my inventory accordingly. I also increased my inventory by the items I purchased this week.

2 portions ground turkey breast
2 portions ground brisket
1 portions colossal shrimp
2 portions boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 portions sweet Italian sausage
1 portions Beer Brats
1 portion made-ahead chicken enchiladas Verdes
1 portion made-ahead spicy, shredded pork

Next, I shop my pantry, freezer and fridge for ingredients to come up with some meals off our Master Meal List, looking at our family calendar to ensure I wasn't planning on something we had recently eaten. I scan the weekly ad as well as the coupons and Just4U deals from Safeway via the iPhone app to see what was on sale that might complement and/or substitute for what I had come up with and of course, how to stretch ingredients over enough meals to use them up.

Weekly Meal Plan
Weekend BBQ with friends
We were invited to a friend's house for an early evening BBQ and were only asked to bring a side dish and dessert. I chose my Balsamic potato salad, which required me to purchase baby Yukon gold potatoes and green onion, and a fresh berry dump cake (thank you, Pioneer Woman!), which I made out of the berries I had on hand that were leftover from the week that were about to go bad.

Tequila-soaked shrimp tacos and chips with guacamole
We love to grill, we will throw anything on our charcoal pit in the backyard! This meal has been a real favorite this summer and couldn't be easier as it requires very few ingredients that I had most of already on hand. I only needed to purchase oranges and tortillas for the shrimp and avacados ($1.00 each!) for the guacamole.

Chicken piccata and salad with herb vinaigrette
Because of the $5 bag of lemons I scored last week, which I have already juiced and frozen in ice cube trays, I was inspired to make this meal this week. I have butter, chicken stock, white wine, capers, and fresh herbs on hand. I also have half the box of whole wheat linguine leftover that I purchased last week. Organic spring mix was on sale $2.50 each so I will use some of it for a side salad to serve with this meal.

Sloppy Joe's with baked tator tots
Whole wheat hamburger buns were on sale $2.00 each which I needed to purchase to separate and freeze because I was out. I decided to use two buns this week on a super easy meal. I had the sauce, ground turkey breast, and frozen tator tots on hand. 


Grilled chicken salad
To use up the bulk of the Organic spring mix I purchased this week, we will be serving our weekly smoked, grilled chicken breast over a salad. I like to put hard-boiled egg whites, bacon, shredded carrots, grape tomatoes, avacado and croutons on our salad. I make my own fresh herb vinaigrette to pour over the top. I have all the ingredients for this meal on hand.

Date night dinner out
A recent babysitting swap has us with a kid-free night this week which equals a date night dinner out!

What did I purchase this week?
Y'all are going to flip out over what I spent this week. $111.06.  Yep, barely $100!


Because I started at a local produce stand here in town some friends of mine have been raving about. I've been semi-disappointed in Safeway's produce, even the more expensive Organic "fresh from your local farm" produce; it never tastes ripe, it can be sour, bitter, too firm in texture. I have always made excuses like "you just have to let it sit on the counter and ripen" but by the time that starts to happen, it's moldy. And even if it doesn't ripen and soften a bit, the taste is never quite right. {sigh} So, with my increased budget of $200 per week, I decided to start funneling more money (and the time to shop at two different stores!) to real, farm fresh local produce. Imagine my surprise when I actually did a little price comparison!
So, Saturday morning, I started with the Safeway app on my iPhone to get the prices of the Organic and non-organic produce I was planning to purchase and quickly jotted those prices down. Then, I went to Dan's with my price list and noticed almost immediately a great discrepancy in price. Dan's was CHEAPER! Because Dan's is so small, probably only about 400 sq.ft., I very quickly loaded my cart with 100% local, Organic produce that was truly RIPE. It was all fresh and ready to enjoy immediately, no needing to wait for it to ripen and the taste was out of this world! One of the Grocers working had me sampling everything and the berries, which I've had the most trouble with at Safeway, were the best berries I have ever had. The end result, I purchased everything I needed and I did it for LESS than what it would have cost me at the grocery store!

Grapes - green seedless and red seedless for only $1.99/lb
Organic Peaches - (2) perfectly ripe that will last for two days $2.49/lb
Organic strawberries - (2bkt) deep red and super sweet, $2.99 per basket
Organic raspberries - (2bkt) plump, fushia pink, delicious, $1.99 per basket
Organic blackberries - (1bkt) plump and sweet not at all bitter, $2.99 per basket
Oranges - local, Valencia farm $0.69/lb
Organic cherry tomatoes - (3bkt) super sweet like grapes, $0.49 per basket
Organic jumbo blueberries - $2.49 each container 18oz
Local, antibiotic-, hormone-free Petaluma eggs - $2.19 per dozen
Organic green onion - $0.50 each
Organic, Artisan made tortillas - $2.15
(most were USDA Certified Organic)

My total at Dan's was only $32.86.

Then, I headed to a grocery store that is closer to my house, Nob Hill, that is much smaller and a big more high end BUT was offering the same promotion that Safeway often offers which is earning $10 coupon off your next visit when you spend $75 or more. I spent $78.20 on the rest of my groceries. I purchased fat-free and almond milk, turkey hot dogs, yogurt, block cheese, bacon, Organic deli meat, Parmesan cheese, buns and sandwich bread, and Organic spring mix. Things I didn't NEED for the week but that were on sale so I decided to purchase them include: Grand's biscuits (normally $3.49, on sale $0.99), chicken marinade ($2.00 off!), sweet hot mustard ($1.50 off), and capers (on a 50% clearance end-cap aisle).

And now I have $10 to spend at Nob Hill next week!

In my $200.00 budget for this week, I have about $86 that I can spent on additional, fresh produce at Dan's mid-week as I only bought what we could eat before it began to mold. I do want to mention that I didn't have to purchase any meat, fish, or poultry this week, which kept my grocery bill lower than usual as well.


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