3/29 thru 4/4 #mealplanning during #springbreak and keeping it #glutenfree as much as possible! #parenting #cooking #motherhood
Start by reading all about Meal Planning (Link at the top) in 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.
4 portions ground sirloin
2 portions pork tenderloin
1 portions stew meat
3 portions bone-in chicken split breasts
5 portions boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 portion New York Strip Steaks
1 portion Large shrimp
3 portions pre-formed turkey patties for burgers
4 portions pre-formed chicken patties for burgers
2 portions made-ahead brisket chili
3 portions Brats
1 portion made-ahead lasagna
"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.
Goulash and a side salad
Using quinoa elbow pasta is a great way to incorporate gluten-free options into your family's favorite meals and this one is a great way to experiment with it! I purchased organic Romaine hearts ($3.47) for the salad and a small container of sour cream ($0.79), and an onion ($0.99/lb) in order to make the pasta. I have all the remaining ingredients I need on hand. This meal makes enough to feed all four of us with just 1/2lb ground turkey or sirloin plus a small portion as leftovers for me for lunch one day this week. Yea! I love when dinner ends up as leftovers!
Chicken fajitas with chips and guacamole
Cilantro was only $0.39/ea this week so I tried to incorporate it as much as possible this week. I use it in the marinade for my fajitas and in the guacamole. I had to purchase avocados ($0.99/ea) for the guacamole and will use some of the onion I purchased for the goulash. I also needed flour tortillas for David and Emily ($1.99) - I have corn tortillas in my freezer that I will eat. I will use some of the Romaine as a shredded topping for the fajitas and also purchased an organic tomato ($2.99/lb) to dice up and top my tacos. We'll marinate and grill about 3 portions of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and use 2 of those portions for lunches throughout the week. Neither David nor I like deli meats nor make sandwiches to eat for lunch.
Shrimp Alfredo and roasted asparagus with a side salad
Trying to mix up our weekly menus, I decided to try Pioneer Woman's Alfredo sauce this week. Large shrimp was only $6.99/lb, asparagus was $1.49 per bunch, heavy cream was $2.09, and quinoa thin spaghetti was $1.99. I'll serve a side salad with the pasta to use up most of the Romaine lettuce.
Sloppy Joe's with oven-fries
We haven't had a good ole sloppy Joe in a long time and Manwich was only $0.77, limit 4 this week so, I stocked up and also purchased a package of seedless buns ($0.99) for David and the kids. I plan to eat mine in a bowl, scooping it with corn chips, like walking tacos. YUM! I have a bag of frozen fries in the freezer I'll bake for them as well.
Vegetarian Pad Thai (I'm leaving out the meat this week!)
My favorite brown rice Pad Thai noodles were on another $1.00 Just4U coupon this week (only $2.19/each) so I stocked up and will make Pad Thai again this week. It makes so much and cost so little and it my very favorite leftover. There's barely a week that goes by that I don't make this meal! Although, I forgot I was out of ground turkey so, it will be vegetarian this week as I'll only use scrambled eggs. I'll use up the remaining cilantro in this meal as well.
Chicken Club Sandwiches
This may be the only time I'm NOT gluten-free this week because the one sandwich I do love is a club sandwich. I plan to fry up some chicken fingers and some bacon and layer them on the Texas Toast I have in my freezer with cheddar cheese, lettuce and tomato three stories high! Although, I'll leave the third piece of bread OFF my sandwich, no need to over do it. :) We will have mixed fruit I'll cut up in bowls along side this meal.
What did I purchase this week?
I shopped at Costco first to ensure their prices were LESS than what I already knew Trader Joe's and Safeway's prices to be. And, as usual, they were!
- Quaker granola bars 80ct, $8.99
- Wheat Thins 40oz, $7.49
- Cliff and Cliff Zbars for kids, $10.79/ea
- French's & Dijon Mustard, $6.99
- Organic ketch-up, $6.99
- Raw almonds 3lbs, $15.39
- Tillamook cheddar, $8.99
- 2- 24ct eggs, $3.59/ea
- Sara Lee 12ct hoagie rolls, $3.99
- Mushrooms 20oz, $4.79
- 60ct String cheese, $12.69
- Organic maple syrup, $13.59
- AA Duracell batteries, $12.49/ea
- 4lbs pears, $4.79
- 3lbs garlic bulbs, $3.79
- 2lbs Organic strawberries, $5.99 - I only purchased one because they looked like they were on the verge of being over-ripe
- 2- Organic raspberries 18oz, $6.99
- 3lbs bananas, $1.89
- 5lbs Organic Honeycrisp apples, $18.99
My last stop was Safeway where I purchased:
- 5lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, $2.99/lb
- 1lb large shrimp, $6.99/lb
- Deli ham, $4.99/lb
- Pork breakfast sausage, $2.50
- 3lbs Cuties, $3.99
- Crumbled blue cheese, $2.99
- Sour cream, $0.79
- Frito's bean dip, $0.99
- 2% milk, $4.89 - YIKES! Again, what in the world is up with the prices of milk?!?
- Lemonade - FREE promo through Just4U
- Balsamic vinegar, $16.99
- La Victoria verde salsa, $3@$5
- Heavy cream, $0.99
- Star olive oils, Buy 1 Get 1 Free
- Kettlecorn popcorn, Buy 1 Get 1 Free
- Star anchovies, Buy 1 Get 1 Free
- Fruit rolls, 2@$1
- Quinoa spaghetti, $1.99
- Brown rice Pad Thai noodles, $2.19
- Hershey's chocolate syrup, $3.49 plus $0.50 off coupon
- Tillamook greek yogurt, 10@$10 plus $1.00 off every 5 coupons
- Safeway seasoned canned whole beans, Buy 1 Get 1 Free
- Rotel, Buy 1 Get 1 Free
- Safeway Cream of __ soups, Buy 1 Get 1 Free
- Organics canned whole kernal corn, Buy 1 Get 1 Free
- Hamburger buns, $0.99
- Organic apricot preserves, $1.49 plus $0.50 coupon
- Jell-O pudding, Buy 1 Get 1 Free
- Bell pepper, $.50
- Organic tomato, $2.99/lb
- Seedless grapes, $1.99/lb
- Fresh green beans, $0.79/lb
- Organic salsa varities, $1.00 - reduce for some reason, I bought 5!
- Organic Romaine hearts, $3.47
- 2lbs carrots, $2.00
- Frozen steamers vegetables, Buy 1 Get 1 Free
- Frozen Grand's biscuits, $2.99 - not worth my time to make them for the kids
- Chex cereal, $3.99 plus $1.00 Just4U coupon
- Frito's corn chips, $1.99
- 2lbs organic strawberries, $5.00 - I got the last one!
- Blueberries, $2.00/ea
- Blackberries, $2.00/ea
- Asparagus, $1.49/ea
- Avocados, $0.99/ea
- Cilantro, $0.39
- 20ct Tortillas, $1.99
- Sandwhich bread, $1.99
- Onion, $0.99/lb