2/22 thru 2/28 #mealplanning Gluten-free doesn't have to mess up everything! Read about my simple substitution tips. #cooking #motherhood #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 surprisingly. :)

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.


1 portions ground sirloin
4 portions pork tenderloin
2 portions flank steak
2 portions stew meat
12 portions boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 portions pre-formed turkey patties for burgers
2 portions made-ahead brisket chili
1 portion made-ahead enchiladas Verdes
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

Going gluten-free isn't for everyone and like I've said before, I'm not going to force my husband or child to give up their favorite, familiar foods; however, I am swapping out as much as I can for gluten-free alternatives. 

A simple way I'm keeping my life gluten-free when making meals like grilled fish sandwiches, is just to serve my filet of fish over polenta, skipping the hoagie roll. Or making my enchiladas Verdes and chicken fajitas with corn tortillas not flour.

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
David always grills chicken breasts over the weekend to use in his lunches throughout the week so, I had him grill one additional breast that I'll serve over Romaine lettuce with my home made Caesar dressing. I'll also top mine with halved grape tomatoes and slivered almonds while David's gets croutons and extra Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Red-Wine braised beef with mushrooms over polenta with roasted broccoli & cauliflower
I loved this meal so very much last month that I'm making it again this week and will have it up on my blog in my recipe index soon, I promise! I like to roast an entire head of both cauliflower and broccoli (tossed with EVOO, Kosher salt & pepper) with a head of garlic and eat it leftover for lunch throughout the week but will save 1 cup worth to have as a side dish for this meal. 

Chicken enchiladas Verdes with chips and salsa
I have one last pre-made enchilada casserole in my freezer that I plan to thaw out one busy morning so all I have to do that evening is bake it at 350 for 40 minutes until gold and bubbly. Easy! I have a bag of corn tortilla chips and a jar of salsa in my pantry so, this meal cost me nothing this week!


Pad Thai
Other than the cilantro I purchased today, I have all the ingredients on hand to make this meal. I love how low in calories it is when I use only scrambled egg whites and very little ground turkey (or none at all!). And I really love that brown rice noodles make it gluten-free. It's the best leftovers as well!

Grilled Tilapia fish sandwiches with grilled asparagus
I'll have David grill all 4lbs of Tilapia I purchased at Costco so I can eat it throughout the week in corn tortillas, fish taco style, and with leftover roasted broccoli & cauliflower, and over Organic baby spinach salad. YUM! I got side-tracked. David wants his on a toasted hoagie roll, topped with shredded Romaine and a little Cocktail sauce. I'm having mine ontop of 1/2C cooked polenta. As a side, we'll have grilled asparagus that David can cook up in less than 10 minutes on the pit - saves me from heating up the oven!

Crockpot shredded BBQ chicken over baked sweet potatoes with salad and herb vinaigrette 
We haven't had little BBQ chicken sliders in months and David requested them so, they are on the menu however, I'm piling my portion on top of a baked sweet potato that I purchased last week. I'll have leftover Romaine lettuce so, I'll whip up my herb vinaigrette dressing and top the salads with hard boiled egg whites, crumbled bacon, slivered almonds, the leftover grape tomatoes, and maybe some dried cherries. YUM! My recipe only uses 2 chicken breasts but will make enough for me to have leftovers for lunch. Yea :)
What did I purchase this week?

First, I shopped at Costco on Friday morning and purchased the following for $86.71:  
  • 10lbs frozen, boneless skinless chicken breasts, $2.99/lb
  • 32 Yogurt smoothies, $8.99
  • 40oz veggie straws snacks, $2.99
  • 20oz Snaper Crisps, $4.99
  • 4pk 1.25lb each ground turkey, $2.19/lb
  • 4lbs Tilapia, $4.99/lb
  • 24ct eggs, $3.79
  • 32oz cremini mushrooms, $3.49
  • 18oz raspberries, $4.99
  • 18oz blueberries, $5.99
  • 4lbs bananas, $1.39
  • 12pk chicken tamales, $6.99
  • Maple syrup, $13.99

On Saturday morning, I stopped quickly at Safeway and spent $62.04 for the remainder of my groceries which included:
  • 2, 18oz raspberries $3.99 (they were better quality than the rest of what I found at Costco)
  • Active dry yeast, $0.99
  • Anchovies, $1.99
  • 3, Smithfield bacon, $3.99
  • Fat-free milk, $3.79
  • Deli ham, $5/lb
  • Pears, $1.49/lb
  • Egg frozen waffles, $4.99
  • Organic fuji apples, $1.99/lb
  • Seedless grapes, $1.19/lb
  • Cilantro, $0.49
  • Bananas, $0.79/lb
  • 2, 2lb strawberries, $5/each
  • 20oz Cherubs tomatoes, $5
  • Mini watermelon, $3.99 plus $1.00 off Just4U coupon
  • Asparagus, $1.99/lb
  • Organic Romaine heart, $1.99/each
  • Broccoli crowns, $0.99/lb
  • Cauliflower, $2.99


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