6/22 thru 6/28 #mealplanning When planning to buy ingredients for one meal, see how you can use them all up in another meal to complete your weekly meal plan and reduce waste! #motherhood #cooking #kids

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

1 portion salmon
2 portions ground beef

1 portions pork shoulder/butt
1 portions pork tenderloin

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

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

Salmon burgers with balsamic potato salad
When organizing the freezer on Thursday afternoon to prepare for Friday's shopping trip, frozen salmon fell out ontop of me. I decided it was a sign I needed to use it this week. I had the mustard and crackers on hand so all I had to purchase was buns ($0.99). I'll freeze the rest of the buns for future use. For the balsamic potato salad, I had to purchase a 5lb bag of organic yukon gold potatoes ($3.99 at Trader Joe's) - I'll use these in mashed potatoes later in the week, bacon (I stocked up because it was BOGO), and green onion (2@$1).

Smoked pork tenderloin-stuffed herb biscuits with apricot preserves
David will smoke the remaining tenderloin we have in the freezer on the pit outside on Saturday. I'll slice it thin and pile it high on my home-made herb buttermilk biscuits, which I'll slather with apricot preserves. Yum! I only had to purchase buttermilk ($0.99) - I'll use later in my "fried" chicken recipe for this meal. 

Buttermilk "fried" chicken over mashed potatoes
Corn flakes in my pantry and remaining buttermilk made me think of this meal. It's super easy and you just bake it in the oven! I'll use up the potatoes I purchased today for a side dish of mashed potatoes. I'll also serve some cut up fruit to cut all the savory flavors.


Orange chicken and snow peas over brown rice
One of my most prized recipes, my orange sauce, has been on my mind lately. When I saw organic tomato sauce was going to be on sale and had green onion remaining from the balsamic potato salad, I decided to put this on this week's menu. I'll make at least a double batch, maybe a triple batch to use up all the ingredients and have it in my freezer for easy, future use. I had to purchase oranges (5lb bag for only $2.99 - the kids will eat these as snacks this week, and a package of snow peas ($2.49 at Trader Joe's).

Turkey Helper
This meal is comfort food to the max and super easy (and cheap!). I have Velveeta, ketch-up, dried macaroni, and ground turkey on hand so this meal cost me nothing this week. I can't wait to curl up on the couch with a bowl of this while watching the Real Housewives of Orange County or New Jersey this week. :)

Brats with oven-baked fries 
This meal could NOT be easier and consists of throwing everything onto a sheet pan lined with parchment and baking it. Well, once I crisp up the skins of the brats in a skillet, that is. This meal cost me nothing as I have hoagie rolls and all the condiments on hand. David has soccer twice this week until 10pm and this is the kind of "cooking" I want to do on those late nights. 

What did I purchase this week?
 I spent only $138.79 between Trader Joe's and Safeway and got ALL THIS!

Besides my weekly purchase of fresh produce (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and cantaloupe were all Buy 1 Get 1 Free, organic peaches were $0.99/lb, organic fuji apples were $2.19/lb, naval oranges were $2.99 for a 5lb bag, and grapes were $1.99/lb) for the week's meals, eggs, bread, deli meats & cheeses, and yogurt, I had to purchase buttermilk ($1.99), frozen corn dogs ($2.99), peanut butter crackers ($2.49), dried strawberries ($3.99), whole grain apple sticks snacks ($1.99), raisins ($2.99), and hamburger buns ($0.99). I wanted to make a lemon meringue pie for dessert over the weekend and a quiche so I also purchased a 2pk of frozen pie crusts.

I also decided to take advantage of some great Just4U deals and stock up on:
  • Whole wheat English muffins, Buy 1 Get 1 Free
  • Farmland bacon, Buy 1 Get 1 Free
  • Oscar Mayer turkey weiners, 3@$5
  • Organic tomato sauce, 2@$3
  • Stubb's chicken marinade, $3.99
  • Grand's biscuits, $0.99/ea
  • Tyson breaded chicken tenders, $4.99


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