3/9 thru 3/15 #mealplanning for less than $60 this week! #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.

I went to Costco after David got paid on Friday 3/1 to stock up on everything they offer cheaper that we were out of. You can read the post and see the photograph with pricing details HERE.
6 portions ground turkey breast
5 portions ground beef
2 portions flank steak
1 portions ground brisket
11 portions boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 portion Italian sausage
1 portion Salmon
1 portion made-ahead spicy shredded chicken
1 portions made-ahead orange chicken sauce
2 portions made-ahead turkey meatballs
2 portions made-ahead enchiladas Verdes
2 portions made-ahead meatloaf

"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
Meatball subs with oven-baked tator tots
With sourdough hoagie rolls on sale for only $1.99 and a freezer full of meat, I decided to take some time over the weekend and bake up a triple batch of meatballs nirvana. I needed to purchase an onion ($0.39), which I'll use up in the meatloaves I'm making later in the week, and fresh basil ($1.99 at Trader Joe's).

Grilled chicken with hot crash potatoes and asparagus
Grilled chicken is almost always on the menu so that David has it for his lunches throughout the week. I make a version of Pioneer Woman's hot crash potatoes with fresh lemon juice (in my freezer) and fresh thyme (in my garden) that is so good and with a 3lb bag of Organic Yukon gold potatoes only $3.49 at Trader Joe's, this side was a no-brainer. I'll use up the potatoes in my garlickly mashed cauliflower later in the week.

Orange peel chicken and broccoli over brown rice
This meal cost me nothing this week as I have one last portion of the made-ahead sauce in the freezer plus broccoli in the freezer and brown rice in my pantry. 


Date Night out

Meatloaf with garlicky mashed cauliflower
I'll use up the onion from the meatballs to make 3 meatloaves this week: 1 to eat and 2 to freeze. I only had to purchase a red bell pepper ($0.88 on sale!) to complete the loaves. As a side dish, I'm making my garlicky mashed cauliflower so I had to purchase a head of cauliflower ($2.99). I like to mix about 1lb of mashed up boiled potatoes to my cauliflower for better, thicker texture.

Enchiladas Verdes
I have a pantry full of verde salsa and sour cream in my fridge and with a 20ct pack of tortillas on sale for only $2.00 I decided to add this meal to our menu. I also had to purchase cilantro ($0.49). I'll have David smoke 2 extra chicken breasts this weekend that I'll shred up with the cheese I have in my fridge to make 3 pans of enchiladas: 1 to eat and 2 to freeze.

What did I purchase this week?
I spent only $46.70 between Trader Joe's and Safeway this week that leaves me with $169.20 for the month.

We needed milk, deli meat and cheese, dried pasta, bread for sandwiches and french toast and fresh fruit for the week's meals. I was also low on sugar ($1.99 for 4lbs from Just4U), baby carrots ($2.00 for 4lbs), and dried pasta (the kids love the new Barilla veggie pastas and they are only $1.49). I purchased EasyMac for only $1.00 each, Manwhich for only $1.00 each, and Weber's BBQ sauce for only $0.99.


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