9/14 thru 9/20 #mealplanning with only $75 this week. #cooking #just4u #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

3 portions boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 portions pre-formed turkey patties for burgers
4 portions Brats

1 portion Italian sausage
1 portion made-ahead meatloaf
1 portion made-ahead lasagna
2 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

Grilled chicken Ceasar salad
Having David throw a few extra chicken breasts on the grill is a super easy way to create meals throughout the week, which is what I'm doing with this salad. I purchased organic Romaine hearts ($1.99 at Trader Joe's) and croutons ($0.99 at Safeway) and have everything else I need for the dressing on hand.

Sloppy Joe's with chips
Manwich was on sale ($0.82) so I purchased a few cans plus a package of hamburger buns ($2.00) and can whip up a yummy, easy weeknight meal. I'll serve either potato chips or tortilla chips with salsa that I have on hand.

Date night out

Kung Pao chicken over brown rice
I purchased green onions ($0.99 at Trader Joe's) as well as a bag of brown Jasmine rice ($3.99) and have all the ingredients for the sauce on hand. I'll use frozen broccoli I have in my freezer to round out this meal. 

Chicken spaghetti
I saw Pioneer Woman makes this on her show last weekend and it reminded me of my childhood as this meal graced our dinner table countless times. It's a classic, easy, one pot casserole that everyone loves! I made it a bit more healthy by using Quinoa pasta that I had on hand rather than regular spaghetti. I purchased Campbell's condensed cream of chicken and cream of mushroom soups ($0.89) and a can of green chili's ($1.49). I had organic diced tomatoes and cheddar cheese on hand. This recipe makes two casseroles worth so, we'll eat one and freeze the other.

Enchiladas verdes 
I found a package of corn tortillas in my freezer, which made me think of enchiladas so, I checked the price of Monterrey Jack cheese (on sale $2.50 for 12oz) and cilantro ($0.49) and decided to add it to my list. I have the verde salsa and sour cream on hand so this meal cost me less than $3.00. I'll serve pre-made guacamole (purchased and froze a few weeks ago from Costco) and chips on the side. 

What did I purchase this week?

I spent $66.85 between Costco, Safeway, and Trader Joe's this week. That's it!  

As I do every week, I purchased basics for our breakfasts, lunches, and snacks including:
  • 100% whole wheat sandwich bread, $1.99
  • French toast bread, 2@$3
  • Bacon, $3.99
  • Organic milk, $5
  • Organic vanilla yogurt, $2.99
  • 10 power grain frozen waffles, $2.49
  • Deli ham, $5/lb
  • Deli colby jack cheese, $5/lb
  • Odwalla bars 10@$10 plus $1.00 off every 5 bars
  • Bananas, $0.49/lb
  • Organic peaches, $1.99/lb
  • Plums, $1.49
  • Organic green & purple grapes (not pictured, purchased at Costco a few days ago), $1.68/lb
I also took advantage of sales, coupons, and Just4U specials through Safeway on the following:
  • Jiffy cornbread mix, $0.45
  • Muller yogurt & fruit mousse, $1.00 plus $0.50 off when you buy 3+
  • Brown rice pad thai noodles, $2.67 
  • Old El Paso taco shells, $1.99 plus $0.60 off when you buy 2+
  • Brown sugar, $1.00 off coupon
  • Simply dressed champagne vinegar salad dressing, FREE through Just4U


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