I only spent $92 this week! #mealplanning is back on Not Your Mama's Martha!

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.
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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.

Inventory
10 portions ground turkey breast
4 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
3 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

Chicken Pad Thai
A super simple, delicious meal that immediately came to mind when I saw the frozen, ground chicken in my freezer this morning. I've made this meal so many times, I've committed the ingredients to memory. I knew I had frozen lime juice, brown sugar, chili paste, fish sauce, sesame oil, and salted peanuts on hand so, all I needed to add to my grocery list was cilantro and rice noodles. Cilantro is only $0.49/ea and rice noodles were $2@$5. I'll only need half the package of ground chicken for this recipe so I'll use the other half on tacos later in the week.

Grilled chicken with Balsamic potatoes and a salad with herb vinaigrette dressing 
We grill every weekend, do I still even need to say this? :) I had to purchase our favorite marinade (a whopping $4.99!) and baby Organic Yukon gold potatoes (on sale only $2.00 for the 2lb bag) and that's it. I have chives in my garden and all other ingredients including bacon for the potatoes and will use up the rest of the Organic Romaine/spinach salad mix I bought.

Crispy tacos and chips with queso
We love tacos and they are so easy to throw together on busy nights so they frequently show up on my meal plans. We have taco shells, shredded cheese on hand and I'll use the other half of the ground chicken package from the Pad Thai. I only needed to purchase an onion (Just4U deal $0.39/lb), some garlic ($2.00), cherry tomatoes (Just4U deal $1.99/ea), and taco sauce (coupon for $0.50off). I have a brand new bag of tortilla chips and Velveeta cheese on hand meaning I only needed to purchase a can of tomatoes with chilis (on sale $0.99). I will use up the cilantro from the Pad Thai in the queso.

Chili with cornbread
I have everything on hand to make this meal; all the spices and canned beans plus the ground turkey (I only need half a package) as well as all the items needed to bake cornbread from scratch. Adding this meal to my meal plan cost me nothing!

Leftovers/Whatever you can find 

Spaghetti and meatballs and a salad with herb vinaigrette dressing
My herb garden is flourishing, I really need to use up some oregano and basil so, I'll make up a batch of ground turkey meatballs. I have all the other ingredients on hand for my meatballs nirvana (the recipe will be up this week!) including: bread crumbs, milk, parmesan cheese, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and will use up some of the onion I purchased today. Barilla whole grain pastas were on sale (only $0.88/ea) and I scored Organic marinara sauce for only $1.49. Organic Romaine/Spinach salad  was on sale ($4.99/ea plus a Just4U deal of another $1.00 off) and I have all the ingredients to make my herb vinaigrette on hand so, I'll serve a salad along side of this meal.

Turkey Mac
I'll use the other half of the ground turkey that I didn't need for the chili plus the mushrooms, the remaining onion, and the whole grain elbow macaroni I purchased today along with the Velveeta and spices I have on hand to make this meal. It's SOOOOOOO good, my own version of Hamburger Helper.

What did I purchase this week?
 Sorry for the blurry image, my iphone isn't the best 

I only spent $92 today and got so much and I have Safeway's Just4U app to thank. So many great coupons and additional savings that automatically load to my card and get applied to my purchase instantly.

Just some of the great deals include:
  • Lucerne yogurt $0.39/ea
  • Personal watermelons $1.00/ea
  • Strawberries $1.99/ea
  • 18ct. eggs $2.49/ea
  • Raw almonds $4.99/lb
  • Deli-sliced Mesquite smoked turkey breast $5.00/lb
  • Almond Breeze brand non-dairy products $1.99/ea, limit 3
  • Bartlet pears $0.99/lb
I have sandwich bread, cheese, fat-free milk, and Honey crisp apples leftover from last week.

I purchased half-n-half and Texas Toast to make the kids a big batch of french toast this weekend. I also purchased coconut milk and pineapple juice to make the adults some Pina Coladas.

Want to share your meal plan and/or ideas? Post a link to your blog in a comment below and let's share!

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