8/9 thru 8/15 #mealplanning Stretching ingredients over many meals = lower grocery bill! #cooking #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:
Safeway and their Just4U app had the lowest prices this week but I had to stop in Trader Joe's for a few of our favorite things that Safeway doesn't carry. I stocked up on some personal hygiene products and freezer staples but, like every week, fresh produce was 80% of my haul. It's really important that we eat as raw as possible and it's rare to have processed foods like crackers for snacks in my home.

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:


4 portions ground sirloin
2 portions ground turkey
1 portion NY Strip steaks
3 portions stew meat
1 portions wings & drumsticks
6 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
1 portions Italian sausage
1 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 also always try to stretch ingredients on my grocery list over enough meals to use them up to prevent waste. For example, I needed limes and cilantro for my fajita marinade but would have leftover so I added guacamole as a side dish to one meal and added a meal that would use up the remaining guacamole this week to use it all up.

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

Weekly Meal Plan

Spaghetti and home-made sauce with Italian sausage 
While looking through the pantry for some meal inspiration I came across puree tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and marjoram which meant I had most everything I needed to make home-made tomato basil sauce. I needed to purchase an onion ($0.69/lb), bulb of garlic ($0.25), Italian sausage ($2.99 for a roll) and dried linguine pasta ($1.19). My recipe makes more than enough for dinner, leftovers for dinner and a few lunches throughout the week, which is music to my ears!

New York Strip Steaks, baked potatoes & wedge salad with home-made blue cheese dressing
I pinned a recipe for the perfect wedge salad, which is a weakness of mine and thought this would be the perfect meal for a warm, Sunday night dinner. Grass-fed NY Strip steaks were on sale $8.99/lb, Russett potatoes were only $0.99/lb, green onion ($0.33) and blue cheese ($2.19 from Trader Joe's) were also needed for the salad dressing. I like chives on my baked potato and on my wedge salad but they were $1.99 so I substituted green onion. I also purchased tomatoes on the vine ($0.99/lb) for the wedge salad and for lunches this week. 

Asian honey chicken over brown rice
Another recipe I found on Pinterest yet this one I had all the ingredients for so it was an easy add!


Red wine braised beef over cheesy polenta
Comfort food to the max right here! This meal is the star of the show this week and I only needed to purchase celery ($1.19) and a portabello mushroom cap ($1.99/lb). I'll use up the onion and garlic leftover from the spaghetti. 

BRINNER - pumpkin waffles, scrambled eggs & bacon, hashbrowns 
A can of pumpkin puree ($0.89) and a quart of buttermilk ($0.99) was all I needed to make breakfast for dinner this week.  

Enchiladas and chips with guacamole 
I didn't use up all the avocados, cilantro or limes last week so early this week (to ensure they don't go bad!), I'll pull the enchiladas from our freezer and whip up some guacamole to serve with it.

What did I purchase this week?

I spent $38.11 at Trader Joe's on:
  • Chicken tamales - Emily's favorite dinner
  • Frozen pinapple chunks - great for smoothies
  • Danish pancakes and frozen blue berry waffles
  • Fresh basil
  • Blue cheese
  • Peanut butter crackers
  • 24 eggs 
I spent $120.04 at Safeway on:
  • Frozen tator tots 80oz $3.99 plus $1.00 off
  • Yoplait yogurt 8ct $4.49
  • 4 - Totino's pizzas, $1.25 each plus $1.00 off
  • Deli ham, $4.99/lb Just4U special
  • 4 - canned tuna $0.59/ea - I love tuna salad for lunch
  • Vlasic pickles, $1.67
  • Simple facial cleansers, Buy 2 Get 1 Free PLUS $2.00 any two
  • Scope mouthwash, $2.99 plus $1.00 off
  • Crest toothpaste 25% off
  • Dove clinical strength deoderant, $8.99, $2.00 off Just4U plus MFC $2.00 off
  • Gilette fusion shaving gel, $1.67 Just4U
  • Min chocolate chips - making oatmeal cookies later this week
  • 9-grain sandwich bread, $1.99
  • Golden delicious apples, $1.49/lb
  • Peaches, nectarines, plums, pluots, $1.88/lb
  • Iceburg lettuce, $1.50
  • All berries, Buy 1 Get 1 Free
  • Seedless grapes, $1.99/lb


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