Week's worth of B, L, S, & D for $100/wk? I did it! #mealplanning

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.

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

"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

Orange chicken over brown rice
We love this meal and it's super cheap to make! I had brown rice, all the ingredients for the chicken coating, frozen broccoli, and most of the ingredients for the orange sauce. I only needed an orange ($0.64), green onions ($0.50), and tomato sauce (found 2 dented cans of Organic tomato sauce for $0.75/ea).

Meatloaf with mashed cauliflower and grilled asparagus
We've had some cooler weather start to move in and that always makes me want meatloaf. Coupled with the fact that I saw bell peppers on sale $1.25/ea and sweet yellow onions only $0.99/lb, I added this meal to our menu. I have all the other ingredients for the meatloaf on hand. The Yukon gold potatoes I bought last week combined with a head of cauliflower (only $1.99/ea) makes for a side of my garlicky mashed cauliflower (I found adding about 25% potatoes to this recipe makes it stand up better). I had a $3.99 Just4U deal for Organic baby spinach that I'll use for side salads for three meals this week, including this one. I have all the ingredients on hand for my herb vinaigrette dressing.

Apricot-BBQ glazed grilled chicken and a spinach salad with herb vinaigrette 
This meal cost me nothing this week as I have apricot preserves and BBQ sauce on hand and will use up some of the Organic baby spinach I purchased in a side salad. 


I got a Belgian waffle maker for my birthday from my sister and cannot wait to make pumpkin and flaxseed whole wheat waffles that I'll serve with bacon (have on hand) and fruit for an easy breakfast/dinner = Brinner on our very busy Thursday night. 

Chicken piccata over whole wheat angel hair and a spinach salad with herb vinaigrette
Another meal that cost me nothing! I have all the ingredients on hand for this meal, including capers, chicken stock, lemon juice (I froze an entire ice cube tray's worth last month when they were 6@$1!) and the whole wheat pasta! I'll use up more of the Organic baby spinach to serve a side salad with this meal. 

Lasagna and a spinach salad with herb vinaigrette
Last week, I thawed out a log of the goat cheese I had in my freezer for a Costco run a few months back and used up the remaining ricotta cheese from the stuffed shells I made, along with a few other ingredients I had on hand to make the cheese layer of two lasagnas. I browned some of the ground sirloin I had on hand with the onion and garlic I had leftover from last week to make the meat layer. I shredded up the mozzarella cheese I had in my freezer for the topping. Then, I used the dried lasagna noodles and Organic marinara sauce I purchased to finish off the two lasagnas I made. We'll eat one of these this week, the night Emily has her Girl Scouts meeting to be exact. I'll finish off the Organic baby spinach in a side salad with this meal.

What did I purchase this week?

I spent $96.02 this week on all the food you see above. And the first way I did that was by meal planning above with items that were on sale and/or that I had coupons and/or Just4U deals for. Some of the best deals were:
  • fresh pineapple, $1.00 off
  • all berries, Buy 1 Get 1 Free, mix & match raspberries, blueberries, strawberries
  • baby carrots, Buy 1 Get 1 Free
  • Kraft singles cheese, Buy 1 Get 1 Free
  • Sara Lee 100% whole wheat bread, Buy 1 Get 1 Free
  • all Safeway brand breakfast bread (I bought french toast), Buy 1 Get 1 Free
  • Lucerne brand yogurt 10@$5.00
  • Organic baby spinach, on sale $4.99 plus $1.00 off Just4U
  • 18ct eggs, $1.99 limit 1
  • Organic honeycrisp apples $1.99/lb
  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts $2.49/lb
I also purchased bananas, pears, grapes for breakfast, lunches, and snacks this week; we needed frozen waffles (before I got my waffle maker!), milk, and butter; and Emily wanted Saltine crackers for her lunch this week so I purchased those as well.


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