1/26 thru 2/1 #mealplanning with three meals I made with what I had on hand!

Brand new to Meal Planning?

Start by reading all about Meal Planning (Link at the top, 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. Last week, I had enough of the stuffed-shells ingredients to make one to eat that evening and one to freeze thus, I've added that to my inventory below.

6 portions ground turkey breast
1 portion ground pork
1 portions ground beef
3 portions ground brisket
5 portions boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 portions salmon
1 portion made-ahead stuffed shells
1 portion made-ahead spicy shredded chicken
2 portions made-ahead orange chicken sauce
2 portions made-ahead roasted red pepper puree

"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 fajitas and chips with guacamole
With the oranges and limes I have leftover from last week (plus all the other ingredients for the marinade on hand), tortillas on sale for only $1.49, and chicken in the freezer, it was easy to put this meal on our menu. I picked up a bag of 6 avocados for $3.49 at Trader Joe's (first photo is a little fuzzy, sorry!) and will use them with the leftover red onion, lime juice, and cilantro I have from last week to make some delicious guacamole to go with our fajitas. I have tortilla chips on hand.

Frito Pie
Months ago, Fritos were Buy1 Get1 Free and they have been begging for me to use them in what some people call "walking tacos". So, with the purchase of some tomato paste ($0.99) and an onion ($0.49), I had everything I needed to make this meal including beef stock, Rotel, and cheddar cheese.

Grilled salmon over couscous with spinach
I love couscous and I'm trying to use up the leftover baby spinach from last week so, I'm going to wilt in the spinach to hot couscous before pouring in a light, lemony vinaigrette dressing. I think I'll marinate the salmon in something with honey and maybe soy (off to Pinterest I go to search for a recipe!). This meal cost me nothing this week.


Hawaiian burgers with oven-baked fries
I have hamburger buns in the freezer and the ingredients for the Hoisin glaze in my fridge. I have leftover fresh pineapple as well as green onions and all the other ingredients for the turkey patties on hand. I also have the frozen fries in my freezer so, this meal didn't cost me a thing this week. 

Chicken Satay over pineapple salsa
I've seen this made a lot over the internet and when I found a recipe that had me only needing to purchase sweet chili sauce ($2.99) and curry powder ($2.50) in order to make it because I had everything else on hand, I immediately added it to my menu. I'll use up the remaining fresh pineapple and cilantro in the salsa. 

Safeway was offering their yummy pre-made pizza dough for only $0.99, shredded mozzarella was already on my grocery list, and I have everything else I need on hand to make them, this meal was added to my menu.

What did I purchase this week?
I have two photos this week because I've begun to shop at Trader Joe's on Thursday evenings when Emily is at gymnastics class. They have great, cheap organic produce and few packaged goodies my kids love. This first photo is what I purchased at Trader Joe's for $36.10:
  • 5lb box Cuties, 3lb bag Organic Gala apples, Organic spring mix, 24ct farm fresh eggs, blueberries, blackberries, mushrooms, Organic cherry tomatoes, tomato paste, curry powder, banana chips, and Pappardelle pasta

At Safeway, I spent $68 and purchased:
Our normal, weekly milk, bread, OJ, deli ham, and fresh produce for the week's meals and snacks. I was out of butter, tortillas, and flaxseed waffles so I purchased those as well. The Just4U deals that I couldn't pass up included:
  • Velveeta on sale $6.99 plus another $1.00 off
  • Pizza dough $0.99
  • Campbell's condensed soups $0.49
  • Jello pudding snacks $1.00
  • Lucerne shredded mozzarella $5.99
  • French toast-cut bread $2.00 
  • Canned peaches $1.00
I purchased corn tortillas in addition to flour to make an enchilada casserole with the condensed soups I purchased for next week's meal plan. 


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