6/1 thru 6/7 #mealplanning as we move into summer #motherhood #kids #cooking

Brand new to Meal Planning?

Start by reading all about Meal Planning (Link at the topin 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
4 portions ground pork
1 portions pork tenderloin

4 portions ground brisket 
4 portions boneless, skinless chicken breasts
5 portions Brats

2 portions shrimp
1 portion flank steak
1 portions made-ahead enchiladas Verde

"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. I also jot down the price of things I plan to buy that I can frequently find cheaper at my local farmer's market (Dan's) or at Trader Joe's. On shopping day, I stop at Dan's first and buy whatever is cheaper than Safeway; next, I stop at Trader Joe's; and then, I purchase everything left on my list at Safeway. 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 
My girlfriend had a baby last week so, I decided to double up on our weekend favorite of steak fajitas to bring her family half. You'll see two packages of flank steak in my photo as well as double the ingredients needed for my marinade (limes, oranges, cilantro) and twice as many tortillas as I would normally buy. 

Bacon-corn chowder with grilled shrimp
I can't think of anything tastier in summer than my bacon-corn chowder that I make with corn AND yellow squash. I have all the stock ingredients (carrot, celery, parsley from my garden, onion, seasonings) plus the bacon I picked up for $3.99/ea last week, on hand. I purchased a 2lb bag of large shrimp today to grill with lemon juice and crushed red pepper flake and top the chowder with. Yum!

Enchiladas Verdes and chips with salsa
For one of our busiest nights this week I'll be pulling this made ahead meal out of my freezer and serving it with the chips and salsa I have on hand. 


Pad Thai
I'm going to use half a package of ground pork I have in my freezer plus the leftover cilantro I purchased and the fish sauce I purchased to make this easy, delicious meal.

Buffalo chicken sandwiches with oven-baked fries
Last week, when frozen chicken breast fillets were Buy 1 Get 1 Free, I stocked up. I'll bake a few, toss with the buffalo wing sauce ($1.99) I bought today, top with crumbled blue cheese and place on toasted hoagie rolls ($1.99) that I also purchased today.  I have leftover from last week's meals. I'll bake up some frozen fries I have on hand to go with these sandwiches.

I'm going to brown the other half package of ground pork with leftover onion (from the corn chowder) and mix it with some of the mozzarella cheese ($5) I purchased today and stuff it inside some pizza dough I have in my freezer. Once baked, we will dip them in the organic tomato, basil, and herb marinara I have on hand.

What did I purchase this week?

I spent $141.86 this week
, all at Safeway. Mainly because Dan's was over-picked and the Trader Joe's parking lot was like that of Berkeley Bowl and I just couldn't bring myself to fight for a spot so I could go in. Whatever. I got everything I needed at great prices at my local Safeway. Besides the usual, weekly purchase of milk, bread, eggs, and fresh produce for the week's meals, I purchased:

  • Corn, 3@$0.99
  • Squash, $0.99/lb
  • Jimmy Dean maple breakfast sausage, Buy 1 Get 1 Free
  • Organic frozen flaxseed waffles
  • Poptarts, $1.99 plus $1.00 off one box of 12
  • Pad Thai brown rice noodles, $2.19
  • Large EZ peel frozen shrimp, $5.99/lb
  • Grapes, $1.99/lb
  • Cherries, $2.49/lb
  • 4lb bags of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, $1.99/lb
  • Flank steak, $5/lb
  • 12ct Lucerne eggs, 3@$5
We were out of fish sauce, mustard, buffalo wing sauce, tortillas, half & half, bread for french toast, and deli ham so I purchased those as well.


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