Part II: The Elusive $100 Grocery List and Mystical Meal Planning

In Part I: The Elusive $100 Grocery List and Mystical Meal Planning, I explained my attempts at keeping our weekly grocery budget to around $100. The meal planning madness continues by sharing how I typically meal plan for the week. I am by no means an expert but this is what has helped me this year.

Previously . . .

1. Pick a grocery store that fits your needs

2. Shop the sales and have a price point at which you will buy your common food items.

3. Own a deep freezer and a husband who likes to can. Oh and likes to garden too.

More meal planning madness . . .

4. Plan out 2 to 3 meals based on what’s on sale.

Big hunk-o-meat on sale? Find a recipe to roast it, grill it, or crock pot (can that be used as a verb?) it. Peppers on sale? Stuffed peppers sound great. Or perhaps fajitas? You catch the drift.

Using last week’s meal planning as an example I saw that tilapia, lettuce, and other salad vegetables were on sale. Plus I had a pork shoulder roast and some chicken breast in the freezer from the previous week’s sale. With those ingredients I knew that we would be having salad throughout the week, chicken noodle soup one night, one meal with baked tilapia, and pork shoulder roast.

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5. Create carry-over dishes that can make new meals.

With many of the items I cook, I make much more than what our little family of 2 and 1/4 people can eat with a plan in mind of repurposing the food in a different way. I cooked extra chicken breasts the night I made soup with the idea that we would have a salad night with chicken to throw on top. I also roasted the pork shoulder for burritos one night knowing that we would have PLENTY of leftover meat for sandwiches the next night. Two more meals for my meal plan.

6. Have your go-to specialties.

Most people have a handful (or more) meals that they can make in their sleep. Perhaps the go-to spaghetti sauce they have been making since college or the easy steak and potatoes that they can throw on the grill. Recently my hubby and I have been going through a burger phase. ALL TYPES of burger phase – chicken burgers, turkey burgers, buffalo burgers, and beef burgers. This is a great go-to meal for us that takes hardly any time and becomes a balanced meal when it is paired with a roasted veggie or salad instead of potato. We always have ground something and some sort of bagels or buns in the freezer, so this meal is easy to throw in any meal plan.

7. Give yourself wiggle room and if it doesn’t work one night – push it back.

If you’ll notice on Friday, I had a bunch of maybes since I had no clue where we would be in terms of the leftover situation. This was my wiggle room and as I remembered an hour after I wrote this meal plan we had made plans to go to fish fry that Friday any how. As luck would have it, I came down with the stomach flu early Thursday morning so that night’s plans and Friday’s went out the window, UGH.

If we don’t eat what is planned for one night, we just push it back to the next night. Easy peasy.

So that’s how I meal plan around these parts. It works for pretty well for us right now and I am learning more everyday. Happy meal planning!

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