1/25 thru 2/7 #mealplanning with only $230.00 left for the month! #motherhood #cooking #kids

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 also find a link to a detailed example from start to finish of my own weekly meal planning where I walk you through step-by-step. I perform the same steps every week as I have outlined below.

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.

I increased my inventory with the items I purchased over the weekend at Costco in THIS post.

3 portions ground turkey breast

1 portions ground sirloin
4 portions pork tenderloin
2 portions flank steak
2 portions stew meat
6 portions boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 portions pre-formed turkey patties for burgers
3 portions Brats

"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

Dinner out

Chicken Parmesan with garlicky mashed potatoes and wedge salad with herb vinaigrette and blue cheese crumbles
I really wanted to use the remaining four Russet potatoes in my pantry so I asked David what he wanted to eat with garlicky mashed potatoes. He said chicken Parmesan. I said okay! I have a ball of fresh mozzarella in the freezer as well as bread crumbs and jarred marinara sauce in the pantry. I also have leftover Iceburg lettuce and all the ingredients I need to make my herb vinaigrette dressing so, we'll have a salad to go with this meal. 

Smoked pork tenderloin stuffed inside herb biscuits with apricot preserves and roasted Brussels sprouts
One of my very favorite meals because some of the flavors of Thanksgiving come through. I'll have David grill one pack (two tenderloins come in a pack) and we'll slice it thinly and stack in inside freshly baked herb biscuits (I have rosemary and thyme in my garden). We love to spread apricot preserves on this sandwich! I plan to roast the Brussels Sprouts I bought at Costco to serve with this meal. I'll eat leftovers of this meal for lunch at least once this week.

Turkey tacos with chips & queso
All those boxes of taco shells and Velveeta I purchased a few weeks back yelled "tacos" at me while I was shopping around my kitchen for meal ideas. I have almost every ingredient to make this meal including the onion and garlic to brown the turkey with, leftover Iceburg lettuce and grape tomatoes, shredded Mexican-style cheese, and cans of Rotel. The only thing I had to purchase was a bag of tortilla chips.


Baked tortellini
Because I am thawing out the ball of fresh mozzarella for the Chicken Parmesan earlier in the week, I wanted to make another meal to use it all up. I have chicken & proscuitto tortellini in my freezer that I'll toss with jarred marinara sauce and the mozzarella and bake it covered at 350 for 40-45 minutes. Super cheap, super easy, super delicious! It's a spin off on all those baked ravioli recipes I keep seeing on Pinterest.

Buffalo chicken sandwiches with blue cheese dressing and oven fries
We have four last breaded chicken strips in our freezer, Buffalo wing sauce in the fridge, and the blue cheese and hoagie rolls I just purchased from Costco so, this meal came to mind. I also have the sour cream and mayo I'll need to make the blue cheese dressing.
What did I purchase this week?

I spent $82.62 between Costco and Safeway this week. I got a lot of great stuff for next to nothing!
  • Frozen spinach & mozzarella ravioli, $8.99
  • 24ct eggs, $3.99
  • Little Debbit oatmeal cream pies, $1.79 - Emily insisted on buying these because several kids in her class have them in their lunch boxes. How could I say no?!? :)
  • 100% whole wheat sandwich bread, $1.99
  • Boudain sourdough croutons, $3.99
  • Feta cheese crumbles, $3.99
  • Raspberry preserves, $3.99
  • BareFruit organic apple chips, $4.99
  • Bananas, $0.79/lb
  • Organic gala apples, $1.99/lb
  • Cliff Kids ZBars, $10.99
  • Organic oat and honey bars, $9.99
  • 2 20ct Guerro tortillas, $3.49
  • 6ct brown rice & quinoa microwave pouches, $6.99
  • Star extra virgin olive oil, Buy 1 Get 1 Free
  • Weber Kickin Chicken dry rub, Buy 1 Get 1 Free
  • Pears, $1.49/lb
  • 8lbs Cara oranges, $6.99
  • 2 Tostito's tortilla chips, 2@$5
  • 10lbs sugar, $3.99
  • 18oz raspberries, $3.49
  • 18oz organic blueberries, $9.99
  • Deli turkey, $6.99/lb
  • Seedless purple grapes, 3lbs $2.99/lb  


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