Start by reading all about Meal Planning (scroll down to "A Day in My Life" on the right-hand side of this page and click Meal Planning: How To Get Started or just click here) in order to familiarize yourself with the steps! There, you will find a link to a detailed example of my own weekly meal planning where I walk you through step-by-step.
The first thing I do on Saturday mornings is to look back over the week to see if we did indeed eat everything on my meal plan and adjust my inventory, reducing it by what we ate and increasing it by anything I purchased and/or made-ahead. We ate everything on our meal plan last week so, I adjusted my inventory accordingly.
2 portions ground turkey
1 portions pork chops
4 portions boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 portions shrimp
1 portions made-ahead turkey meatballs
2 portions made-ahead meatloaf
2 portions made-ahead chicken enchiladas verdes
1 portions made-ahead pesto
Then, I shopped my pantry, freezer and fridge for ingredients to come up with some meals, looking at our family calendar to ensure I wasn't planning on something we had recently eaten. I scanned the weekly ad to see what was on sale that might complement and/or substitute for what I had come up with and of course, how to stretch ingredients over enough meals to use them up.
Weekly Meal Plan
Nolan's 1st birthday dinner out
Meatloaf with balsamic potato salad
Sweet 'n sour pork with broccoli over brown rice
Grilled chicken pesto pasta and spinach salad
Coconut shrimp with sweet chili sauce over brown riceTequila-soaked shrimp tacos with cilantro-mango salsa
So, how did I come up with this meal plan?
Only two weeks until our summer vacation AND our move! Yes, we are moving the day we fly home from our vacation and yes, I am crazy but the timing was perfect, the house is perfect, and we just couldn't pass it up! So, I planned our meals around cleaning out the freezer/fridge/pantry so we have less to throw away (as a lot will spoil while we are gone) and less to move. I'm using a meatloaf from my freezer and the pesto I froze last month for a grilled chicken pesto pasta (I have the whole wheat pasta on hand). I have leftover fresh spinach from last week's flautas for a side salad for the pesto pasta. I'm using the pork chops and the sweet 'n sour sauce I have in my pantry to make an easy, pan-fried sweet 'n sour pork. I'll add fresh, steamed broccoli and serve it over the brown rice I have on hand. Using some of the coconut I purchased today and combining it with the coconut milk I have left from last week, the Panko bread crumbs I have on hand, and the eggs I purchased, I'll make coconut shrimp. I have leftover sweet chili sauce to serve with it and will serve over brown rice that I have on hand. I have an orange and limes left over from last week that I zested and juiced (I froze the juice in ice cube trays!) plus tequila and EVOO on hand to marinate the shrimp I have in my freezer for an easy grilled shrimp taco meal. I have tortillas, cherry tomatoes, and avacados for fresh guacamole (I have leftover red onion on hand and bought cilantro today). The mango I purchased today for only $1 will make the salsa to go on top. We always have a leftover night and are having a special family-only dinner out to celebrate Nolan's birthday.
What did I purchase this week?
I spent $139.74 this week. I just love summer because berries are my family's favorite fresh fruit. Unfortunately, they aren't cheap so, to have fresh berries for all of us my bill was a bit higher than usual. Nolan is eating me out of house & home, so to speak; he can put away a 3 pints of blackberries, 2 containers of strawberries, and 2 containers of blueberries in a week by himself! ha! ;) Growing boy. Besides fresh strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, I purchased a fresh pineapple, bananas, grapes, and cherries for the week as all were on sale. I needed broccoli, mango, ginger, jalapeno, green onions and some fresh herbs for a few recipes this week. With Nolan eating table food at all three meals and both snacks, I needing to stock back up on waffles, yogugt, deli ham and cheese, whole grain bread, and macaroni 'n cheese. Fig newton's were "Buy 1 Get 1 Free", real fruit roll-ups were 2@$1, chips were "Buy 1 Get 1 Free" and are great snacks for play dates, and Lunchables (a rare treat for Emily) were "Buy 1 Get 1 Free" so I purchased those items as well. With Pop-Tarts being only $1.88, I bought a box as a special treat for Emily. And in celebration of Nolan turning one year old, we are having friends over and I'm serving pina coladas so I needed coconut, pineapple juice, agave nectar, and the rest of the fresh pineapple. Oh! And I split my purchase into two transactions: after the first $75 rang up I paid and earned my $10 coupon, which I applied to my remaining groceries. :)