2/2 thru 2/8 #mealplanning for less than $125 per week! Including #organic produce and made-from-scratch meals

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, my entire family came down with Norovirus- a God-awful stomach flu thus, we were barely ate anything other than Saltine crackers and chicken broth for three days of last week's meal plan. We didn't eat the Calzones or grilled salmon. The grilled salmon is back on this week's meal plan however, I'm saving the Calzones for a future week as the ingredients on in the freezer and shelf-stable.

5 portions ground turkey breast
1 portion ground pork
3 portions ground brisket
5 portions boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 portions salmon
2 portions brats
2 portions Italian sausage
1 portion made-ahead stuffed shells
1 portion made-ahead enchiladas Verdes
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
Grilled BBQ-apricot glazed chicken with grilled sweet potato fries
Now that the sun is coming out a bit more we are back to grilled over the weekend! To change up our basic grilled chicken, I'll have David slather this very simple glaze of BBQ sauce, apricot preserves, onion powder and granulated garlic in the last five minutes of cooking time. Weber's brand new BBQ sauce was being offered at a $0.99 introductory price so I purchased a bottle. I'll also bought sweet potatoes ($0.49/lb) so that we can make grilled sweet potato fries with this meal. 

Meatball subs
My favorite french sub rolls were on sale ($2.99) this week, which made me think of Brats and Meatballs subs. I purchased the brats (on sale $1.99) and will make them in the future. I have all the ingredients on hand to make my Meatballs Nirvana recipe including jarred Organic marinara sauce in the pantry, leaving me only needing to purchase a slice of provolone cheese ($0.38). 

Grilled salmon with garlic smashed potatoes and salad
I found a very simple marinade for salmon on Allrecipes.com, which you can view HERE and have all the ingredients on hand. I have leftover Organic Yukon gold potatoes leftover that I will boil, smash into flattened circles and coat in a lemony, garlic, thyme mixture and bake until done. I'll also serve a salad with the leftover baby spinach I purchased last week with some of the Organic Romaine hearts I purchase today ($2.49). I have all the ingredients on hand to make my fresh herb vinaigrette as well as sliced almonds, dried cranberries, and croutons to top our salads this week with. 


Creamy basil tortellini {Crocpot} with salad
Oh, how I love Pinterest and have been waiting to try out this recipe that has been circling their website. I have frozen Italian sausage tortellini in my freezer from a Costco trip a few weeks back and chicken stock, leaving me only needing to purchase Organic canned diced tomatoes ($1.49), cream cheese ($1.79), and fresh basil as my garden is desolate ($0.99). 

Enchiladas Verdes
I'm pulling this made-ahead meal from my freezer to serve on a night we have a Girl Scout meeting and David has a soccer game. 

Turkey cheeseburger mac with salad

With organic whole wheat elbow pasta, Velveeta cheese, ground turkey and all the seasonings on hand, I had everything I needed to make this meal so, it cost me nothing this week. I'll use up the remaining Romaine and baby spinach to serve a salad with this meal. 

What did I purchase this week?
I only spent $123.43 total this week out of my NEW $125 per week budget.

Yes, a new budget! I realized after careful inspection of my pantry, that I could do a better job making at least 2 meals each week with what I have on hand so that after taking a "leftovers" night into consideration, I only need to purchase ingredients for four meals each week thus, cutting our weekly budget back a bit. I also realized that by shopping at Dan's produce stand and/or Trader Joe's I could really cut back on a lot of things so, I set a smaller grocery budget and am taking on the challenge to cut back. Keep up with me to see how it goes and see if you can cut back in your own budget!
I spent $22.16 at Trader Joe's first and purchased:
  • Organic Romaine hearts, Organic pink lady apples (2lbs for $2.49), Organic pears (2lbs $2.29), bananas ($0.19/ea), blackberries ($3.99 for 12oz), blueberries ($3.49 for 10oz)
Then, I spent $101.17 in two transactions (I rang up the first $75 so I could get the $10 coupon, which I applied to my second transaction) and some of my best deals this week included:
  • Frozen corndogs for $5 (normally $8) 
  • Frozen Toaster strudel (2@$5 plus $0.55 off when you buy 2 boxes)
  • Lawry's marinades, Buy1 Get1 Free
  • Pickles, Buy1 Get1 Free
  • Brown rice Pad Thai noodles, on sale $1.99 per box
  • 2lb seedless red grapes, $5
  • 32oz shredded cheese, $5
  • 6pk Lucerne yogurt, $1.88
  • 8pk Gogurt yogurt, $1.88
  • Safeway brand graham crackers, $1.49
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, $1.99/lb
  • Dove body wash, on sale $5.99 plus another $1.00, limit 1
  • O brand organic whole wheat pastas, $1.29
Nolan blows through organic flaxseed waffles each week and deli ham so, I also had to purchase those items this week. 


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