9/28 thru 10/4 #mealplanning Spending the day chopping onions so I can use them all week long! #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.

6 portions ground turkey breast

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

1 portions flank steak
1 portion Italian sausage
2 portions pork sausage - forgot to add these last week!
1 portions gulf shrimp
1 portion made-ahead meatloaf
1 portion made-ahead lasagna
1 portion made-ahead enchiladas Verdes
1 portion made-ahead chicken spaghetti

"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

Italian sausage calzones with marinara sauce
I will brown one portion of the pork sausage above with onions and garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, dried marjoram and dried oregano and then mix it with 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese I have leftover from a few weeks back and stuff it inside one of the pre-made wheat pizza dough portions ($1.19) I purchased today. I'll freeze the other portion of pizza dough for calzones some other week. I served the calzones with jarred Organic marinara sauce I have on hand. 

Potato soup
If you haven't tried Pioneer Woman's potato soup yet you really are missing out. It's easy, doesn't require many ingredients and what it does require, most of you will already have on hand. It's also cheap! I will use the remainder of the 10lb bag of potatoes I purchased from Costco a while back; onions, garlic, and carrots I have in my pantry; fresh thyme and fresh chives from my garden; half & half and cheddar cheese I have in my fridge; and the organic celery I purchased today ($1.99).

Pad Thai
I make this just about every week because it's so healthy, so delicious, and so cheap to make! I have the brown rice noodles on hand because I stocked up a few weeks ago including all the ingredients for the sauce and the ground turkey. I purchased additional eggs (3- 12ct for $5)as we like to double the egg in this receipt and cut back on the ground turkey and I also needed cilantro ($0.49). 

Brats with oven-baked fries
Illness had us eating leftovers twice last week so, this meal is back on the menu for this week. I have everything on hand so this meal cost me nothing this week.


Spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread
David requested this meal this week after seeing the garlic bread in the freezer. Lucky for me, I had everything I needed to make it on hand including the brown rice spaghetti noodles, organic crushed and diced tomatoes, organic tomato paste, onions, garlic, dried herbs, and fresh basil from my garden, and the Italian sausage I purchased last week in my freezer. This meal cost me nothing this week.

Taco soup with corn chips
Two soccer games, a Girl Scout meeting, and a Go Green committee meeting has me tapped out for the week so, I'm letting my Crockpot and canned goods do all the work for this meal later in the week. I will use the remaining ground turkey from the Pad Thai plus some onions and garlic I have on hand to start. I'll add the pinto ($0.89) and kidney ($0.89) beans, organic corn kernals ($1.09), mild Rotel ($0.75 each when you purchase 4 PLUS $1.00 off the total), taco seasoning (Buy 2, Get 2 Free), and Ranch dressing mix ($1.99) I purchased today as well as the organic tomato sauce I have on hand and remaining cilantro from the Pad Thai. I'll let it sit all day, about 9 hours on low, spoon it over Frito's ($1.99), and top it with shredded cheddar cheese. 

What did I purchase this week?

I only spent $94.02 today and got all that!!!

Besides our weekly milk ($2.49), yogurt (6pk, $1.49), eggs (3-12ct for $5), deli ham ($5/lb), and fresh produce for the week's meals including: plums ($0.99/lb), organic peaches ($2.19/lb), organic pears ($1.99/lb), organic honeycrisp apples ($2.49/lb), red & green seedless grapes (3lbs for $5), I also stocked up on some great deals including:
  • Olay fresh effects, on sale $4.99 plus $1.50 off coupon 
  • Brown sugar, $1.49
  • Lucerne 32oz shredded cheese, $5
  • Ziploc 40ct gallon-sized bags, 2@$6 plus $1.00 coupon when you buy 2 or more
  • Canadian bacon slices, on sale $2.49 plus $1.00 coupon
  • Quinoa pasta- all shapes, $1.50 when you buy 4 or more
  • Pringles, $1.00 when you buy 4 or more
  • Rotel, $0.75 when you buy 4 or more plus $1.00 coupon
  • Santita's tortilla chips, 2@$4
  • Safeway frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts, $1.19/lb  


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