Start by reading all about Meal Planning (Link at the top) in 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
2 portions pork tenderloin
1 portions stew meat
2 portions bone-in chicken split breasts
2 portions boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 portions ground turkey
1 portion New York Strip Steaks
3 portions pre-formed turkey patties for burgers
4 portions pre-formed chicken patties for burgers
3 portions frozen breaded chicken breast pieces
2 portions made-ahead brisket chili
4 portions made-ahead meatballs
3 portions Brats
3 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.
Smoked pork tenderloin stuffed in herb biscuits with apricot preserves and a side salad
Gorgeous weather + the brink of Spring = backyard BBQ perfection! It's no secret, we spend every weekend outdoors and any chance I get to have dinner prepared on the pit, I take! David smoked the last package of pork tenderloin Saturday night. Once cooked and sliced, I layered it on the home-made herb biscuits I made earlier and slathered one half of each biscuit with apricot preserves. TO DIE FOR! You'd get similar flavors if you roasted yours in your oven, give it a try! I nabbed two heads of organic Romaine lettuce at Dan's ($1.19) so, a simple side salad with my fresh herb vinaigrette was served on the side.
Grilled chicken Caesar salad
I had David grill two extra chicken breasts so I could use them to top my home-made Caesar salad. I will use up the majority of the organic Romaine lettuce I purchased from the produce stand in this dish. I have all the dressing ingredients on hand.
Meatball subs with oven-fries
I have been craving home made meatballs so, I grabbed package of 93% lean ground sirloin ($5.99/lb) and a pound of ground pork (on discount for only $2.97) that I will make into my meatballs nirvana. This recipe will make 4 portions so I added that to my inventory above. I have hoagie rolls in my freezer, jarred marinara sauce in my fridge, and scored a 6oz ball of fresh mozarella for FREE through the Safeway Just4U app. I will serve these sandwiches with oven-baked fries that I have frozen.
I purchased cilantro ($0.49) to use in two meals this week: Pad Thai and Crispy Tacos with queso. I have limes from last week and will use 1/4lb ground turkey I purchased today ($5).
Crispy Tacos with chips and queso
To use up the package of ground turkey I purchased, I'll brown it with onions and garlic and stuff it inside crispy taco shells (I have in my pantry). I'll top the tacos with the remaining organic Romaine lettuce, the tomato I have leftover from last week, and freshly shredded Monterrey Jack cheese (in my fridge from two weeks ago). I have chips plus Velveeta and canned Rotel so I can throw together an easy side of queso.
Chicken Picatta with roasted cauliflower
Our lemon tree is bursting (when is it not?!?) and trimming it this weekend made me think of this dish. I have capers in my fridge and parsley in my garden so, with the purchase of a head of organic cauliflower ($1.49), I had everything I needed for a light, delicious meal.
What did I purchase this week?
I spent $76.00 this week y'all! Yep, that's it and I got all that you see above and that's mainly due to stopping at Dan's first and then taking advantage of Safeway's Just4U discounts.
- Buying 2 packages of Oreo cookies for only $5.00 got me the gallon of 2% milk for FREE
- Sandwich and french toast bread, 2@$4
- Ground turkey, $5
- Ground pork, $2.97 each
- Ground sirloin, $5.99/lb
- GoGurt, $2.99
- Tollhouse ready-to-bake cookies, FREE
- 2 frozen peas, Buy 1 Get 1 Free
- Organic pears, $0.99/lb
- 3 pints organic strawberries, $3.99/ea
- 1 pint organic blueberries, $2.99
- Fresh mozzarella, FREE
- 5 Tillamook greek yogurt, 5@$5 plus $1.00 off every 5 purchased
- Deli ham, $5/lb
- Seedless grapes, $1.99/lb
- Organic cauliflower, $1.49
- Watermelon, $0.59/lb
- Organic snack apples, $1.99/lb
- Organic romaine lettuce, $1.19 per head
- Cuties, $2.99
- Bananas, $0.59/lb
- Cilantro, $0.49