5/17 thru 5/23 #mealplanning When you only want to spend $100, what do you cook?!? #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 ground turkey
1 portions stew meat
5 portions boneless, skinless chicken breasts
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 made-ahead meatballs
3 portions Brats

2 portions Italian sausage
1 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.

Hawaiian burgers with fries

With pineapple only $2/ea and ground turkey starring at me from my freezer, I chose to have David throw these super easy burgers on the grill. I have buns in my freezer but I needed to purchase green onion ($0.50) for the patties. I'll serve oven-baked fries from my freezer with the burgers.

Lettuce wraps
To use up the other half of the ground turkey from the Hawaiian burgers, I'll saute onion ($0.69/lb), garlic and mushrooms ($1.49 for 20oz) with the remaining green onion and stuff the mixture in Iceburg lettuce cups ($0.99). I have all the ingredients for the dipping sauce on hand. This recipe makes a ton of leftovers so this will be lunch for me for atleast two days this week, too!

Calzone with marinara sauce
I have frozen pizza dough in my freezer as well as Italian sausage so, I'll use up more of the onion I purchased today and combine it with the mozzarella cheese I purchased today ($1.99) and make calzones. I have jarred marinara sauce in the fridge to dip them in.


Buffalo Chicken Salad
This is such an easy, quick meal to throw together, David requested it again this week. I'll bake off some of the frozen breast chunks I have on hand, toss them in the Buffalo sauce I have on hand, layer it over the remaining Iceburg lettuce, and top with crumbled blue cheese. Easy and delicious! I'll use leftover grilled chicken for my salad and a few hard-boiled egg whites to up the protein.

Crispy beef tacos and chips with guacamole
Who doesn't love taco salad?!? That's actually what I'm making, I'll just heat up some corn taco shells to stuff with the meat mixture and toppings for David and the kids. I'll use the rest of the Iceburg lettuce, the tomato I purchased today ($0.67/lb) and the black beans, corn, cheese and taco sauce I have on hand. I also purchased avocados (5@$5) and cilantro ($0.50) to make guacamole to serve with chips I have in my pantry. This meal, made from the 1.35lbs of ground sirloin I have in my freezer will make leftovers for me to have for lunch this week as well. Yea!

MuShu {crockpot} chicken wraps
I love cabbage! Raw, sauteed, anyway I can get it and saw this super easy, super quick crockpot meal in my cookbook that uses chicken ( purchased today, Buy 1 Get 1 Free), Hoisin sauce, vinegar, and a few other ingredients I have on hand to cook the chicken into a delicious, shreddable mass that you wrap up in tortillas with shredded cabbage. I'll let you know how it turns out. :) I'll make just enough to have leftovers once this week for lunch.

What did I purchase this week?

After checking the Safeway Just4U app, the Target Cartwheel app, and the Lucky's weekly ad, it was clear that everything on my list was cheapest at Lucky's so, I shopped there and spent $88.09.

Items I purchased include:
  • Orange juice, $5
  • Fat-free milk, $3.99 - I can't believe milk has FINALLY come back down in price!!!
  • Half & half, $0.99
  • 3, 18ct eggs (don't expire until June 7th!), $2.67 each
  • Whole wheat bread, $1.99
  • Deli ham, $4.99/lb
  • 2, Bacon, Buy 1 Get 1 Free ($6.99/ea)
  • 9lbs chicken breasts, $2/lb (Buy 1 Get 1 Free) - I bought what they had left
  • Seedless grapes, $2.49/lb
  • Cabbage, $0.67/lb
  • Cilantro & green onion, 2@$1
  • 2lb strawberries, $1.99
  • Raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, Buy 1 Get 1 Free ($3.99/ea)
  • Apples, $0.88/lb
  • Pears, $0.99/lb
  • Bananas, $0.59/lb
  • Avocados, 5@$5  


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