4/5 thru 4/11 #mealplanning when the #kids go back to #school - keeping it frugal yet healthy and delicious! #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 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.


2 portions ground sirloin
2 portions pork tenderloin
1 portions stew meat
3 portions bone-in chicken split breasts
3 portions boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 portion New York Strip Steaks
3 portions pre-formed turkey patties for burgers
4 portions pre-formed chicken patties for burgers
4 portions frozen breaded chicken breast pieces
2 portions made-ahead brisket chili
3 portions Brats

4 portions Italian sausage
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. 

Apricot-bbq glazed smoked chicken breasts, macaroni 'n cheese, grilled asparagus
Split chicken breasts were such a steal ($0.99/lb) a few weeks ago and were begging to be smoked on the pit for a few hours and then, slathered with my apricot-bbq glaze. Heaven!! I have apricot preserves and bbq sauce in my fridge as well as cheddar cheese so I just needed to purchase elbow macaroni ($0.79). I'm using the asparagus I had leftover from late last week (thank goodness it hasn't gone bad because I hate wasting food).

Sloppy Joe's with oven fries
A super easy meal that cost me nothing this week, yea! I have buns, a can of Manwich, and frozen fries on hand. I love when that happens.

Orange chicken and snow peas over brown rice
I completely forgot I had a portion of orange sauce in my freezer from when I made it a few weeks ago. I thawed out the suspicious container over the weekend and was thrilled to see what it was! I'll saute a portion of chicken with the snow peas I purchased today ($1.99/lb) and serve it over steamed brown rice. This recipe makes leftovers, which is my favorite lunch!

Potato soup
Even though our weather is really warm and gorgeous, I had potato soup on my mind so, I purchased a 5lb bag ($2.99), celery ($0.99), and fresh organic thyme ($2.99) to add to the remaining ingredients I have on hand.


Calzones with marinara dipping sauce
Johnsonville had a huge sale on brats and Italian Sausage (Buy 1 Get 1 Free!) so, I stocked up and decided to make calzones for dinner one night. I will make the pizza dough from scratch and I have everything I need to do so.

Buffalo chicken sandwiches with blue cheese dressing and chips
Another huge score this week was Foster Farms frozen, breaded chicken breast pieces (only $5 for 2lbs!) so, I stocked up and will make these sandwiches one busy night this week. I'll avoid the bun and eat mine like boneless wings from Wing Stop! I have hoagie rolls from my Costco trip, crumbled blue cheese, mayo and sour cream to make dressing from scratch, and will serve chips or fruit on the side.
  What did I purchase this week?

I only shopped at Safeway today and spent just under $160!

The major deals I took advantage of include:
  • Tillamook yogurt, 10@$5 plus $1.00 off every 3, no limit I bought 15 as that's all we could consume before their expiration date
  • Frozen blueberries, 2lbs worth for only $9.99 - these are perfect in muffins and pancakes and my kids love those things for breakfast!
  • Ghirardelli brownie mix, $0.99, limit 2
  • Melons, Buy 1 Get 1 Free
  • Foster Farms 2lbs breaded chicken breast pieces, $5.00, no limit
  • Goldfish, Buy 1 Get 1 Free - the kids love the S'mores variety
  • Annie's organic vegetarian refried beans, $1.67 (that's half price, y'all!)
  • Fritos, Cheetos, and Lays varieties, Buy 1 Get 1 Free
I also purchased items we were out of and consume most weeks including:
  • 2% and Fat-free milk, $4.59 - I need to find a Walmart or Pack 'n Save because that price has become unbearable to pay week after week!
  • Orange juice, $1.99
  • Frozen Van's powergrains waffles, $1.99
  • Organic tomato, $2.19/lb
  • Organic raspberries 18oz, $6.99
  • Seedless grapes, $1.49/lb
  • Organic fuji apples, $1.99/lb
  • Strawberries, 2@$5
  • Organic pears, $0.99/lb
  • Deli ham, $5/lb
  • Tortillas, $1.49 - the kids eat quesadillas often and David only likes flour tortillas 


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