2/1 thru 2/7 #mealplanning A new budget for a new month and stocking up on BOGO deals! #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 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.
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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.


Inventory
3 portions ground turkey breast

2 portions ground brisket
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

2 portions Italian sausage

"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

Parmesan meatloaf with Italian macaroni 'n cheese and roasted broccoli
I keep seeing this meatloaf on Pinterest and decided I would try it this week. I have both the ground turkey and ground sirloin as well as most of the ingredients for the meatloaf on hand. I needed onion so I purchased a red one ($0.99/lb) that I'll use up in two additional meals! This recipe makes a lot so I'll make two smaller loaves and freeze one for later! I'm going to mix up my regular macaroni 'n cheese recipe by using Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in the sauce. I'll serve broccoli roasted with olive oil, garlic, and sat & pepper with the meatloaf as well because S&W frozen vegetables were "Buy 2 Get 2 Free" this week.

 
Tequila-soaked grilled shrimp tacos with mango salsa and chips and guacamole
Large EZ-Peel shrimp was $5/lb this week so I stocked up and will have David grill them for tacos. YUM! I needed lime juice and zest for the marinade (4@$1) and mangos (2@$1), some of the red onion I bought for the meatloaf, and cilantro for the mango salsa. I also decided to make some guacamole to use up some more of the red onion, cilantro, and limes. I just needed to purchase avocados ($1 each).


Pad Thai  
Brown rice Pad Thai noodles were $1.00 off through the Just4U app so I purchased two boxes and, because I was already purchasing limes and cilantro for the shrimp tacos, I decided to add this meal to the menu. I have all other ingredients on hand except green onion, which I purchased for $0.99. 
 
Smoked brisket cheeseburgers on homemade brioche buns and sweet potato wedges
We knew we'd be having these cheeseburgers on SuperBowl Sunday so I purchased a 4lb brisket ($2.49/lb) and had the butcher grind it up. It will yield four portions! I decided to make my super easy brioche burger buns to go with them so I also purchased bread flour ($2.79) and yeast ($1.99). I needed an organic tomato to top my burger ($2.99/lb) and we decided to serve grilled sweet potato wedges with the burgers so I also purchased sweet potatoes ($0.79/lb).


Leftovers

Spaghetti with Italian sausage, steamed green beans and garlic bread
Open Nature french bread was on sale this week ($0.99), which made David think of my homemade Italian sausage spaghetti sauce. Because I had all the canned tomato products on hand, Italian sausage was only $3.99 and Italian linguini pasta was only $0.79, I agreed. I'll use up the rest of the red onion in my sauce so nothing goes to waste! I'll steam up a bag of the frozen green beans I purchased today and will slather the french bread with butter and granulated garlic for a side of garlic bread. This meal makes leftovers for at least two lunches for me this week, yea!

Orange chicken and broccoli over brown rice
To use up the green onion I purchased for the Pad Thai, I'll make two servings of my orange chicken sauce, eating one this week and freezing the other. I have every other ingredient on hand for this meal!

What did I purchase this week?

I got $319.00 worth of groceries for only $115.68 this week! I love Safeway's BOGO events!!!

The Buy 1/2 Get 1/2 Free items I stocked up on include:
  • S&W frozen vegetables
  • Vlasik pickles
  • McCormick rubs
  • State Fair frozen corndogs
  • Driscoll 1lb strawberries
Other deals I took advantage of include:
  • 6pk Lucerne yogurt, $1.88, limit 3 - purchased 3 weeks worth as they have March expiration dates
  • 32oz Lucerne shredded cheeses, $5 - I bought Mexican blend and Monterrey Jack
  • 96oz frozen tator tots, $4.49 plus $0.50 coupon
  • 2lb EZPeel large shrimp, $5/lb ($3.00 savings!)
  • Open Nature french bread, $0.99 ($1.00 savings!) - for sandwiches and garlic bread
  • Green Giant steamers frozen peas, 3@$5 - the kids love these for dinner
  • Dreyer's Ice cream, $2.49 plus $0.50 coupon
Our fairly typical weekly purchases include:
  • 2% milk, $3.49
  • Deli ham, $5/lb
  • Maple syrup, $14.99
  • Apricot preserves, $2.99 plus $1.00 coupon
  • Annie's organic vegetarian refried black beans, $2.49 - the kids eat a lot of nachos and quesadillas
  • Bananas, $0.79/lb
  • 2lb baby carrots, $2.50 - excellent for our daily lunches!
  • Organic fuji apples, $1.99/lb
  • Pears, $1.49/lb
  • 18oz organic blueberries, $6.99 - snacks and blueberry pancakes!
  • Totino's frozen pizzas, $1.49 each - Emily's newest obsession and I can't make them cheaper
  • Seedless grapes, $1.99/lb  
I also purchased baking powder because I was out and a bottle of Angry Orchard apple hard cider for David to enjoy during the SuperBowl.

How's your meal planning journey going?

Any trouble spots? 

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