2/9 thru 2/15 #mealplanning Breakfasts, lunches, dinners for family of four for less than $100!!! Full recipes included #cooking #motherhood #frugal #kids

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.
3 portions ground turkey breast
1 portion ground pork
3 portions ground brisket
4 portions boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 portions salmon
2 portions brats
2 portions Italian sausage
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
Orange chicken with snow peas over brown rice
This meal cost me nothing this week as I had all the ingredients on hand and am pulling one portion of my made-ahead orange sauce from my freezer. We have family in town this week, soccer games three times this week, and a class party that has us wrapped up until late several days this week. 

Chicken & spinach flautas with queso
What a surprise to open up on of the packages of boneless, skinless chicken breasts value packs to find that it was a mixed pack. Argh! Half breasts, half thighs. So, I had to change my meal plan to make this flautas as there isn't much else I can eat with thigh meat (I'm just not a fan). I used up all the leftover spinach and onion last week, sauteed it all down and mixed it with the thighs (I cooked in my crockpot) and some Monterey Jack cheese I got for only $1.99 this week. I had all the ingredients on hand to make a skillet queso but did have to purchase tortilla chips (on sale for $1.88). 

Pork Bolognese and a salad with herb vinaigrette
With rain and cold weather moving in while we have family in town, I decided to fill my dutch oven with my very favorite home-made Bolognese. Sweet, yellow onions were on sale $0.99/lb, organic carrots were only $0.99/lb, a can of organic San Marzano tomatoes were on sale only $2.60 and I have all the other ingredients on hand (including leftover fresh basil from last week and organic celery). I purchased organic spring salad mix for only $1.99 that I will serve along with this meal.


Bratworsts with oven-baked tator tots
Talk about a 15 minute meal! This one never disappoints and cost me nothing this week as I had the Brats and the hoagie rolls in my freezer. I did decide to purchase a bag of frozen tator tots for only $1.99 instead of serving this meal with chips. 

Stuffed shells and a salad with herb vinaigrette
I'm pulling this meal from my freezer 1) because it serves 3-4 and will be perfect for my family in town and 2) it will be as easy and preheating the oven on one of our busiest nights. I'll use up the organic spring mix to serve a salad with this meal.

Valentine's Dinner Out!
David and I are getting a date night out thanks to the Gift Card my sister and her boyfriend gave us for Christmas. Yea!
What did I purchase this week?
I spent less than $100 this week. $92.46 to be exact.

I purchased our usual, weekly milk, yogurt, deli meats, bread, eggs, and fresh produce for the week's breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. I also purchased items that were on a great sale including:
  • 10lb bag flour for only $4
  • (2) Cresent rolls, on sale $1 each plus a $1.00 coupon for ever 2 purchased
  • Tostito's tortilla chips, $1.88 limit 2
  • Monterey Jack cheese, 6oz $1.99
  • 2lb strawberries only $3.99
  • 10ct soft taco tortillas $1.49


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