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:
I've really started focusing on shopping at the least expensive stores this year and have found Lucky's to be the cheapest overall. Their produce is dollars cheaper per item and per pound, which is the bulk of my purchase each week; however, I have found their poultry and fish to be sub-par and MORE expensive (go figure!) so, I still find myself swinging by Safeway or Trader Joe's on my way home each week. And that's okay! High quality at the best price is my goal. :)
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:
5 portions ground sirloin
6 portions ground turkey
1 portions pork shoulder
3 portions stew meat
1 portion flank steak
1 portions wings & drumsticks
1 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
2 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 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
Steak fajitas with chips and guacamole
Flank steak in my freezer made me crave fajitas and the steak sandwiches we make with the leftovers. I just had to purchase tortillas ($1.99), chips ($2), avocados (2@$3), cilantro ($0.33), an orange ($0.79/lb) and limes (5@$1) for the marinade and guacamole.
Chicken Alfredo french bread pizza
I saw this recipe on Six Sister's Stuff blog and David insisted we try it. I agreed because we'd have the leftover grilled chicken and I had mozzarella cheese. I had to purchase a loaf of french bread ($0.99), Roma tomatoes ($0.59/lb), green onions ($0.79) and Asiago cheese ($3).
Sloppy Joe's with oven fries
With a can of Manwich starring at me from the pantry and ground beef in the freezer, this was a no-brainer this week. I just needed to purchase burger buns ($1.99).
Chicken toastadas with Spanish rice
Toastadas are a Tex-Mex staple and something I grew up on. It's like a flat taco shell that you pile high with whatever you like. Think nachos! I purchased the toastada shells ($2.19) and will use up the leftover guacamole, tomatoes and cilantro to top them. I'll make some home-made Spanish rice as a side dish.
Steak sandwiches with fresh herb spread and roasted cauliflower
Fresh arugula ($2.99), parsley ($0.50), capers, asiago, lemon juice blended together makes the most delicious spread to slather on hoagie rolls (in my freezer) and layered with tomato slices and leftover steak. YUM! I'll roast cauliflower ($1.49) to serve alongside it.
Family dinner out
What did I purchase this week?
I spent $61.02 at Lucky's this morning. Yep, that's it and I purchased:
- french toast bread, $1.00
- deli ham, $6.99/lb
- strawberries, buy 1 get 1 free, $2.50/ea
- bananas, $0.59/lb
- mangos, 2@$1
- nectarines, $1.88/lb
- seedless grapes, $1.49/lb
- sandwich bread, $1.99