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. I also gave our last portion of chicken enchiladas Verdes to a neighbor who just had a baby and we ate the last portion of made-ahead meatballs in meatball subs for lunch this weekend while my mom was here. Less to move if we eat it all now!
2 portions ground turkey
3 portions boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 portions shrimp
1 portions made-ahead meatloaf
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.
Orange chicken with with asparagus over brown rice
Smoked roasted chicken, smashed cauliflower, sauteed zucchini/squash/tomatoes
Turkey tacos with guacamole
Chicken Pad Thai
Turkey Mac with side saladDinner out to celebrate the last day of school
Dinner at the airport as we head off for vacation
So, how did I come up with this meal plan?
Only 5 days 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. Orange chicken is a favorite of my family and because I had the rice, seasonings, and orange sauce on hand, all I had to purchase was a vegetable to balance out the meal (I chose asparagus). Whole chickens were on sale and I needed the extra meat for lunches over the weekend with my mom in town so, I purchased a chicken and will have David smoke it on the pit. I'm serving it with smashed cauliflower (like mashed potatoes!), and purchased zucchini & squash (both on sale $0.79/lb) and tomatoes to saute. Turkey tacos and turkey mac were added as I have the ground turkey, tacos shells, Velveeta, toppings and all seasonings on hand that I need to use up in my fridge! I purchased whole wheat pasta for only $0.99 for the turkey mac. I'll serve a salad with the turkey mac to use up the lettuce I have. Paid Thai is a new favorite of ours and I have the rice noodles and all ingredients for the sauce on hand. It's an easy way to use up the rest of the chicken I have in my freezer as well. The last two nights of the week will be spent eating out or ordering take out as it's the last day of Kindergarten for Emily and the day we leave on our summer vacation. We are going to be swamped packing up all the remaining little things we need to live each day and we want to pack up everything left in the kitchen so, no cooking for me!
What did I purchase this week?
I only spent $67.91 this week to purchase just enough fresh produce, deli meat, and yogurt for us to eat up this week. I did purchase string cheese as it was on sale "Buy 1 Get 1 Free" and won't expire while we are gone as well as 1.50lbs of flank steak on clearance for only $1.49/lb that we are using to have a friends over for lunch this weekend as a "thank you" for helping us with the kids and packing. Burger buns were on sale 50% off and now that I have room in my freezer I can store them for future use. Bread is expensive, y'all! I also splurged on some champagne and wine to celebrate Nolan's birthday this weekend and I had to purchase ketch-up and extra grapes for the Kindergarten picnic today. The orange and limes are for the fajita marinade for the flank steak.