You still have to plan over #thanksgiving What will you be eating? #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. I was swamped with Emily's school book fair last week and never posted my meal plan, sorry about that! I reduced my inventory below by what we ate last week though which is reflected below. I need it accurate as I really do use it each week!

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

It's pouring down rain for days to come so, no grilling (did you read that correctly?!?!?) this weekend thus, I planned meals around having no marinated, grilled chicken breasts and David will be taking ham & swiss sandwiches for lunch!

Chicken Pad Thai
Super easy recipe that I had every ingredient on hand for except cilantro. I'll use up the cilantro in tacos and guacamole later in the week.

Salmon burgers and oven-baked tator tots
I purchased hamburger buns last week and froze all but two and when freezing them, the pound of salmon I purchased a whole back stared back at me. With the herbed crackers and Dijon mustard on hand, this was an easy meal to select. I only had to purchase a bag of frozen tator tots (we were out and it was already on the list) to go with it.

Crispy tacos and chips with guacamole
I still have crispy corn taco shells in my pantry and thankfully, my husband loves tacos for dinner so, tacos again this week it is! Avacados were 2@$1, I had leftover red onion, I was already going to purchase cilantro, and Tostito's tortilla chips were $1.99 (we were running low and this was already on my list). I purchased some grape tomatoes ($2) and will chop up some of the baby spinach to go on top. I have grated cheese on hand as well as frozen lime juice.


Thanksgiving Feast
Last week I purchased a 5lb turkey breast, onion, carrots, chicken broth, fresh cranberries, active dry yeast, buttermilk, eggs, butter, canned pumpkin, and fresh green beans. This week, I needed fresh lemons and oranges, celery, potatoes, Macintosh apples. I'm making an orange & rosemary-brined and glazed turkey breast, Southern-style cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, sauteed green beans with mushrooms, fresh cranberry sauce, yeast biscuits, and a spinach salad. I'll also be making a pumpkin pie, an apple pie, and some oatmeal cookies. And we'll need booze. Everything was 30% off and I got an additional 10% off when I purchased at least 6 bottles. So I did. Our family will be here Thursday through Sunday and we can't wait!

Lasagna and salad with herb vinaigrette
We eat Thanksgiving leftovers for lunch for about three days after but that's about all we can handle so, I'm pulling out a lasagne from my freezer that I'll serve with garlic bread (only $1) and spinach salad for the day after. 

New York Steaks, balsamic potato salad, and salad with herb vinaigrette
With the weather predicted to clear this coming weekend, David will be back to manning the grill to give our family a wonderful steak dinner before they depart. I have all the ingredients on hand for my balsamic potato salad and I'll use up the remaining baby spinach in a side salad.

What did I purchase this week?
 Even with 6 bottles of champagne, I still only spent $156.17.

Some amazing deals that kept my bill so low include:
  • 5lb bag of lemons $5
  • Celery $0.99
  • 18oz raspberries $5, 12oz blackberries $5, pint blueberries $5
  • Seedless grapes only $1.49/lb
  • Avacados 2@$1
  • Tillamook cheddar blocks $5, limit 1
  • Lucerne 36ct. string cheese only $4.99
  • Danimals yogurt smoothies Buy 1 Get 1 Free
  • Raw almonds $4.99/lb
I have french toast bread in the freezer as well as breakfast sausage so, I only had to purchase half -n half and the cheddar to make my Thanksgiving morning breakfast casserole, which will feed us for two days. Emily needed no-fat black beans for her beloved nachos (she eats them at least 3x per week for dinner), and I had to purchase 1lb of deli ham for lunches this week for David as he's not able to grill chicken over the rainy weekend. 


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