11/2 thru 11/8 #mealplanning for under $100 including organic produce?!? Yep, I sure did! #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

3 portions flank steak
2 portions pork shoulder
2 portions boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 portions pre-formed turkey patties for burgers
3 portions Brats

4 portions plain pork sausage
2 portions Italian sausage
3 portions made-ahead meatballs
2 portions made-ahead spinach stuffed shells
1 portion made-ahead meatloaf
1 portion 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

Smoked pulled pork sandwiches, potato salad, baked beans
While my mom and I were gone shopping for an entire day, David smoked the pork shoulder I purchased last week. Once pulled, we mixed in some BBQ sauce and served it on Kaiser rolls ($1.99) with dill pickles. OMG YUM!! I used some of the potatoes I had left in my pantry to make old fashion potato salad as well as the baked beans ($1.88) I purchased today to serve with the sandwiches. I'm going to use up the rest of the pulled pork to make smothered burritos later in the week.

Grilled chicken with bacon & swiss cheese and grilled asparagus
Who doesn't love chicken smothered with bacon and melted swiss cheese?!?! What an easy meal, too because I'm using some of the extra chicken David grilled over the weekend and the swiss I purchased for only $5/lb. I'll also have him grill up the bundle of asparagus I have left from last week's haul to serve with it. 


Date Night dinner out

New York Strip Steak with blue cheese butter, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus
I'm pulling the steaks from my freezer to have David grill for my mom's last night in town. I'll roast the head of garlic I have and mix it with the last of the potatoes I have in my pantry to make roasted garlic mashed potatoes. I'll garnish with chives from my garden. We will also eat the rest of the grilled asparagus from the day before's meal. 

Lettuce wraps
Another easy weeknight meal is lettuce wraps: half a package of ground turkey mixed with onion, mushrooms, green onion ($0.99), sliced water chestnuts ($0.79), and my yummy sauce. You just spoon the filling into organic Iceburg lettuce cups ($1.99). This meal makes enough for leftovers, which is my favorite part!

Hatch chili & pork smothered burritos
To use up the leftover pulled pork, I will combine it with some of the roasted Hatch green chili sauce I purchased at Costco last month, stuff it inside tortillas along with some brown Spanish-style rice, smother it in red enchilada sauce ($1.79), and Monterey Jack cheese ($7.49). I'll probably get about 10 burritos out of this so I'll freeze them (before adding the sauce and cheese on top) for future meals.

What did I purchase this week?

I spent under $100 this week, woo hoo! $93.51 to be exact.

I purchased our usual, weekly fare including:
  • deli ham and cheese, $5/lb
  • 18ct eggs, $2.49/ea, limit 2
  • Half 'n half, $2.49
  • 6pk Lucerne yogurt, $1.49
  • Green and purple seedless grapes, $1.18/lb
  • Organic raspberries, $2.99/ea
  • Organic strawberries, $3.99
  • Organic honeycrisp apples, $2.49/lb
  • Organic pears, $1.99/lb
  • French toast bread, 2@$4
  • La Tortilla Factory 15ct tortillas, $2.99
I also purchased Steamers frozen sweet peas (3@$4) to serve throughout the week with the kids dinners, Stubb's BBQ sauce ($4.99) for our pulled pork dinner, Hoisin sauce (on sale, $1.79) and Sesame oil (on sale, $1.19) for a future meal, Dole pineapple slices ($1.00) for a future meal, baby carrots ($2.00), and Nutri-grain bars (Buy 1, Get 1 Free). I always purchase items when they are on sale especially when they have a good shelf life or a late expiration date.


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