Thursday, May 18, 2017

How To: Meal Plan

Meal Planning. This is something I have always done. Probably because I learned by watching my mom and grandmother do the same thing while I was growing up. But my meal planning has evolved from when it was just me in my apartment. Now I have a husband to think about, and I’m sure it will evolve again once we have tiny people who eat real food too. So, before we get started, please know that this is entirely adaptable to fit your needs! But I thought it would be fun to document exactly how I meal plan for our needs each week.

Here are our goals for grocery shopping:
·      Spend an average of $100 a week on groceries
·      For me: Eat Gluten Free

1. Check out the ads – The two main stores I shop at are Tom Thumb and Sprouts. However, Kroger is the store I pass on my way home from school. I prefer to do my shopping on Sunday afternoon (after my nap), but if that doesn’t work, then most of the time it’s Monday after school.

**Bonus tip – Did you know that Sprouts honors both weeks coupons on Wednesdays?! 2 weeks on one day!!!

I look at the specials and will make notes on the back of my grocery list of items that are on sale – pork or shrimp, asparagus or bell peppers, etc.

2. Next up is recipes. I look through my pantry to see what’s left in the house from previous weeks. Then I go to my resources. Here are my main resources in my house:

The Grilling Book – I registered for this baby for our wedding. The recipes in here are phenomenal and perfect for summer!!

Cast Iron Casseroles – My newest addition from my mom at Christmas. The recipes in here are easily adaptable for gluten free and who doesn’t love the cast iron!

Southern Living/Mama Kay’s Recipe Book – I like the challenge of changing these recipes to be gluten free. These are our “special treat” recipes, or Trav shot a duck and I need a new idea for how to cook it!

Taste of Heaven – My best kept secret that I’ve mentioned several times before. Recipes from our “60 and over” group at church! Casseroles and dips and desserts and more!!

I look for recipes that include the sale items. Then, I think about crossover ingredients.. for instance I could use green onions in “Monday’s recipe” and “Thursday’s recipe.”

**Bonus tip – Look for sides to turn into full meals. One of the cast iron sides was asparagus and artichoke gratin.. I added slices of ham steak to make it into one full meal!

3. Make Your Grocery List. The one and only way to have a true list is this wonderful all out of pad. It hangs on the side of our refrigerator and Trav can mark something when he is out of something he wants. I also mark things as the week goes and it helps me remember I need something like right now... we need toilet paper and butter. 

4. Grocery Shop. Now you’re ready to head to the store! I love marking things off my list as I shop. Do I buy things that are not on my list? Of course, I will buy a few of the sale items to stick in the freezer to keep for future recipes! Once I finish it’s like a game to see how close I am to $100. I keep a running tally in my head (call me a math teacher!).. I know if I spent $130 the previous week, my total should be around $70.  And if I can toot my horn… most of the time, I am pretty spot on!!

And then, I go home and feel accomplished and ready for delicious meals during the week! What are your additions or adaptations for when you meal plan? 

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