3/30 thru 4/5 #mealplanning for #Easter and a visit from Gram! #cooking #motherhood #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.

4 portions ground turkey breast
2 portions ground beef
2 portions flank steak
5 portions boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 portions chicken drumsticks
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
Steak fajitas with chips and guacamole
With Gram in town and sunny skies, this meal is perfect. I have all the ingredients for the marinade except cilantro ($0.49) on hand and I needed to purchase tortillas ($1.49). For the guacamole, I had to purchase a red onion ($0.79) and avocados (3@$2). I purchased two bags of tortilla chips because they were on sale ($1.88). The steak is a large enough portion for this meal as well as a fabulous leftover lunch one day this week.

Easter Sunday 
I'm making a glazed spiral-sliced ham ($18.25), roasted potatoes ($2.99), steamed green beans ($2.00), cornbread dressing with cranberry sauce ($0.99), and herb biscuits. I had to purchase organic celery ($2.50) for the dressing and I'll use up the red onion I purchased. I have the herb biscuits unbaked in the freezer that I made last week. My favorite part of this meal is the leftovers we'll have for lunch later in the week.

Hawaiian burgers with fruit
Pineapples were 2@$5 (I forgot them in the photo), buns were $1.99 and green onions were $0.25, which made me think of Hawaiian burgers. I have all the other ingredients on hand for this meal. 

Meatball subs and oven-baked fries
This meal only cost me $1.20 for the provolone cheese as I'll use the remaining 2 portions of meatballs I have in my freezer, hoagie rolls I have in my freezer, and organic jarred pasta sauce in my pantry. I'll serve it with frozen steak fries I have in my freezer. 

Lasagna with garlic bread and salad with herb vinaigrette
Gram loves lasagna so I'll pull one out of my freezer and serve it with the garlic bread I purchased today for $2.00 and a salad that I needed organic Romaine hearts ($2.99) for. I have all the ingredients on hand for my herb vinaigrette dressing. 

Enchiladas Verdes topped with shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes
After an exciting week with Gram, I'm giving myself a break and pulling a portion of my enchiladas from my freezer. I'll top them with leftover shredded organic Romaine hearts and the leftover cherry tomatoes I have on hand. So, this meal cost me nothing this week.

What did I purchase this week?

I spent $116.02 this week. I had to purchase fresh fruit for the week's meals as well as eggs, English muffins, and bread for french toast. I needed whipping cream, buttermilk, and powdered sugar for portions of our Easter meal and desserts and I was low on sesame oil, which was $1.00 off. In addition, I splurged on some champagne to serve with our Easter meal. Some of the great Just4U deals I took advantage of this week included:
  • Barilla pasta, $1.00
  • Vlasic pickles, Buy1 Get1 Free
  • Weber marinades, Buy 1 Get1 Free
  • Mangos, 5@$5
  • Dove bodywash, $4.99, limit 1
  • Annie's vegetarian organic refried beans, $2.49
  • Strawberries, Buy1 Get1 Free
  • Blackberries, 2@$5 
  • Garlic bread, 2@$4 


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