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, and 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're in full swing of being back in school, which means purchasing extras each week to pack for morning snacks and in lunch boxes. We're all mourning the fact that summer is over because we'll no longer have access to locally grown, organic peaches, plums, nectarines, and berries. So hard! I cook dinner six days each week with one day being left open to either eat leftovers (or whatever you can find to eat!) or order take-out or dine out at a restaurant.
3 portions ground sirloin
2 portions ground brisket
2 portions ground turkey
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
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.
Here's this week's menu and why I chose these meals:
Weekly Meal Plan
Tacos with Spanish rice and chips and queso
Looking through the pantry I found an unopened box of crispy corn taco shells as well as a can of Rotel so this meal was a no-brainer to add as I had the main ingredients. I'll use most of the onion I purchased today ($0.69/lb) to brown the meat with and will season with lime juice (5@$1). I also purchased tomatoes (organic $1.99/lb) to top the tacos with and will use some of the Romaine hearts leftover from our Caesar salad to top them as well. I bought two blocks of cheese today that I'll shred for the tacos. I have chips in the pantry and Velveeta in the fridge so we're all set. I make tacos with an entire pound of organic, grass-fed beef (Costco has it $5/lb!) so there will be leftovers for me for lunch during the week. I'll use the rest of the onion plus the rice, tomato paste and dried oregano I have in my pantry to whip up my super easy Spanish rice to go alongside it. Emily loves this rice as well and will eat with nachos for dinner twice this week.
Caesar Salad with grilled chicken
David asked me to make this meal this week, he loves it and we miss being able to get it from Carrabba's restaurant - no one makes it like they do. I make a copy-cat version that is close enough. I love this meal because it uses up one of the chicken breasts David is already smoking on the pit over the weekend for his lunches throughout the week. I just whip up the dressing in my blender, wash and chop some Romaine hearts (Organic $1.99), sprinkle on some bagged croutons, and grate on some fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and dinner is done.
Jalapeno popper Empanadas with Spanish Rice
Who doesn't like jalapeno poppers?!? I found a recipe for stuffing pie crust with a cream cheese mixture of corn, jalapenos and chicken that sounded too good not to make so, I added it to this week's menu. I purchased a jalapeno for $0.12 this weekend and that's it. I have pie crust and corn in my freezer, cream cheese in the fridge and will use up one of the chicken breasts David grilled over the weekend. I'll let you know how they turn out. :)
Ribs, potato salad, grilled corn cakes and rolls
Have I told y'all my husband is a true Pitmaster? He's become such an amazing cook on his outdoor grill and smoker that he has taken on the roll of cooking a meal for us once a week, usually over the weekend. I purchased a 5lb bag of organic Yukon gold potatoes ($3.99) that I'll boil and mash up with traditional, Southern-style potato salad ingredients for David (I hate potato salad) and I'll pull the last of the corn & cheese cakes I made this summer while corn was in-season and abundant to grill up alongside the ribs. I have some leftover Hawaiian rolls from last week that I'll warn in the oven as well. I just realized we aren't eating a single vegetable with this meal...
Smothered burritos with tomato salad
These are 100% better than what you get at Taco Bell and are too easy to make. I will fill a "burrito" sized tortilla ($1.49) with some of the Spanish rice I made earlier in the week, some chopped up chicken from David's weekend haul, some of the Monterrey Jack cheese I purchased and a few cilantro leaves. Roll it up, place it in a greased 9x13 baking dish that has a layer of home-made enchilada sauce in the bottom (found the recipe on Pinterest!), top it with more enchilada sauce and cheese and then cover with foil tightly and bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes. Super easy and you can fill them with veggies, beans, whatever you like! I like to top mine with chopped lettuce and tomato, like you find in Mexican restaurants as well.
Buffalo chicken sandwiches with blue cheese dressing and oven fries
I have frozen chicken tenders that I bake, smother in hot sauce and layer on tomatoes and lettuce on a soft hoagie roll. I like to make my own blue cheese dressing to top the chicken with so I purchased a block of Pt. Reyes blue cheese ($3.19) - my favorite. I have sour cream, vinegar, mayo, and milk on hand.
What did I purchase this week?
$198 worth of weekly staples is what I came home from Safeway with this week.
Besides what was mentioned above, I also purchased:
- Champagne/beer - do I need to explain myself, I have two kids ;)
- 2 boxes Chex gluten-free cereal - great snacks for the kids
- Dark chocolate sauce, 50% off - I use this to make iced coffee and chocolate milk
- Flour and sugar, $1.99 each
- Bread crumbs $0.99 - I was out and it was $1.00 off
- Corn starch, $1.59 - I was out
- Deli ham $5.99/lb - for lunches
- Organic honeycrisp apples $2.49/lb
- Organic strawberries, $3.99/ea - trying to get every last one in before they're gone
- Organic grapes, $2.99/lb
- Sandwich bread - lunches, morning toast, grilled cheese sandwiches
- Flavor-blast goldfish crackers $1.99 - because I took my 8 year old to the store with me and she begged me. Does this happen to anyone else?!? ;)