2/15 thru 2/21 #mealplanning Family in town = higher grocery bill, right?!? Nope. #glutenfree #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.

Are you following me along in my gluten-free healthy lifestyle journey? If not, I encourage you to read it HERE as it will effect my meal planning, though not by much. :)

I'm still cooking my family's favorite meals, I'm simply substituting gluten-free and/or healthier options in place of those wheat products that contain gluten. I've been reading the book Wheat Belly along with assessing my own health and have decided that a gluten-free life is really what's best for me and my family. I'm doing my best to get my whole family involved though I'm practically dragging my garlic-bread-loving husband along at this point. haha!
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.


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

1 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

Chicken fajitas on corn tortillas with chips and guacamole
I have corn tortillas in my freezer as well as Mexican-style shredded cheese and with Gram in town, I though about fajitas. I had to purchase organic spinach ($3.49 at Costco for 1lb!) and grape tomatoes ($3.99 at Trader Joe's) for the fajita topping and avocados ($1 each) and cilantro ($0.49) for the guacamole. This meal will make for at least two days of lunches for the week as well.

Brisket and bean chili over polenta
I saw the 2lb portion of ground brisket in the freezer and felt inspired to make chili out of it since I won't be eating hamburgers on my gluten-free journey. Cooking Light has an excellent recipe that had me needing to purchase pasilla peppers ($0.79/lb), a sweet onion ($0.69/lb), a green bell pepper ($1), and a bag of polenta ($3.49). I had the canned organic tomato products and beans. I'll freezer half this recipe into two portions for future use.

Chicken picatta over brown rice pasta with roasted cauliflower
I purchased an all purpose gluten-free flour made by King Author ($4.99) at Safeway and was excited to try it out so, with all the boneless, skinless chicken breasts in my freezer and brown rice pasta in my pantry, I decided on picatta. I have capers in the fridge, parsley in my garden (still!) and tons of Meyer lemons in my fruit basket. I saw the head of cauliflower that went uneaten last week and decided I would slice it thinly (like Iceburg lettuce!) and roast it with olive oil, salt and pepper to serve with this meal. 


Kung Pao shrimp and snow peas over brown rice
I love snow peas and wanted to eat them again this week so, when I saw the 2lbs of shrimp in my freezer, I thought about Asian food. We haven't had Kung Pao shrimp in months so, I purchased dried red chilis ($1.99) and a bag of snow peas ($1.49) and will serve it over brown rice that I have in my pantry.

BBQ chicken pizza
With all the leftover chicken we'll have from fajitas, David suggested BBQ chicken pizza. Ugh. How do you make pizza dough gluten-free? Well, Bob's Red Mill knows how so, I purchased a bag of their pizza dough starter (that I just add liquid to) and will give it a try. I have leftover green onion and bacon and BBQ sauce so, I just had to purchase frozen pineapple tidbits ($3.49 at Trader Joe's). I'll use up any leftover cilantro as well.

Vodka cream sauce with shrimp and broccoli over quinoa spaghetti 
Because I'll be thawing out the entire bag of frozen shrimp, I needed to use up the remaining 1lb and thought I'd try out this meal. I have the canned organic tomato sauce and Vodka as well as a bag of frozen broccoli in the freezer and a box of quinoa spaghetti in the pantry. So, this meal cost me nothing this week.

What did I purchase this week?

I spent $108.90 this week between Costco, Safeway and Trader Joe's, mostly on fresh produce.

At Costco I purchased (items not shown because I shopped Friday and forgot to take a photo):
  • 2- 24ct eggs, $3.79 each
  • 3- 18oz organic raspberries, $4.99 each
  • 18oz organic blueberries, $9.99
  • Tillamook medium cheddar, $8.49
  • Kraft 96oz cheese slices, $9.99
  • 10lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, $2.99/lb
Other than what I mentioned above, at Safeway I purchased:
  • 100% whole wheat bread, $1.99 - David eats it still for sandwiches, grilled cheese, toast
  • 48oz frozen Egg waffles, $3.99
  • 2- 6pk Lucerne yogurt, $2.19/each
  • 2- 8oz Quinoa dried pasta, $1.69/each
  • Deli ham, $4.99/lb
  • 2 Gerber Puffs, 2@$3
  • Sundried tomatoes, $4.99
  • Pears, $1.49/lb
  • Green apples, $0.99/lb
  • Organic fuji apples, $1.99/lb
  • Raw almonds, $4.99/lb
  • 3- 1lb strawberries, $2.99
  • Seedless grapes, $1.99/lb
  • Miniature watermelon, $3.99/each
  • Sweet potatoes, $0.99/lb
  • Fresh ginger, $2.99/lb
  • 2lb baby carrots, $1.49
Other than what I mentioned above, at Trader Joe's I purchased:
  • JoJo's cookies, $2.99
  • Frozen macaroni 'n cheese, $3.99 - the only kind the kids will eat these days and they love it!
  • Frozen blueberry scones, $2.99 - Emily's favorite breakfast
  • Frozen precooked quinoa, $3.99 - to make snacks easier this busy week
  • Frozen swedish pancakes, $3.99
  • Bananas, $0.19/each
  • Snow peas, $1.49

Going gluten-free is a lifestyle choice I AM MAKING -
I am not forcing my husband or kids to do the same. I am swapping things they won't notice for gluten-free options but I'm not going to upend their lives and take away their favorites foods. In saying that, you'll still see foods that contain gluten being purchased by me for them.


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