2/8 thru 2/14 #mealplanning while trying to lose the wheat belly! A stop at Costco was up first to stock up on fruit! #glutenfree #cooking #motherhood

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 turkey breast

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
4 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

Grilled Tilapia fish tacos in corn tortillas with Iceburg lettuce and corn salsa
While planning a gluten-free meal for the week and digging through my freezer, I found packages of corn tortillas and immediately thought of fish tacos. Tilapia is a delicious, hearty fish to use in this dish and is $5.99/lb at Costco ($3/lb cheaper than Safeway!). I had David grill up the entire 2.5lb package of fish over the weekend while he was out there grilled up chicken for the week and plan to eat it for lunch throughout the week. I purchased a head of Iceburg lettuce ($0.99 at Trader Joe's) that I'll only use about 1/4 of in this meal, saving the rest for lettuce wraps later in the week. I also purchased a jar of Corn and Chili tomatoless salsa ($2.49 at Trader Joe's). If you haven't tried it, it's THE BOMB. Tacos just aren't the same without it.

Spinach artichoke pasta with brown rice and quinoa fusilli and grilled chicken
Have you seen The Pioneer Woman's Spinach Artichoke pasta on Pinterest? I made it Sunday night and oh my gosh, it's ever bit as good as she makes it look. I completely left out the flour in the roux step, just skipping ahead and adding in the liquids, and I stirred in cream cheese at the end for a bit of a thicker sauce. It was heavenly! Once I scooped out David's portion (he doesn't love spinach or artichokes), I stirred in the 6C of chopped frozen spinach ($1.49) and 12oz of uncooked frozen artichoke hearts ($2.99) I purchased at Trader Joe's. Then, I tossed in half of the bag of organic brown rice and quinoa fusilli pasta ($2.99) I purchased at Trader Joe's. Then, I chopped up two chicken breasts David had grilled on Saturday and mixed that in. This meal (half Ree's recipe!) made enough for us to have dinner and me to have leftovers for lunch for two more days! Make it. It's awesome!

Crispy chicken tacos with corn chips and queso
I use to take cooked chicken breasts and pulverize them with salsa in my food processor and stuff it in crispy taco shells. It was David's #1 favorite meal. I thought about this last week and decided to start making these again, mainly because I'm running out of ground turkey and needed a substitute meat! I bought 10lbs of boneless, skinless frozen chicken breasts ($2.99/lb) at Costco so I have plenty to use in this meal. I think I'll use two small breasts. I have salsa and crispy corn taco shells (gluten-free!) in my pantry. I'll use some of the Iceburg I shredded up for the fish tacos as well as cherry tomatoes ($2.99 at Trader Joe's) and corn salsa I purchased. I have Velveeta and Rotel in my pantry so I can whip up a quick queso to serve with the corn tortilla chips (gluten-free!) I purchased for $1.99 at Trader Joe's.

Pad Thai with brown rice noodles and snow peas
Brown rice Pad Thai noodles were on sale ($1.00 off!) again this week at Safeway so, I purchased two boxes ($2.67/each) and will add in 1C of the snow peas ($1.49) I purchased at Trader Joe's and some of the cilantro ($0.40) I purchased at Safeway. I am almost out of roasted, unsalted peanuts so I bought a bag ($3.29) at Trader Joe's as well. With extra egg whites (24ct only $3.69 at Costco), I'll have leftovers for lunch one day this week.

Hashbrown casserole with egg whites and 97% lean ham
We love breakfast for dinner, who doesn't? I'll whip up a hashbrown, egg, and ham casserole to have the night I have a PTA meeting and David has a 10PM soccer game. Using hashbrowns makes this meal gluten-free. Yea! I have hashbrowns and one last hamsteak from my last trip to Costco in my freezer as well as cheddar cheese. 


Lettuce wraps
To use up the Iceburg lettuce and get as many vegetables as possible in our bodies this week, I chose this meal. The filling is 4:1 mushrooms to ground turkey as well as onions and we top our wraps with broccoli carrot slaw ($1.69) I get from Trader Joe's. I have all the ingredients to make the sauce on hand. 

What did I purchase this week?
I spent $211.55 between Costco, Safeway and Trader Joe's. Way over my budget for the week but well within what I have alloted for the month. A lot of what I purchased will stretch for weeks!

My first stop Saturday morning was Costco. I needed some items like goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes that I didn't know the Costco price of so, I wrote down the Safeway price (Just4U app is genius!) and went on the lookout! These are the things I purchased at Costco:
  •  2pk fat-free milk, $5.49
  • 4pk unsalted butter, $8.49
  • Trident 16pk gum, $9.49
  • 2pk 12oz goat cheese, $6.69
  • 2pk sliced mozzarella cheese, $7.49
  • 2.5lbs Tilapia fillets, $5.99/lb
  • 2, 24ct eggs, $3.69
  • 10lbs chicken breasts, $2.99/lb
  • 60ct Precious cheesesticks, $11.49
  • 2pk 32oz Kraft Parmesan cheese, $10.79
  • 2, 18oz raspberries, $5.49
  • 3, 2lb strawberries, $5.49
  • 32oz cremini mushrooms, $4.79
  • 18oz blueberries, $4.99
  • 4lb Meyer Lemons, 5.99 
  • 2lbs fresh garlic, $2.79
My second stop was Trader Joe's. They typically run out of things super early in the AM so, I stop there first to get everything I want/need and fill in the gaps by going next door to Safeway if need be. At Trader Joe's (in addition to what's been mentioned above) I purchased:
  • Corn spaghetti pasta, $1.39
  • Brown rice spaghetti pasta, $1.99
  • 4lb bag naval oranges, $2.99
  • 8oz fresh basil, $2.49
  • 2, 18oz sugar plum tomatoes, $2.99
  • Organic polenta roll, $1.99
  • 6oz organic sun-dried tomatoes, $3.29
  • Pears, $0.69/each
  • Cauliflower, $1.79
  • Coconut milk, $1.99
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, #1.99
  • Bananas, $0.19/each 
My last stop was at Safeway and it's the place I spent the least amount of money. In addition to what I mentioned above, I purchased: 
  • Buttermilk, $1.99
  • 2, 8oz cream cheese, $2@$3
  • French toast bread, $2.00
  • 4lbs organic fuji apples, $0.99/lb
  • Seedless grapes, $1.79/lb
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, $18.00/lb
  • Deli ham, $5/lb
  • Water chesnuts, $0.67 


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