6/15 thru 6/21 #mealplanning Busting the weekly #budget to take advantage of sales and stock the freezer! #motherhood #toddlers #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

1 portions pork shoulder/butt
1 portions pork tenderloin

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

1 portions ribs
2 portions made-ahead lasagna
2 portions made-ahead calzones
2 portions made-ahead chimichangas

"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

Grilled chicken fajitas with chips & guacamole
With boneless, skinless chicken breasts on a Just4U sale of only $1.88/lb, (I stocked my freezer- I think I purchased just shy of 20lbs!), limes on a Just4U sale of 6@$1, and cilantro 2@$0.50, I decided to purchase enough ingredients to make my fajita marinade x3! I had 3 oranges leftover from last week, chipotles in adobo in my pantry, and plenty of ground cumin so the only thing left I needed to purchase for this meal was corn tortillas ($1.49) and mexican-style shredded cheese ($5 on Just4U sale). For the guacamole I purchased an onion ($0.90), avocados (4@$5), and tortilla chips (2@$5).

Ribs, potato salad, and grilled corn on the cob
For Father's Day, David wanted to smoke a rack of ribs ($2.99/lb) and for me to make southern-style, old fashioned potato salad. You know the kind, with the hardboiled eggs, pickles, and mixture of mayo and mustard. I've eaten a ton of it but never made it myself so, I asked my dad for his recipe. I had to purchase sweet pickles ($2.19), 5lb Organic potatoes ($4.49), and mayo ($3.45 - yikes that stuff is expensive!!!). I also purchased corn on the cob (8@$2) to grill alongside the ribs. 

Lasagna with garlic bread
While cleaning out the fridge/freezer (you know that annoying "spring cleaning" chore we're all supposed to do?), I saw a log of goat cheese. Then, I saw the glass jars of organic crushed tomatoes in my pantry and my basil plant bursting in my garden, which made me think of lasagna! I had to purchase lasagna noodle sheets ($1 Just4U deal), ricotta ($4.99), and 1lb Italian sausage ($3.49). I'll use some of the large onion I purchased for the guacamole as well as the garlic, tomato paste, EVOO, dried marjoram, and other spices I have on hand to finish the sauce. I'll layer the noodles and sauce with the ricotta/goat cheese filling and shredded mozzarella I purchased today ($5 Just4U deal). I made a double batch of everything which yielded me 2 lasagnas for the freezer plus one to eat this week! I'll serve the lasagna with garlic bread I purchased today (2@$3).


Pretzel-coated chicken with a honey-mustard glaze over mashed potatoes
I pinned this recipe on Pinterest and we can't wait to try it out. It's a basic breaded chicken breast, fried or baked (I'm doing baked) but instead of bread crumbs, you substitute crushed pretzels. I have an unopened bag in my pantry and all the ingredients to make the glaze. I'll use some of the organic red potatoes I purchased for the potato salad.

Roasted cauliflower and aged cheddar soup
Another recipe I pinned on Pinterest. It's a spin on potato soup and looks really great! I have bacon on hand as well as celery and carrots. I'll use up the remaining onion I purchased for the guacamole. I had to purchase a head of organic cauliflower ($1.99) and aged white cheddar cheese ($3.19).

Chimichangas with chips & salsa
For a night off from cooking, I'll pull these out of my freezer, pop them in the oven and serve with with some chips and salsa. This meal cost me next to nothing this week!

What did I purchase this week?

I totally blew my weekly budget this week in order to stock up on boneless, skinless chicken breasts, oil and cheeses in addition to all the additional produce I need to have on hand with Emily out of school and home snacking all day! I spent $226.01. 

The best deals at Safeway this week through their coupons and Just4U program included:
  • Cage-free, hormone-free 18ct eggs, $3.99
  • Oscar Mayer turkey weiners, 3@$5 - my kids love these!
  • Barilla 50% veggies dried pastas, $1
  • Chunklite tuna pouches, $5@$4
  • Safeway oils, Buy 1 Get 1 Free
  • Lucerne cheeses 32oz, $5/ea
  • Safeway 2pk frozen pie crusts, $1.99 - I'm making a quiche with one
  • Local corn on the cob, 8@$2
  • 2lb organic strawberries, $4.99
  • Boar's head Virginia deli ham, $5/lb
  • Progresso bread crumbs, $0.99
I also purchased bread, organic milk, organic yogurt, bananas, organic fuji apples, organic pears, grapes, watermelon, organic raspberries, and organic blackberries for this week's breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. I was out of Kosher salt and frozen peas (I love the ones you steam in the bag!) so I purchased those as well. For my quiche I needed sun-dried tomatoes so I bought a bag of those. I also purchased mushrooms and an heirloom tomato to layer with fried eggs for breakfast one morning and with mozzarella cheese and basil for lunch one day. I also purchased a package of turkey Smokies (those little weiners) to roll up in biscuits for the kids to eat for breakfast. They love them!


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