8/31 thru 9/6 #mealplanning when you have family in town. #cooking #motherhood

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.

8 portions ground turkey breast

1 portions pork shoulder/butt
1 portions ground brisket 
4 portions boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 portions pre-formed turkey patties for burgers
4 portions Brats

1 portion Italian sausage
1 portion made-ahead meatloaf
3 portions made-ahead calzones

"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

Pulled pork sandwiches with broccoli slaw, baked beans, and potato salad
It's David's birthday this weekend and smoking a pork butt all day is what he chose for his birthday dinner. I'll make potato salad and baked beans to serve with it. This meal only cost me the can of Bush's baked beans ($1.19).

Orange chicken with Asian-style vegetables over brown rice
I'm pulling one portion of made-ahead orange sauce out of my freezer and combining it with the bag of frozen, Asian-style vegetables I purchased today ($1.49) to pour over steamed, brown rice. Super quick, super easy, super delicious! We are going to be cleaning and organizing the house over the long Labor Day weekend to prepare for Gram and Aunt Jenny coming to town this week so, I need a few easy meals to have on hand.


Grilled chicken, corn on the cob, potatoes Au Gratin
Local, organic fresh corn on the cob was 6@$1 so I'll have David throw in on the pit as he's grilling up chicken for the week to an easy, weeknight meal. I'll make his favorite, potatoes Au Gratin to serve with it, which means I had to purchase Fontina cheese today ($5.19). I had everything else on hand for this meal.

Lettuce wraps
My mom and sister's favorite! I had to purchase green onions ($0.49), organic Iceburg lettuce ($0.99), mushrooms (2@$5), and water chesnuts ($0.79). I'll double the recipe by using an entire package of ground turkey so we will have leftovers to eat for lunch one day. :)

Chicken Parmesan sandwiches with oven-baked tator tots
Because of my Costco run recently, I had everything I needed on hand to make Chicken Parmesan; however, David didn't want to serve it over pasta. Instead of pasta, he wanted to make sandwiches out of it so, I purchased french Hoagie rolls ($2.50) and a bag of frozen tator tots ($2.99 at Trader Joe's).

What did I purchase this week?

I spent $211.39 between Safeway and Trader Joe's today. That's a LOT! But I needed double the amount of daily basics because we have family in town this week. 

I purchased:
  • bread, $1.99
  • eggs, $1.99 at Trader Joe's
  • deli ham & cheese, $5/lb
  • breakfast sausages, 5@$5
  • yogurt, $2.49/6pk
  • organic berries, 3@$5
  • grapes,  $1.99/lb
  • canned organic black beans, $1.00 off when you buy 2
  • organic peaches, $0.99/lb
  • organic nectarines, $0.89/lb
  • pears, $0.79/lb
  • plums, $0.99/lb
I stocked up on these Buy 1 Get 1 Free specials:
  • Vlasic pickles
  • Safeway brand ketch-up
  • Purewall blueberries
  • Dried snap peas
  • Fresh pizza dough 
  • Kraft sliced cheese snacks 
 For quick and easy lunches, I purchased frozen pot pies (2@$6), broccoli & cheddar quiches ($1.99), Campbell's condenced soups to make chicken spaghetti ($1.99/ea), tortillas, and brown rice Pad Thai noodles ($1.99) and cilantro ($0.49) to make Pad Thai. 


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