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. After a three week vacation/move, life is back to normal, and we are back to meal planning! We ate everything on our meal plan the last week we were in town so, I adjusted my inventory accordingly. We were on vacation for two weeks and then, this past week, was spent moving into our new house. I didn't meal plan last week as I just didn't have the time required to cook and wash dishes so, we purchased A LOT of take-out, had pizza delivered, and made random trips to the store to eat the last made-ahead meatloaf I had and to make grilled shrimp pesto pasta with the last portion of shrimp I had in my freezer and the made-ahead pesto I had in the freezer.
All of that gave me an inventory of ZERO! Except for the roasted red pepper puree I had left. :)
So, today's trip to the grocery store meant stocking my fridge & freezer back up to 100%.
Translation: huge grocery bill today!
8 portions ground turkey breast
1 portion boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 portions boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 portion Brats
3 portions colossal shrimp
1 portion made-ahead roasted red pepper puree
Normally, I shop 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; however, since I was basically starting from scratch without any "meat", I only purchased the meats that were on sale to get us through this week. My pantry was still pretty well stocked and I leaned on what was in it to give me inspiration for what to cook. 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.
Grilled shrimp over roasted red pepper alfredo and salad
Grilled chicken and asparagus
Brats and baked tator tots
Turkey tacos with chips & guacamole
LeftoversChicken & spinach flautas
So, how did I come up with this meal plan?
As I mentioned above, I was starting with an empty freezer this week so, I only purchased enough meat to get us through this week. Colossal shrimp was 50% off (I bought 3lbs!) so I'm grilling that and serving with my roasted red pepper alfredo sauce (had cream cheese, milk, parmesan and frozen red pepper puree on hand) over whole wheat linguine (had on hand). I'm serving it with a salad and home-made herb vinaigrette dressing. BLSL chicken thighs were on sale $1.99/lb (I purchased 3lbs!) so I purchased those and am going to make these incredible chicken & spinach flautas (recipe to come!) to eat this week and freeze for later. We always grill chicken breast over the weekend to use for lunches throughout the week and save one portion to have for dinner that same night. Asparagus looked amazing so, we will have grilled chicken breast and asparagus one night. I had hoagie rolls in my freezer and brats were $1.50 off so I purchased a package and will serve with baked tator tots (had in my freezer). Ground turkey breast was "Buy 1 Get 1 Free" (I purchased 4- 2 portions in each) and I had taco shells, taco sauce, and fresh onion, garlic, tomatoes, lettuce, avacado on hand for a quick meal of turkey tacos. Avacado was 4@$5 (I purchased 4) so I'll make guacamole to go with the tacos. And lastly, we always have softball, a girl's/guy's night out, a play date, or a late night at work come up so, I always build in a leftovers night.
What did I purchase this week?
I told y'all this first week back at feeding my family 3 meals and 2 snacks a day would break the bank... and it did!
Of course I first took advantage of the 35% off wine discount PLUS an additional 10% off each 6 bottles (that was $120 worth!) and I had to purchase our weekly milk, eggs, English muffins, and fresh produce (apples, bananas, orange, pears, peaches, plums, and Organic berries) for the week's meals. I also had to replace things were were out of including: whole wheat couscous, quinoa, cereal (on sale $1.88ea), sugar-free pudding, garlic, black beans, soup, frozen vegetables, biscuits, and herbs. I like to make a big batch of roasted vegetables for pasta primavera and I'm making a zucchini loaf and banana pancakes for breakfast so, I purchased a larger quantity of squash and bananas than normal. Do you see the item that I've never purchased before? If you guessed Organic whole milk you would be correct! We are working to move Nolan onto cow's milk this month to begin the breast-weaning process.