4/26 thru 5/2 #mealplanning Cutting back on groceries meant shopping at a less "fancy" grocery store this week! #motherhood #cooking #glutenfree

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
6 portions ground turkey
1 portions stew meat
7 portions boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 portions ribs
3 portions pre-formed turkey patties for burgers
4 portions pre-formed chicken patties for burgers
3 portions frozen breaded chicken breast pieces
2 portions made-ahead brisket chili
3 portions made-ahead meatballs
3 portions Brats

2 portions Italian sausage
1 portion made-ahead lasagna
2 portions made-ahead spinach stuffed shells
2 portions made-ahead enchiladas Verdes
1 portion made-ahead smoked pork tenderloin

"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.

Grilled New York strip steaks with grilled sweet potato wedges
With warmer weather upon us, I have as many meals made by my husband OUTSIDE on the pit as possible and this one is no exception. The only thing I do is par-boil the sweet potatoes ahead of time and whip together a little butter and blue cheese ($2.99) to spread on the steaks once off the pit. YUM!

Spinach stuffed shells with garlic bread and side salad
To use up all the organic spinach I purchased from Costco last week, I sauteed it down with the mushrooms I purchased and a portion of Italian sausage from my freezer with onion and garlic and tad bit of chicken stock. Then, once cooled, I mix it with my lasagna cheese filling, which is ricotta ($3.99), an egg, goat cheese ($5.99), parsley from my garden, and a cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and stuff it inside a box of jumbo shells. This receipt made a gigantic 13x9 casserole dish full (going in the freezer for when we have family in town for Nolan's birthday party next month) and another 8x8 dish for us to have this week. I used jarred marinara sauce from my pantry and the rest of the block of mozzarella I had in my fridge. I have garlic bread in my freezer (David loves it!) and will make a small side salad with the head of red leaf lettuce I purchased today ($0.79) with my home-made herb vinaigrette dressing. I'll top the salad with the croutons, sliced almonds and dried cherries I have in my pantry, adding hard-boiled egg whites and bacon to mine as I can only have a very small portion of the stuffed shells (remember, I've gone nearly completely gluten-free and am trying to loose weight!).

Hawaiian burgers with grilled pineapple and oven-fries
I saw half of the fresh pineapple I purchased last week in my fridge and thought of these burgers. I really loving making my brioche burger buns from scratch rather than purchasing buns so, I purchased bread flour ($3.79) to make 12 buns - will freeze the 8 we don't eat for this meal. I needed green onion ($0.99) for the patties and Hoisin sauce ($2.99) for glaze. I make these burgers slide-sized so I can have two. Yea! :) I'll throw some frozen fries in the oven for David and the kids and I will be eating steamed vegetables.


Crispy chicken tacos
David asked me about the chicken tacos I use to make, about a decade ago, this weekend. They are so simple and so good, I don't know why I stopped making them! I basically take two chicken breasts (he grills about 6 every weekend to eat for lunch) and grind them up in my food processor with a can of Embasa Mexican salsa ($0.79). Then, I scoop the filling into crispy corn taco shells and top with shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes ($0.65/lb) and shredded cheese. Delicious! It's a different texture than typical shredded chicken and doesn't all come out of your taco on the first bite. Quesadillas and chicken salad are two other great meals to use this meat in!

Oh how we love breakfast for dinner around here! I have eggs (18ct for only $2!!), bacon (Buy 1 Get 1 Free), and English muffins ($1.25) so I'll probably do my home-made version of Egg McMuffins.

Chicken Club Sandwiches
To use up the buns while they are fresh (before freezing the rest!), I'll toast them and layer on a smoked chicken breast, bacon, the remaining red leaf lettuce, the remaining tomato, and thick slices of cheddar cheese. I'll eat mine in salad form to forgo the bun with extra hard-boiled egg, no cheese, and my herb vinaigrette dressing. I'll serve everyone else's with chips.

What did I purchase this week?

I spent $78.71 this week on all the groceries you see above. Seriously!!!

Want to know how I did it?

I shopped at Lucky's supermarket across town.

I don't typically go across town to Lucky's because it's... well, dirty. It's dingy and poorly-lit and I have always sort of felt like I was in a run-down supermarket. I don't FEEL good about being in Lucky's!

However, after seeing their ad online and comparing their prices on what was already on my list to Safeway's, I cared very little about their aesthetics and was actually excited to get into the store and get my hands on their amazing deals!

Here's what I got at Lucky's what I paid:
  • 3 18ct eggs, only $2.00 each
  • 4 6oz raspberries/blueberries, $2.99 on a Buy 1 Get 1 Free sale
  • 6lbs red delicious apples, only $0.99/lb
  • 2% milk, $3.90
  • Bananas, $0.39/lb
  • Green onions, $0.99/ea
  • Tomatoes, $0.69/lb
  • Whole milk quart, $0.99
  • Whipped cream in a can, $1.50
  • Hoisin sauce, $2.99
  • Deli sliced Virginia ham, $3.99/lb
  • Bread flour, $3.79
  • Farmer John's bacon, $5.99 on a Buy 1 Get 1 Free sale
  • Red leaf lettuce, $0.79/ea
  • 10ct flour tortillas, $0.99, reduced for quick sale
Then, I stopped at Safeway because some of the items on my list were cheaper there including:
  • French toast bread, $1.00
  • English muffins, $1.25
  • Colgate toothpaste, 2@$1
  • Taco sauce, 3@$2
  • Ricotta cheese, $3.99
  • Goat cheese, $4.99
  • Mexican salsa, $0.79
  • 1lb strawberries, $1.99/ea
  • Prego Alfredo sauce, FREE
  • Garlic-infused cooking oil, FREE
  • Progresso Light soup, FREE
  • Jell-O, $1.50
  • Seedless grapes, $1.99/lb
  • Sandwich bread, $1.99
Safeway's Just4U app is always given away stuff for free and Management said it's unique to you and what your spending habits are. I have never bought those three items in my life but they were free so I'm going to try and put them to good use or donate them to our Food Bank that's down the road. :)

Do you have a Lucky's near you? Is it anything like mine?

Would you shop at a less "fancy" store for such great deals?


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