6/8 thru 6/14 #mealplanning for less than $100. That includes breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner for 4 y'all! #motherhood #cooking #kids #toddlers

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
2 portions ground pork
1 portions pork tenderloin

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

1 portions shrimp
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

Brisket cheeseburgers with grilled sweet potato wedges
Oh how I love smoked brisket. You really shouldn't be surprised to see this on a menu once or twice a month at this point. :) I purchased a 5lb bag of sweet potatoes for only $2.99 at Trader Joe's and we all walked down to Feel Good Bakery to grab gourmet hamburger buns for $5 over the weekend.

Lettuce wraps
A super easy meal that costs next to nothing and is full of vegetables! I had to purchase Iceburg ($0.99), shredded carrots ($1.49), an onion ($0.69), and a can of water chestnuts ($0.87) to make this meal. I had all the other ingredients on hand. I'll only use 1/3 of a package of ground turkey for this meal so I will make tacos later in the week to use up the rest of the turkey and the onion. 

Grilled chicken with arugula pesto sandwiches
My garden is exploding with herbs, particularly parsley so I went looking for a pesto/chimichurri/sauce that would take advantage of my abundance and found arugula pesto. I had to purchase organic arugula ($1.99 at Trader Joe's) for this meal but that's it. I had all the other ingredients including marinade for my chicken and hoagie rolls in my freezer. 


Crispy tacos with chips and salsa
I always have a "stretching" meal on the menu. That one (or two!) meal that will use up ingredients I have on hand and/or that I purchased for other meals so that nothing goes to waste for the week. This is that meal. I'll use up the remaining ground turkey and onion for the filling and will use up the remaining arugula for garnishing lettuce. I purchased extra-sharp cheddar ($2.85) and an organic tomato ($0.45) for this meal.

Garlicky-baked shrimp over brown rice fusili  
Who doesn't love to just throw some ingredients in a casserole dish and bake it? Shrimp, garlic, breadcrumbs, white wine, and butter make this meal and I have it all on hand so this meal cost me nothing this week.

French toast and bacon 
Breakfast for dinner is something we haven't done in a while so it's on the menu this week. I purchased "french toast" bread (2@$4) and will use up 6 egg whites of the 24 I purchased this week ($2.19/doz). I have everything else on hand including bacon in my freezer.

  What did I purchase this week?

I spent less than $100 this week. $91.65 to be exact.  

Besides what I mentioned above in my meal planning, I also purchased:
  • Orange juice, $4.88
  • English muffins, 2@$3
  • Organic chocolate milk, $4.19 (Emily's only milk consumption)
  • Plain organic fat-free yogurt, $2.99
  • 1.5lbs deli ham, $5/lb
  • Grade A maple syrup, $17
  • Freeze-dried strawberries, $2.99
  • Organic raisins, $2.99
  • Organic blackberries, $2.99
  • Bananas
  • Organic pears, $2.19/lb
  • Organic pink lady apples, $0.89/ea
  • Seedless grapes, $1.88/lb
  • 4lbs whole carrots (David uses these for fresh juicing)
  • Organic strawberries, $3.99/ea


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