12/28 thru 1/3 #mealplanning for the new year meant stocking up at #Costco and spending nearly $300! #motherhood #cooking

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

2 portions New York strip steak
3 portions ground sirloin
10 portions boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 portions pre-formed turkey patties for burgers
3 portions Brats

2 portions plain pork sausage
1 portions Italian sausage
1 portions made-ahead spinach stuffed shells
1 portions made-ahead pulled pork smothered burritos
1 portion made-ahead chicken spaghetti
1 portion made ahead sun-dried tomato pesto

"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 and 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

Cheeseburgers with oven-baked french fries
With buns in the freezer and plenty of ground sirloin, all I could think about after the turkey-filled holidays was cheeseburgers. Juicy, thick, cheesy cheeseburgers!!! I love mine with tomatoes so I purchased an organic tomato today ($1.99/lb) and that's it. I had everything else we needed for this meal including a bag of frozen, seasoned french fries.

Pad Thai
A favorite in our house that I always have everything I need (noodles, roasted peanuts, lime juice, fish sauce, soy sauce, chili paste, and brown sugar) to make it, except Cilantro ($0.49) and green onions ($0.99), which I purchased today. I'll use half of one of the packages of ground turkey I purchased at Costco today ($3.19/lb) and save the other half for tacos later in the week. 

New York strip steaks with balsamic potato salad and wedge salad
Bone-in New York strip steaks were only $4.99/lb when you purchased them in the value pack (4 steaks) at Safeway this week so I purchased a package and will have David throw them on the pit until medium-rare. I'll serve them with my famous balsamic potato salad and a steakhouse-style wedge salad. For these side dishes I needed to purchase baby new potatoes ($1.99/lb), organic Iceburg lettuce ($2.49), and crumbled blue cheese ($4.19). I'll use up the remaining green onions from the Pad Thai and tomato from the cheeseburgers to complete this meal's ingredient list. With the extra steaks I'm having David grill, I'll serve them as steak salad early next week. With the extra blue cheese, I'll make blue cheese dressing (I have mayo and sour cream on hand) to slather on hoagie rolls for Buffalo chicken sandwiches next week as well. 

It seems breakfast for dinner will continue to show up on our weekly menus if David has anything to say about it - he loves it - so, I purchased frozen Belgian waffles today from Trader Joe's ($2.99), and frozen hashbrowns from Safeway (Buy 1 Get 1 Free). I'll also scramble some eggs and fry some bacon, which I have plenty of in my freezer. 

BBQ Chicken Pizza
I have pizza dough in my freezer that I plan to slather with BBQ sauce, shredded Tillamook cheddar I purchased today from Costco ($7.99), the last of the green onions, bacon, and chopped grilled chicken. Even though David is off work again this week, he's still grilling up some chicken breasts to eat this week and I'll just use one for this meal. 

Spaghetti with garlic bread
Another meal added at David's request is home-made spaghetti. I have onions and garlic on hand as well as Italian sausage and garlic bread in my freezer. I had to purchase canned crushed tomatoes ($2.79/ea), canned organic tomato paste (12pk only $5.99 at Costco), and fresh basil ($2.99 at Trader Joe's). I'll use the remaining fresh basil combined with a jar of sun-dried tomatoes I have in my pantry to make pesto to use next week.  
Crispy tacos with chips and salsa
This meal cost me nothing this week as I have everything on hand so it was an easy addition to our menu. I'll use up the other half of the ground turkey, Iceburg lettuce, and tomato. 

What did I purchase this week?

I spent $286.00 between Costco, Safeway, and Trader Joe's this week. It had to be done, my house was empty after having guests for a week over Christmas.

At Costco I purchased:
  •  Organic Cliff bars, regular and Z bars for kids, $10.99
  • 4pk Clorox wipes, $7.99
  • Breton crackers, $8.99 - we love cheese & crackers to snack on
  • Quaker granola bars, $6.99
  • Foster Farms corn dogs, $11.99 - half price of Safeway
  • Kitchen trash bags, $6.99
  • Odwalla juice smoothies 2pk, $3.99 - half price of Safeway and good thru Feb. 28th
  • Tillamook cheese, $7.99 - $3.00 cheaper than Safeway
  • Granola 2pk, $4.99 - 75% less than any store
  • 4pk peaches in 100% juice, $6.99
  • 4pk ground turkey, $3.19/lb - $1.50 less per pound than Safeway
  • Minced garlic, $3.99
  • Vanilla, $4.99
  • Organic Better than Boullion, $6.99
  • A-1 steak sauce, $6.19
At Safeway I purchased:
  • French toast bread (2), $2@$4
  • Orange juice, $5.00
  • Mission 10ct tortillas, $1.99Baril
  • Canned organic corn, 2@$3
  • Rotel, $0.99 each
  • (4) canned organic crushed tomatoes $2.79 each
  • Canned Annie's organic refried beans, $2.19
  • Barilla pasta varieties, 4@$5
  • Organic tomato, $1.99/lb
  • Organic Iceburg lettuce, $2.49
  • Cocoa Puffs and Mini Wheats cereals, $2.99 each
  • Sugar snap peas, $1.99
  • Organic new potatoes, $1.99/lb
  • Pears, $2.49/lb
  • Seedless grapes, $1.19/lb
  • Organic honeycrisp apples, $2.49/lb
  • Naval oranges, $0.99/lb
At Trader Joe's I purchased:
  • Vodka sauce, $1.99
  • Capers, $2.19
  • Fresh basil, $2.99
  • 18oz organic blueberries, $4.99
  • Organic peanut butter crackers, $2.99
  • Honeywheat pretzels, $1.99
  • Frozen Belgian waffles, $2.99
  • Bananas, $0.19/each 
I was beyond wrapped up in Christmas planning, wrapping, scheduling (family photos, haircuts, eye appointments) last week and completely dropped the ball on meal planning here on my blog for you all, though I did plan in the same way I always do. I hope this post helps inspire you to plan for your family and I look forward to hearing from you in this new year!


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