3/23 thru 3/29 #mealplanning I didn't blow my #budget but I overspent on BOGO deals! #motherhood #kids #cooking

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.

4 portions ground turkey breast
4 portions ground beef
2 portions flank steak
8 portions boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 portions chicken drumsticks
1 portion Italian sausage
1 portion Salmon
1 portion made-ahead spicy shredded chicken
2 portions made-ahead turkey meatballs
2 portions made-ahead enchiladas Verde
2 portions made-ahead meatloaf
2 portions 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
Sweet 'n spicy grilled chicken drumsticks with grilled asparagus and herb biscuits
Emily has been wanting to try "a chicken leg" for days now. I'm assuming it was on the school lunch menu one day and it looked really yummy. :) So, with drumsticks only $0.99/lb, I bought a package to have David throw on the grill with his usual chicken breasts. I will coat them in a delicious, sweet 'n spicy sauce right after they come off the grill that I have all the ingredients on hand for. I purchased asparagus ($1.09) that I'll have David grill as well. Because I wanted to have buttermilk herb biscuits for our Easter feast next weekend but found buttermilk on sale ($0.99) this week, I decided to make them this week and freeze half the recipe to just thaw and pop in the oven next week. I have rosemary and thyme in my garden so I only needed to buy fresh sage ($1.99).

Sloppy Joe's and oven-baked tator tots
A super easy meal that I can throw together on one of our busier weeknights that cost next to nothing this week! I have buns in the freezer, Manwich in the pantry, and tator tots in my freezer. I needed to purchase onion for the meat mixture, which was only $0.49.


Grilled chicken Ceasar Salad
One of my husband's favorite meals, probably because I make the dressing myself. I have all the ingredients on hand for the dressing but had to purchase Organic Romaine hearts ($3.00) and Parmigana-Reggiano cheese ($11.98). The cheese will last for months through several meals, including two lasagnas I made and froze over the weekend. 

Salisbury steaks with mashed potatoes & mushroom gravy and roasted broccoli
I can't wait to try out this recipe again to really perfect it for my family and then, get it up here on my blog for y'all to enjoy. 3lbs of Organic Yukon gold potatoes are only $3.99 at Trader Joe's- I'll use less than half of them this week and the other half for our Easter feast next week. I also purchased an onion ($0.49), 8oz cremini mushrooms ($2.50), and broccoli crowns ($0.99/lb).

Crispy beef tacos with chips & salsa
Another super easy, super quick meal I can throw together on a busy weeknight is tacos. I have the shells, shredded cheeses, taco sauce, and chips and salsa to serve with it. I will use up the remaining onion, and some of the Romaine to shred and place on top. I also purchased Organic cherry tomatoes from Trader Joe's for only $2.99. 

Chicken piccata over angel hair pasta and a spinach salad with herb vinaigrette
With the purchase of capers ($2.99) and Organic baby spinach ($2.49), I have everything I need to make this meal. I have fresh lemon juice in my freezer, whole wheat angel hair pasta in the pantry plus all the other ingredients for the sauce, and I have all the ingredients for my herb vinaigrette on hand.

What did I purchase this week?
I spent $86.51 between Trader Joe's and Safeway this week, which leaves me with only $10.48 to spend next week, which is the final week of this month's challenge. Honestly, there's no way I can only spend $11 next week so, I failed at trying to stay under $300/month. However, it's okay! I'm more interested in staying within about $100-$125/week and just wanted to experiment to see how low I could go. :)
Could I have spent less this week and stayed within my budget? Absolutely!
However, you know my golden rule: NEVER pass up a "BOGO" (Buy One Get One Free) deal on things you're family loves and will eat before they expire. 

So, what did I buy this week?
Besides eggs, milk, and the fresh produce for the week's meals, I stocked up on these items because of their great prices:
  • Oscar Mayer bacon, on sale $3.99, limit 5
  • Quaker oatmeal squares cereal, BOGO
  • Mini Wheats cereal, on sale $2.99 plus $1.00 coupon
  • Nabisco Triscuits/Wheat Thins on sale, $1.99 each plus $1.00 when you buy 2
  • 28oz-32oz frozen potato varieties, on sale $1.49 each, limit 4
  • Frito's chips, on sale $2.99 plus $1.00 coupon
  • Ghirardelli chocolate chips, $1.79 each, limit 1
  • Shredded coconut, on sale $1.49 each, limit 1
  • Lawry's marinades, BOGO
  • GoGurt, BOGO
  • Poptarts, BOGO
  • 3.5oz Albacore tuna, BOGO
We were out of graham crackers, Parmigana-Reggiano cheese, mini peanut butter crackers, and Fig Neutons cookies so I purchased those as well. I also purchased shredded hashbrowns (part of the potato sale) as we love to have them in a casserole form for breakfast.


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