4/6 through 4/12 #mealplanning for our first week back to school after #springbreak ! #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.

3 portions ground turkey breast
2 portions ground beef
10 portions boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 portions chicken drumsticks
1 portion Salmon
1 portion made-ahead spicy shredded chicken
1 portions made-ahead enchiladas Verde
2 portions made-ahead meatloaf
1 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
Bacon corn chowder with grilled shrimp and a salad with herb vinaigrette
As I was flipping through an issue of Cooking Light magazine that I had several recipes flagged in, I came across two that I had marked: a Squash and Corn chowder and a Bacon and Corn chowder with grilled shrimp. I decided to combine the two and once I make it and determine it worthy, I'll post it here on my blog for y'all to test in your own kitchens! I needed 4 Cups corn, it was on sale $1.49, yellow onion (Organic at Trader Joe's was only $0.49), half & half (which I purchase often for french toast anyway at $3.49), and the shrimp (on sale 2lbs for $8.99 at Safeway). I had all other ingredients on hand. I have leftover Organic Romaine hearts that I'll serve as a side salad.

Buffalo chicken strip sandwiches and oven-baked tator tots
Buffalo chicken wings are a favorite of ours and it's a shame our local Wingstop has such terrible service as it forces me to make them here at home. I digress. I'll oven-fry boneless, skinless chicken breast strips and then, coat them in Frank's Buffalo wing sauce that I have on hand. I'll serve them on hoagie rolls (in my freezer) with blue cheese dressing that I purchased today ($3.99). Oven-baked tator tots (in my freezer) will be great to go along side them. I'll put lettuce and tomato on mine to use up what I have leftover from last week.


Turkey tacos and chips with queso
This meal cost me nothing this week as I have taco shells, taco sauce, shredded cheese and lettuce and tomato, chips and all the ingredients for skillet queso on hand. 

BBQ chicken and pineapple pizza
I'll use just one of the chicken breasts David grills every weekend chopped up for this meal. I have BBQ sauce, leftover green onion, fresh pineapple (from last week's purchase!), shredded Cheddar-Jack cheese, and bacon on hand. All I had to purchase was pizza dough ($0.99). 

Summer pasta Bolognese with garlic bread
Dan's produce stand had gorgeous zucchini ($0.49/lb) and I had every other ingredient for this meal on hand so, it was added to the menu! I purchased a loaf of garlic bread ($1.49) to serve with it.

Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and a salad with herb vinaigrette
I'm using a pre-made meatloaf from my freezer stash for a delicious, quick weeknight meal. I'll serve it with mashed potatoes (2lb bag of Organic Yukon gold potatoes was only $2.99 at Safeway!) and the last Organic Romaine heart in a side salad. 

What did I purchase this week?
 I spent $8.66 at Dan's produce stand on a flat (8 - 1lb packages) of Organic strawberries ($4.00), 3lbs of zucchini & squash, and a sweet yellow onion. Then, I spent $124.90 at Safeway for our usual, weekly milk, yogurt, and fresh produce for the week's meals as well as:
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, $2.49/lb
  • Whole wheat flower, $5.49
  • Safeway brand salsa, on sale $1.99 plus a $0.50 coupon from Just4U
  • Grapes on sale $1.99/lb plus a $0.25 off per pound coupon from Just4U
  • Blink tears for contacts, on sale $5.49 plus $1.00 off coupon from Just4U
  • Organic raspberries, Buy 1 Get 1 Free
  • Organic blackberries, Buy 1 Get 1 Free
  • Poptarts 12ct., on sale $1.49
  • Nutrigrain bars, on sale $1.99 plus $1.00 off coupon from Just4U
  • Safeway garlic bread, on sale $0.99
  • Deli sliced honey ham, $5/lb
  • Doritos, on sale $1.88, limit 1
  • Safeway brand graham crackers, on sale $1.49
I also needed ginger, dark cocoa powder, and canned peaches for a few meals.


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