1/5 thru 1/11 #mealplanning Huge savings, BOGO deals, and two new recipes!

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. I have been off the blogging grid since just after Thanksgiving because of all the family and friends visiting to celebrate Christmas here in California with us. There was just no time to get it all typed up! I have adjusted my inventory below to what I have in my freezer and what I purchased this week (photo below).

4 portions ground turkey breast
1 portion ground pork
3 portions ground beef
1 portion Colossal shrimp
4 portions boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 portion made-ahead meatloaf
1 portion made-ahead enchilada casserole
1 portion made-ahead potato soup
1 portion made-ahead spicy shredded chicken
1 portion made-ahead orange chicken sauce

"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
Potato soup - recipe coming soon!
Anyone love The Pioneer Woman as much as I do? She cooks the way my mother and her mother cooked for me my entire life: simple, easy, Southern-fried deliciousness. I always test the recipes she posts on her blog and this week is going to be her potato soup. The recipe was large enough to make for dinner one night this week plus another portion to freeze for another date (which I added to my inventory above). I choose to make this because a 5lb bag of Russet potatoes was only $2 at Safeway this week and the other ingredients were nominal.

Tequila-soaked grilled shrimp tacos with mango salsa
I have 1lb of Colossal shrimp on hand as well as all the ingredients for the tequila marinade. I needed to purchase corn tortillas, which were $1.85. I had jarred mangos in my pantry and fresh lime juice that I squeezed a froze a few weeks back, which left me only needed to purchase a bunch of cilantro, which was $0.99.

Meatloaf, Balsamic potato salad, and side salad with herb vinaigrette
Emily is back to school this week thus, I am pulling a made-ahead meatloaf from my freezer for an easy, quick, weeknight meal. Organic Yukon gold baby potatoes were $1.00 (a 2lb bag), green onions were on sale $0.49, and bacon was 50% off (only $4.99) so, a side of my Balsamic potato salad came to mind. I have all other ingredients on hand. I will also serve a side salad with my herb vinaigrette dressing in order to use up the leftover Organic Romaine I have on hand from last week.

Leftovers night

Orange peel chicken and broccoli over brown rice
When naval oranges were $0.29/lb, I bought about 10lbs and used a lot of the juice and zest to make and freeze several portions of the sauce for this recipe. I have one portion left that I'll thaw to make this meal this week. I have Organic broccoli florrettes in my freezer and brown rice in my pantry. This meal only cost me the boneless, skinless chicken breasts I stocked up on this week (only $1.99/lb!).

Enchilada casserole with chips and guacamole - recipe coming soon!
I grew up on enchilada casserole. It was one of Campbell's best "cream of" one-pot recipes! I've always wanted to make a version of this myself with my own red enchilada sauce and, lucky me, a friend of mine posted her version online. I made the sauce over the weekend (it was to die for!) and pieced the rest of the casserole together. I covered it in foil and it's lid and froze it to use later in the week. I had all the ingredients for the sauce on hand. I purchased ground beef (only $2.99/lb for 93% lean ground sirloin) and will use the remaining corn tortillas I purchased for the shrimp tacos. Avacados were on sale 4@$5, red onion was only $0.99/lb, and I'll use up the remaining cilantro I purchased for the shrimp tacos.

Baked chicken Parmesan served over whole wheat pasta
A ball of fresh mozzerella has been calling my name this week and, after I found that I had all the other ingredients (egg, milk, bread crumbs, jarred sauce, whole wheat spaghetti) on hand, I decided to make my baked chicken Parmesan.

What did I purchase this week?
 I spent $192.23 for $270 worth of groceries thanks to Safeway's Just4U deals and coupons and all the BOGO (Buy One Get One Free) deals.

Some of the best deals:
  • Ground turkey breast $4.99ea
  • Heinz ketch-up BOGO
  • Safeway Olive Oils BOGO
  • Lucerne 6pk yogurt on sale $3.00 plus another $1.00ea
  • 5lb bag Russett potatoes $2.00
  • Lucerne butter $2.49ea
  • Eating Right boneless, skinless chicken breasts $1.99/lb
  • 93% lean ground sirloin $2.99/lb
  • Dole canned fruit BOGO
  • Red bell pepper $1.00ea
  • Lucerne 32oz block cheeses $5
I purchased our usual deli meats, milk, fresh fruit and vegetables and cheese for the week's meals. I also purchased red bell peppers to roast, peel, and puree to freeze as they are normally $3.99 each!


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