Monday, October 5, 2009

Monday's Meal Plan- The "Making the Meal Plan Happen" Edition

This week I wanted to show you exactly how I meal plan!  I say it all the time, but meal planning is one of the biggest keys to what I do.  Without a meal plan I would just spend the whole week at the store because inevitably I would forget something crucial to my meal... or I'd just get tired of it all and want to eat out. :)

I always start with my pantry... What is in it that I can build from?
Monday's meal-
In my pantry/fridge I have:
  • dried garbanzo beans
  • feta cheese
  • chopped chicken in the freezer
  • lemon
Sounds like Gyros to me!

To finish the meal I need a few things that I am adding to my grocery list:
  • Tomatoes ($.99 for 3 at Aldi)
  • Cucumber (Aldi)
  • Plain Yogurt (Publix yogurt 24 oz on sale at Publix)
  • Lettuce
  • red wine vinegar (I have a free coupon for this)
  • Olives (cheap at Aldi)
  • Make Pita Bread
Tuesday's meal-
In the pantry/fridge I have:
  • Homemade Bread
  • tomatoes (already bought Monday at Aldi)
  • basil (in my garden)
Starting to look like Tomato Basil Soup and Grilled Cheese!  YUM!

To finish the meal I need:
  • butter
  • cream
  • cheese (Kraft on sale at Publix for $1.67- I also have $1/1 coupon!)
  • A few cans of tomatoes- Hunt's coupon just came out Sunday, but may just end up buying Publix brand depending on sales.
Wednesday's meal-
In the pantry/fridge I have:
  • Cabbage
  • Mesa (stuff to make corn tortillas)
  • Cod (in the freezer from Kroger's sale last week.. its also on sale again this week!)
  • taco seasoning
  • beans
  • cilantro
  • tomatoes (from Aldi Monday)
  • cheese (bought at publix Monday)
Looks like Fish Tacos with refried beans and homemade salsa and chips!  I still need:
  • sour cream 
Thursday's meal-
In the pantry/fridge I have:
  • Chopped chicken (in freezer)
  • frozen corn and peas
  • potatoes
  • cream cheese
  • cheese (bought monday at Publix)
  • lettuce
  • cucumber (bought monday)
  • dressing
Looks like Chicken Shepherds Pie and green salad! I got the idea online, but sort of made it my own- spread the chicken and veggies and cheese in the bottom of the pan- put garlic mashed potatoes on top with more cheese and bake.  So yummy and simple!  I still need:
  • carrots for the salad
Friday's meal-
In the pantry/fridge I have:
  • ground beef
  • bread crumbs
  • egg
  • milk
  • butter
  • potatoes
  • salad fixins
Sounds like a good meatloaf night!  But I still need:
  • Catsup- (Publix greenwise catsup- $2... expensive for catsup, but cheap for the greenwise :)
We did it!!  A weeks worth of dinners and here's what is on my grocery list:
  • tomatoes
  • cucumber
  • lettuce
  • red wine vinegar
  • olives
  • pita bread
  • butter
  • cream
  • cheese
  • canned tomatoes
  • sour cream
  • carrots
  • catsup
I won't pain you by taking you through the same process with breakfast and lunches (although I really won't need to buy much except fruit and a few other things), but now you see how I do it! It looks like I will spend time at 2 stores this week, Publix and Aldi.  Our budget is a little tighter this week than normal, so I am willing to make the extra run to Aldi for the produce.

Now that I have my list together for the week, I can spend whatever is left in my budget to "stockpile".  Stockpiling is just stocking up on multiples of an item that you can get for free or cheap using your coupons.  Or if your freezer is low on meat you could stock up on manager's special or sale meat.  Stockpiling when items are at a rock bottom price is crucial to this budget and coupon process to keep you from buying necessary food items each week at regular price.

Bottom line: Make a meal plan and eat at home- your wallet and sanity will thank you!!


  1. I always look forward to your monday meal planning post.. last week I planned out meals for 10 days, and it really helps to keep me from running through a drive thu cause I don't know what to make for dinner. and since my parents had us for dinner over the weekend, I added another night to my meals! also helps that my hamburger buns turned out to be more like large rolls so that kept my corn bread for another meal lol (see bu2 for me look jazz post)
    Mary J

  2. Ah yes. The budget we have been on since moving to the Bay Area is TIGHT. I grocery shop once a month (buy very little in between). I have to have my meals planned for 30 breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, and snacks 2x's a day for my girls. I truly believe in meal planning. I am a bargain junkie also, so that helps too! hehe :)