7/3 thru 7/11 #mealplanning to restock the house after a #vacation and NOT blowing the #budget!

Brand new to Meal Planning?

Start by reading all about Meal Planning in order to familiarize yourself with the steps! There, you will find 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 which I briefly outline below.

This week's news:


What an amazing, exhausting, FUN few weeks with the grandparents it's been - posts with lots of pics to come soon. I did my grocery shopping last Thursday, July 3rd, as we had friends over for The 4th of July as we do every year and I needed to have items for that meal so, my shopping list was LONG and I spent over $200!
Are you following me along in my gluten-free-as-much-as-possible 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, which you can find in my Recipe Index, 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 mostly naturally 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 to avoid wasting those ingredients.


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

"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 ad 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 which I can frequently find cheaper at my local farmer's market (Dan's). Why? Well, on shopping day, I stop at Dan's first and buy the items he's offering at a lower price. If I hadn't written down the lowest price of the fresh produce ahead of time, I wouldn't know if Dan's was really offering me a bargain. Then, I either drive over to Lucky's (across town and typically cheaper overall) or stop at Trader Joe's and/or Safeway (they are next door to each other!).

Lastly, I determine how I can stretch ingredients on that list, specifically fresh produce and expensive items, over enough meals to use them up to prevent waste. This helps fill in the gaps when I need another meal or two and/or change my menu to avoid having waste.

Weekly Meal Plan

Thursday's July 4th BBQ - Tequila-soaked grilled shrimp tacos with mango salsa, smoked corn, spanish rice, refried beans
This is our 3rd annual BBQ with our friends/old neighbors and we have this exact same meal every year because it's all our favorite, is super easy to prepare, it's versatile, and it appeals to even the pickiest of eaters. I purchased 4lbs of jumbo shrimp ($9.99/lb), corn tortillas ($1.49), fresh corn (10@$2), and cilantro ($0.49), mangos (10@$5), and onion ($0.69/lb), and limes (5@$1) for the salsa. I'll also use up some of the onion for spanish rice and refried beans! I also purchased 2 six-packs of Mexican beer ($15) and will use up the rest of the limes to make margaritas. I also purchased salsa ($5) and chips (3@$5) and a huge watermelon for the kiddos. The leftovers will feed us for at least 4 lunches/dinners so I put a few "leftovers" nights on this week's menu.

Leftovers for Friday and Saturday
So we can unpack from vacation, organize the house, get the kids reacclimated to life at home, and eat up all the July 4th leftovers. YUM!

Smoked pulled pork sliders with steak fries and baked beans
Because it's a 3-day weekend, David has plenty of time (about 14hours!) to smoke a whole pork shoulder for us to pull and stack high on Hawaiian sweet rolls (2@$5) for sliders. YUM! DROOL! GASP! It's a favorite meal of ours. Can you tell? :) I have baked beans in the pantry but purchased a bag of frozen steak-cut fries ($1.99) to serve on the side.

Chicken Picatta with steamed broccoli over brown rice spaghetti 
4lbs of lemons were only $1.99 so because I had capers and brown rice spaghetti in my pantry, this meal was an easy add to the menu. I purchased frozen "steamers" broccoli (3@$4) that I'll serve on the side.  

Chicken enchiladas Verdes and chips with salsa
I purchased a cooked rotisserie chicken from Costco this weekend (that haul is not pictured - I was so tired, I forgot!) that I picked completely apart, shredded and bagged to make future meals and decided to make a few portions of this meal because all the ingredients were on sale this week! I'll use up the remaining corn tortillas, onion and cilantro. I had to purchase a block of Monterrey Jack cheese ($3.99 at Costco) and Verde salsa (Buy 1 Get 1 Free at Safeway). I had sour cream and chicken stock in my fridge. I'll serve leftover chips and salsa on the side. 

Leftovers for Wednesday
Probably pulled pork sliders because we honestly just can't get enough! And I need a little less excitement and work this week - vacations are hard!

Meatball subs with oven-fries
I have frozen meatballs, hoagie rolls were on sale ($1.88), and I stocked up on fresh mozzarella at Costco (3pk of 1lb balls, $6.99) so this meal was another easy add. I'll serve up the rest of the frozen steak-cut fries for David and will eat roasted zucchini with mine.

Grilled chicken, roasted zucchini & mushrooms and smoked corn cakes 
With the small amount of smoked corn leftover from the July 4th BBQ, I'll make corn cakes. It's just slightly pureed corn (removed from the cob), shredded smoked Fontina cheese ($4.10), green onion ($0.49), bread crumbs, sour cream, salt and pepper combined and browned on a griddle. DELICIOUS!!! It's Giada's recipe. Google it. David always grills a few chicken breasts each weekend to have for the week's lunches so I'll grab two and serve them with the corn cakes and roasted vegetables. Easy!

What did I purchase this week?

I spent just over $265 between Costco and Safeway to re-stock our kitchen (I spent about $150 at Costco on paper products, cleaning items, household items, cat litter, etc.). Other than what I already mentioned above, the things I purchased this week include:
  • Frozen organic flaxseed waffles, Buy 1 Get 1 Free
  • Stubb's chicken marinade and BBQ sauce, Buy 1 Get 1 Free
  • Annie's organic vegetarian black refried beans, $2.07
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 8lbs, $1.99/lb
  • Canola oil, $1.99
  • Bananas, $0.59/lb
  • Raspberries, $1.99
  • Blackberries, $1.99
  • Seedless grapes, $2.19/lb
  • Rainier cherries, $2.99/lb
  • Nectarines, $1.88/lb
  • Organic spring salad mix, $3.00
  • Baby carrots, $1.99 
At Costco I purchased:
  • 2, 24ct eggs, $3.59
  • 2, 2% milk
  • Tillamook cheddar, $8.99
  • Precious string cheese 60ct, $11.99
  • Ground turkey, $2.19/lb
  • 88% lean ground beef, $2.99/lb
  • 32oz mushrooms, $4.59
  • 24ct Zbars organic protein bars for kids, $8.99
  • Frozen organic spinach ravioli, $11.99 


Popular Posts