January 29-Feb 4th Our Weekly Meal Plan

Planning:

  • Go through flyers for best prices. Also check online for specials at local butchers, farmer's markets, bakeries and shops.
  • Check freezer, fridge, pantry and make as many meals as possible with these items and items on sale this week.
  • Make menu and shopping list.

Menu:

I usually use this format to plan. Not assigning a day to the meal, but rather having everything prepped to make whichever I feel like doing that day. Here is my plan for this week. Recipes will be added as well, as I get them photographed and posted. Supper Time Planned Meals: January 29 to February 4
  • Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with potatoes and veggies
  • Roast Chicken with Rice and Veggies
  • Spaghetti and Meatballs
  • Chicken Veggie Soup & Biscuits
  • Homemade Pizza
  • Big Mac Salad
Lunch Time: Our lunches (hubby & I) are usually salad or wrap with some kind of protein (Chicken, Tuna, Egg, etc), or leftovers from supper. I am making Spinach bowls for part of our lunches this week as well. We will also have a chicken cooked and use the meat for lunches. School lunches are usually NOT sandwiches, as my oldest does not like them. So I get creative with what we have on hand. Meat chunks, grape tomatoes, cheese cubes, cut up veggies, etc... Breakfast Time: We have options ready and available.

Snacks:

  • apples (with peanut butter)
  • Sliced peppers, celery & carrots
  • almonds
  • dates
  • cereal bars /  granola bars (kids)
  • crackers & cheese
  • yogurt
  • boiled eggs

Shopping:

This week I stocked up on a few sale items that we were running low on in our pantry. I tend to purchase 4-5 extra items when the sales are great. One item I purchased this week was Pasta for only $0.24 a box, and I found 10 coupons in my binder, so I used them to get 10 boxes. Usually I would stick to 6 max, but the coupons are expiring soon, so I used them all. Last sale with those coupons I purchased 10, but I donated them all, as we had boxes in our pantry at the time. 10 boxes of pasta will last quite a while in our house, as we eat pasta maybe once a week. In the list below I have marked the "stock up" items and the meal plan or weekly needs items, so you can see what I did a little clearer.
  • Deli Pack meats x4 $1.99 (Stock up: these are for my oldest son's subs & pizza, and 3 packs are frozen for future use)
  • KCups 12pk X2 $3.49 each (stock up)
  • Ground Coffee X2 $1.99 each (stock up)
  • Pasta x10 $0.24 each (stock up, one box for spaghetti this week)
  • Ground Beef, medium 3 lb $8.67 (Usually buy lean but it was too expensive, so making recipes I can drain all fat off, check out my Meatball baking tip)
  • Celery $0.97 (soup & snacks)
  • Iceberg Lettuce x2 $0.97 each (Big Mac Salad & Lettuce Wraps/Salads for lunch)
  • Bacon $3.99 (pork tenderloin & weekend breakfast)
  • Coffee Cream $2.99
  • Milk $2.88
  • Eggs $1.88
  • Potatoes $4.77
  • Chicken Broth x8 $1.25 each
  • TOTAL was just under $150 (includes many items I will use in future weeks)

Items On Hand:

  • Chicken (purchased 3 for $21 last week)
  • Bread Crumbs
  • Seasonings
  • 3 bananas, flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda (muffins)
  • yogurt
  • clementines
  • apples
  • bbq sauce
  • carrots
  • peppers
  • onions
  • rice
  • crackers
  • cheese
  • almonds
  • dates

Meal Prep

I have decided to start a weekly Meal Prep post with pics and details, but here is the list of what I did. Click here for details.
  • Boil 6 eggs, cool & store in fridge.
  • Brown ground beef for Big Mac Salad, then store in container in fridge.
  • Mix up and bake Meatballs. Divide into 2 freezer bags for 2 family meals.
  • Make 1 dozen Banana Muffins. Freeze 4.
  • Cook Chicken in crock pot. For supper with rice, and use bones and remaining chicken for soup, to be made later that evening.
  • Cook and freeze pasta for spaghetti and a box of penne for later use.
  • Make up 4 jars of Overnight Oatmeal.
  • Season and wrap pork tenderloin and freeze. Ready to cook later in the week.
  • Thaw 2 chicken breast in fridge for use in lunches this week.
  • Bake sub buns for lunches.
  • Make and freeze Pizza Dough.
  • Cut up celery and carrots into snack bags

Jan 16-22 Our Weekly Meal Plan

Jan 16-22 Our Weekly Meal Plan

Last week I started posting our weekly Meal Plan with you and explained a bit about the process. This week is more condensed. If you wish to know more about how to meal plan, please click here. This week I went to Costco for some veggies and stoking up on a few bulk items we purchase there. We have some items we almost always purchase at Costco, Almonds and Dates are great snacks, and huge bags of spinach for salads, omelets and smoothies.
This trip to Costco we picked up the following:
  • Spinach $3.89
  • Mushrooms $4.99
  • 5lb Clementines $3.79
  • 2X Cheese Strings 40k $19.58 ($0.24 each)
  • Almonds (snacks) $16.99
  • Dates (snacks & protein balls/bars)  $6.79
  • 2 kg Peanut Butter $5.89
  • Popcorn (snacks) $6.99
  • 1kg Sliced Ham $9.89
  • Pretzel Crackers $6.99 (divided up in snack bags)
Total: $85.79
Shoppers Drug Mart
  • 4X 2L Milk ($3.39) $13.56
  • Cereal Cream (we use in coffee) $2.99
  • 2X Dozen Eggs ($1.88)
Total: $20.31
Superstore:
  • 10lb Potatoes $2
  • 3pk Romaine Lettuce $3.49
  • Broccoli $1.99
Total: $7.48
TOTAL PURCHASED:$113.58 As you can see in the above break down, many of the items I picked up at Costco will be used over the coming weeks and months as snack items. We portion out the almonds, dates, pretzels and popcorn for lunches and snacks. I purchased an extra dozen eggs to make Omelet Muffins (to freeze) and Pancakes (to freeze).

Meals this week will be selected from the following choices.

  • Bic Mac Salad 
  • Thai Chicken & Rice Soup
  • Twice Backed Potatoes, Chicken and Broccoli
  • Spinach Salad & Maple Salmon
  • Veggie Chili
  • Tuna & Avocado Salad in Lettuce Wraps
  • Pizza (take out)

Lunches for work and school will be:

  • ham slices, grape tomatoes (remaining from last week), pretzel crackers, clementine, cheese string
  • Ham and cheese sandwich, clementine or apple, pudding or yogurt
  • Spinach salad with chicken or ham

Meal Prep:

  • Boil 6-8 Eggs
  • Grill 4 Chicken Breasts
  • Bake Muffins
  • Cook Pancakes (freeze for popping in the toaster)
  • 12 Omelet Muffins(freeze)
Looking ahead at the flyers starting tomorrow here are a few plans I have for next week:
  1. some extra bread to prep French Toast for freezing (Wonderbread @ Giant Tiger $1.88 - $1 wyb2 coupon = $1.38)
  2. Eggroll Bowl (Coleslaw mix at Walmart $1.77)
  3. Cola Pulled Pork (Walmart Cola $0.97)

Saving Money & Healthy Meal Planning #FlippFoodChallenge

Saving Money & Healthy Meal Planning with the help of Flipp

As you may be aware, I am on a healthier lifestyle journey to lose weight and feel better. In the process my grocery bill has gone up from making better food choices and having less coupons or discounts available to save money on the fresh foods we are packing in our fridge. 

When I sit down to meal plan each week, first I look at what we have on hand in the fridge, freezer and pantry. I try to pick a variety of meal options for the week, and then I make my shopping list. By using the Flipp app, I have access to all the local flyers in one spot. The app is often updated with flyers a day early and before the paper copies arrive at my house.

With my phone in hand, I then create my shopping list based on what I need in addition to what I already have in my home. With Flipp, as I add an item to my list, it shows me if and where it is on sale. Many times I choose to price match, keeping my shopping to one stop instead of 5.

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This week I shopped for lots of healthy, fresh veggies. While there are rarely coupons for fresh foods like this, you can price match at Walmart, No Frills and Giant Tiger locations here in Atlantic Canada. Some other Loblaws chain stores in other regions price match as well.

I made this tasty and inexpensive salad with my Flipp shopping list, as well as a Spinach Bowl for lunch. By using Flipp to make my list, and price match, I was able to make these two meals for less than $8, with veggies left over for other meals.

Zoodle Salad with Lime Basil Dressing

Serves 2-3 as a side salad

  • 1 large Zucchini (2 medium)
  • 1 Roma Tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cup English Cucumber, sliced and quarted
  • 1 Avocado,  diced
  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Lime, juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Basil
  • Dash Salt & Pepper

zucchiniSalad

Using a julienne tool make zucchini noodles. Place in a bowl and add tomatoes,  cucumbers and avocado.

In blender or food processor, puree olive oil, lime juice and basil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour dressing over salad and stir to combine.let marinate in the fridge for 20 minutes (tastes even better if you marinate longer).

The second recipe I made with my fresh veggies was a Spinach Bowl for my lunch.

Spinach Bowl

Serves 2 (full meal bowls) or 4 (as a side)

  • 4 -6 cups of fresh Spinach
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 sweet Pepper, diced (I used 1/2 red and 1/2 yellow)
  • 1/2 Red Onion, diced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves minced
  • Juice from 1/2 Lemon (if you like Balsamic Vinegar better, use 1 1/2 tsp in place of Lemon)
  • 1/2 cup diced Feta Cheese

Using a large frying pan, heat Olive Oil and add Peppers, Onion and Garlic. Stir and cook until onion is soft. Add Spinach and cook approximately 4 minutes until wilted.
Add Lemon juice and stir to mix well.
Place in bowls and add Feta cheese, mix it in or leave on top.

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This is an awesome Lunch option and so flavourful. You can add sliced Olives if you like, as well as a little greek seasoning in the pan with the veggies.

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I was part of the #FlippFoodChallenge and received compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

Basic Meal Planning Template Download

Basic Meal Planning Template Download

Meal planning is a great money saver and waste reducer. If you have a hard time sticking to a meal plan, then this style planner may work for you.
planning
DOWNLOAD Meal Planner

Go through your freezer, pantry and fridge each week and write down meal options in each of the blocks.
As you make each meal cross it off the list. At the end of the week, carry over any options to the following week, that you did not use this week.

Here is an example of how I started this type of meal plan.
The above download is a printable version you can personalize weekly.
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Meal Planning Board and Preparation

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Meal Planning Board and Preparation

Having a menu plan set up for your family will help you save time and money. In this article, I will give you tips on how I plan my menu and keep my grocery budget at a minimum.

  1. Create a Menu Board: this can be done using things you already have around your house. I used an empty cereal box, unfolding it and cutting off the edges to make one flat sheet. Decorate your sheet as desired, with the days of the week listed down the left side. Use cardboard pieces to make your meal labels (ex. Monday: Sheppard's Pie)...this makes your meals easy to switch week by week. Write the name of your meal on these labels (pot roast, casserole, shake n' bake chicken, etc.) Pinterest has a lot of examples and ideas for menu plans also.

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  1. Shopping for your Meal Plan: in Moncton, our weekly flyers become available between Wednesday and Friday. Scan these flyers for sales of items needed for your meals. Base that weeks meals on the sales to make your dollar stretch farther. If possible, match those sales with a coupon to lower the price even more. Keep an eye out for sales on items that we don't normally get coupons for, like fresh meats and produce, for example. Be sure to scan the “reduced for quick sale” shelves in the produce and bakery departments, as many times items are placed there due to close expiry or only a few of the product is bad (example: tomato package or grapes, only a few going bad or soft, but the rest are fine!) Remember, if it is a really good deal, $2/lb ground beef, grab a few, as it can be frozen for future use. 

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  1. Planning your meals: Plan your meals so you have something different everyday of the week, you don't want to get bored or tired of the same thing. Make sure your weekly menu is realistic. We all know that its just not feasible to have roast beef, whole chicken, or turkey everyday of the week. Also keep your schedule in mind when planning your meals. If you have hockey on Wednesday, don't plan to have a turkey dinner on Wednesday. Remember: it is okay to have chicken nuggets and fries every once in a while!

  2. Preparing your Meals: this is where all the real work begins. Dedicate a day of the week where you are available to prepare all your weekly meals. Cut, chop, and dice all your vegetables (if there are leftovers, they can be frozen for future use) Prepare all your meals as if you are making them for that evening, or in a way that they can be thrown together quickly. Fry your ground beef, add your sauces to your chicken, make your spaghetti sauce, etc., and freeze in freezer bags, or containers. Remember to label your freezer bags/containers with the date it was prepared, and the contents.

  3. Cook larger meals and eat leftovers: when preparing a large, hearty meal, like whole chicken, make 2 at a time. This will ensure you have enough, and will give you another meal for that week. Hot chicken sandwiches, chicken sandwiches for lunches, chicken stew or soup, the possibilities are endless!

  4. Crock Pot meals: many crock pot recipes can be prepared in advance and placed in Ziploc bags for your freezer. Put all the ingredients into a freezer bag and remove as much air as possible. Lay flat on cookie sheets to freeze. Once they are frozen, the will stand up in your freezer.

  5. Pancakes, waffles and french toast: this is one of my favorite tips. When making pancakes, waffles or french toast for your breakfast, make the whole package. For pancakes or waffles, make the whole box, lay pancakes/waffles on a cookie sheet to freeze, then store in serving size freezer bags in your freezer. For french toast, use the whole loaf of bread and lay flat to freeze, transfer into freezer bags and store in the freezer.

Check out Ruth Ann's easy Menu Planning strategy, here. Download a printable version here.