7/12 thru 7/18 #mealplanning when the kids are home and eating EVERYTHING you take advantage of in-season, cheap summer fruit! #kids #motherhood

Brand new to Meal Planning and want to get started?

Start by reading all about how I go about Meal Planning each week in order to familiarize yourself with the steps! There, you will find the eight steps to meal planning - a detailed "how to" in a Step-By-Step format as well as a link to an example from start to finish of my own weekly meal planning where I walk you through it. I perform the same steps every week so these weekly posts focus more on how I chose my menu (do we have a busy week? what's in-season and inexpensive? is it too hot to boil noodles and run the oven?) and why I purchased what I did.

This week's news:

We are all getting back on the healthy eating bandwagon, focusing on whole, raw foods which lead me to dig through the pantry to see what was in there that needed to be thrown out or replaced. Know what I found? The Hershey's chocolate syrup I let the kids mix into their milk has high fructose corn syrup as the number one ingredient. Yikes! :( I really want to find an alternative, any ideas?!?

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 to avoid wasting those ingredients.
We did eat everything we planned for so, here's my updated inventory list below less what we ate last week:


6 portions ground sirloin
8 portions ground turkey
1 portions pork shoulder
3 portions stew meat
1 portion flank steak
1 portions wings & drumsticks
2 portions boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 portions pre-formed turkey patties for burgers
2 portions pre-formed chicken patties for burgers
3 portions frozen breaded chicken breast pieces
2 portions made-ahead brisket chili
2 portions made-ahead meatballs
3 portions Brats

1 portions Italian sausage
2 portions made-ahead enchiladas Verdes

I looked through my pantry, freezer and fridge for inspiration, noting ingredients I had on hand to come up with some meals off our Master Meal List.
Simultaneously, I read the weekly ads and looked through the coupons via the iPhone apps to see what was on sale that might complement and/or substitute what I came up with. I always try to stretch ingredients on my grocery list over enough meals to use them up to prevent waste. As I go through each store's ad it becomes obvious quite quickly, which store is offering the lowest price on the majority of what is on my list and that is where I'll do my shopping. We have a Lucky's 3 miles away and a Trader Joe's and a Safeway that share a parking lot just down the road. This week, Safeway was offering the lowest prices so, I went there!

Here's this week's menu and why I chose these meals:

Weekly Meal Plan

Spinach-stuffed shells with garlic bread
While digging through the pantry/freezer/fridge, I spotted jumbo shells, jarred organic marinara sauce, and block parmigiano-reggiano cheese. 32oz shredded mozzarella was on sale ($5) and frozen chopped spinach was $0.89 so, I chose this meal. I needed to purchase an onion ($0.69/lb), french bread ($1.99) and garlic spread ($1.29) to complete this meal. 

Peach-BBQ glazed grilled chicken with smoked corn cakes
With apricot preserves and our favorite Stubb's BBQ sauce in the fridge, this meal was an easy one. David always grills up 6-8 chicken breasts over the weekend for us to eat for lunch throughout the week (he hates deli meat sandwiches - I don't blame him!) and in other meals so, I just set a few aside that I'll slather this glaze on for dinner one night. Oh, corn cakes. This is Giada de Laurentis' recipe and it's to die for. We smoke our corn (4@$1) before stripping the kernels off and combining them with sour cream, bread crumbs, green onions ($0.33), and shredded fontina cheese ($5.99/lb) and forming little cakes that I fry up in a skillet. Delicious! I made double the recipe to freeze for another meal.

Brats with oven fries
I always try to choose at least one meal the add to our weekly menu that costs us nothing, meaning I found all the ingredients in the house. This would be one of those meals!


Crispy tacos with chips and guacamole
In an attempt to get more whole, raw foods and healthy fats into our diet, I knew I'd be whipping up some guacamole. Lucky me avocados were $1/ea! I'll use up some of the remaining red onion, leftover lime juice from our 4th of July party, and some cilantro I purchased for $0.33. I have chips in the pantry as well as corn taco shells and remaining organic Romaine lettuce and tomato from last week.

BBQ chicken pizza
A quick easy meal for me is this pizza because it uses bacon, which we always have leftover from breakfast, chicken, which we always have, and fresh dough that I can make myself but chose to buy this week for $1 because my time this week was definitely worth $1! :) I'll use up the remaining red onion and green onions and cilantro on our pizza. I'll use some of the mozzarella I purchased today plus the cheddar I have on hand. This is probably David's favorite meal ever!

Pad Thai
We haven't had this meal in a long time and all the ingredients I purchased today or have on-hand will complete this meal, which is fantastic for our budget! I have the noodles on hand as well as all the sauce ingredients. I'll use up the last of the green onion and cilantro. This meal will use up the other half of the ground turkey that I will brown for the tacos. I just had to purchase roasted, salted peanuts ($2.99).

What did I purchase this week?

We average about $150 per week, but I spent $120.89 this week. 

In addition to what I mentioned above, I purchased:
  • Yoplait 8pk, $3.99 plus $1 off coupon
  • Nutri-grain Eggo frozen waffles, $4.99 - for when we don't have time to make a breakfast from scratch
  • Totino's frozen pizzas, $1.00 each - Emily's favorite dinner
  • Cheerios protein cereal, FREE
  • Life cereal, 2@$5
  • Mesquite turkey and ham deli meat, $4.99/lb - the kids like deli meat plain
  • Ricotta cheese, $2.99 - for the stuffed shells
  • English muffins, $2
  • Triscuit sweet potato and brown rice cracks, $1.99
  • Breakfast sausage, $2.99 - I love breakfast burritos!
  • Canned mandarin oranges, $0.74
  • Bing cherries, $1.99/lb
  • Watermelon, $5.99
  • Yellow peaches, $1.88/lb
  • Organic strawberries, 2@$5
  • Organic fuji apples, $2.49/lb
  • Red plums, $1.99/lb
  • Sandwich bread, $1.99 - the kids love grilled cheese and PBJ sandwiches


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