10/29 thru 11/2 #mealplanning for the end of the month!

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 each week is look back over the week to see if we did indeed eat everything on my meal plan (I write down each night's meal on our family calendar) and adjust my inventory, reducing it by what we ate and increasing it by anything I purchased and/or made-ahead. 99% of the time if a meal that was planned for wasn't eaten it's automatically added to the next week's plan. Because I haven't been meal planning here on my blog for nearly a month (having a first grader is HARD, y'all!), I've taken some today today to take inventory of my indoor and outdoor freezers and have updated my inventory accordingly below.

8 portions ground turkey breast
4 portions ground sirloin
2 portions ground chicken breast
1 portions pork baby back ribs
2 portions Colossal ribs
1 portions New York Strip steaks
1 portion weekday grill pack chicken breasts
2 portions boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 portion salmon
1 portion made-ahead chicken enchiladas Verdes

"Portions" for my family typically mean 1/2lb to 3/4lb of meat and it feeds all four of us at one meal. To keep my freezers organized and make things easier on myself, I divide up my bulk purchases into portions and label everything before freezing it. For example: meatloaf requires 1lb of ground beef where Goulash only requires 1/2lb so, I package 1lb of ground beef and write "meatloaf" on the outside of the bag to ensure I don't accidentally thaw out an entire pound of meat for a recipe where I only need half. You could also write "1lb" on the bag.

Next, I shop my pantry, freezer and fridge for ingredients to come up with some meals off our Master Meal List. As I mentioned above, I write down each night's meal on our calendar so, I look at it first to sort of rule out meals we've recently eaten to cut down on monotony. Then, I read the weekly ad and look through the coupons and Just4U deals from Safeway via the iPhone app to see what is on sale that might complement and/or substitute for what I came up with. Lastly, I determine how I can stretch ingredients, specifically fresh produce and expensive items over enough meals to use them up to prevent waste.

Weekly Meal Plan

Spinach stuffed shells
A ton of leftover baby spinach in my fridge combined with the ground sirloin I was planning to purchase at only $1.99/lb, made me think of stuffed shells. I have an entire block or mozzerella cheese in my freezer as well as grated Parmesan in my fridge. Barilla was still offering all dried pastas for only $0.88ea and a tub of ricotta was only $2.00. I'll use the other half of the ricotta plus the goat cheese and other ingredients I have on hand plus the lasagna noodles I bought for only $0.88ea and Organic marinara sauce I purchased for only $2.50 to make a lasagna to freezer for later in the month when our family is in town.

Fajitas and chips with guacamole
Naval oranges were 3@$1.00 and limes were $3@$0.99. I have leftover cilantro, chicken, and all the spices on hand to make my fajita marinade. Tortillas were only $0.99 ($1.99 plus $1.00 off Just4U deal) so I purchased two, to have one to freeze, and will use half for fajitas and the other half on Tequila-soaked shrimp tacos later in the week. I had guacamole frozen as well as chips so this meal cost me less than $4.00.

Hawaiian burgers 
Hamburger buns were on sale $1.99 so I purchased a package and after seeing that I had sesame oil and Hoisin sauce on hand plus leftover green onions, I decided on my Hawaiian burgers. I needed to purchase a fresh pineapple, which I'll use up the remainder by freezing it for pina coladas for my pre-birthday dinner get-together.


Sloppy Joe's
Sloppy Joe sauce was only $0.88 and I'll use up a few more of the hamburger buns I purchased. We'll have chips and salsa or a spinach salad with this meal.

Grilled Tequila-soaked shrimp tacos with mango salsa
I have Colossal shrimp in my freezer but didn't know what to do with them until after I was at the store and saw a jar of sliced mangos on a clearance aisle for $0.99. I have cilantro to make mango salsa to go ontop of my Tequila-soaked shrimp tacos. I knew I had Tequila on hand and was already planning to purchase an orange and two limes for my fajita marinade so, it was easy enough to purchase just one more of each. 

Birthday dinner out!

What did I purchase this week?
I only spent $111.73 and got so much for it, mainly things I can use to make multiple meals and/or to freeze for a later date. Besides Organic honeycrisp apples, pears, peach fruit cups, bananas, and grapes for the week's meals, I had to purchase deli ham, eggs, half & half, frozen waffles, yogurt, string cheese, and sandwich bread for the week's breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. I'll make a zucchini bread and a banana bread for the week as well.
Some of the best deals this week include:
  •  $2.00 off when you buy an Organic's brand pasta and sauce AND the sauce was already on sale 2$5.00 so I bought two sauces.
  • Kraft singles were only $1.99, limit 1
  • Dove body wash was on sale $4.99 and I had a $2.00 off Just4U deal, limit 1
  • Safeway pizza dough, Buy 1 Get 1 Free
  • Yukon gold potatoes $1.00/lb (I'll bag these and use them next week
  • Raspberries, Buy 1 Get 1 Free
  • Blueberries, Buy 1 Get 1 Free


  1. I need to get better at meal planning! Thanks for all the tips!


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