Meal Plan Mayhem | Return of the Gremlins

I love meal planning.

It takes the stress of weekly cooking down a couple dozen notches. Besides the convenience factor, I find that we eat better and spend less with a plan. With the gremlins back from a summer in Texas this week, planning was a must.

J was a reluctant convert last year when I started demanding  encouraging him to meal plan, but with the help of our neighbor and resident supermom Christina (who had laid the groundwork years before I came on the scene) I soon got him to embrace the idea (and lower his grocery budged by about 40%). Win!

We average about $150 per week for our family of 5, which equates to about $30 per person or roughly $1.43 per person per meal. Not too shabby.  When we’re good about meal planning, we rarely eat out and midweek purchases are usually for specialty produce that wouldn’t have lasted all week for a Thursday or Friday meal.

Or Slurpees. We love slurpees.

We make two stops, Costco and Aldi. Costco is where we stock up on bulk items, while Aldi is for smaller quantities. We have a vacuum-sealer, so we buy bulk, split, and freeze things like cheese and meat. We usually buy meat every 3 or 4 weeks, so while costs are higher those weeks, it evens out over time. Bread and milk holds well, so we buy two weeks worth at a time. We have an extra fridge in the garage, which makes storage a non-issue.

When meal planning, I try to use what we have in the pantry/freezer first instead of buying everything. I also try to diversify our proteins.


The Plan

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Wednesday night the gremlins have a youth group activity at church, so a 2-liter of soda, a bag of chips, and some brownie mix were unusual add-ons to our list, but I didn’t have to cook.

We had chicken, ground beef, pork in the freezer, and eggs in the fridge, so the only major protein we had to buy this week was pepperoni for the pizza. We also had a couple unexpected needs: new filters for our Brita pitcher and some power strips/surge protectors. Such is life when married to a computer geek.


The List

Costco
Doritos
Mozzarella Cheese
Bread (4 loaves)
Milk (4 gallons)
Tortilla Chips
Grapes
Water Filters (10 pack!)
#2 Pencils
Surge Protector Pack
Toilet Paper

Aldi
2-Liter of Sprite
Brownie Mix
Pizza Crust (couldn’t find, bought biscuit dough instead)
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Carrots
Cucumber
Tomatoes
Bell Peppers
Onions
Sweet Potatoes

Total Spent: $161.21


The Prep

I’m not a faithful prepper, but I’m trying to do better. To save myself a little time this week, I whipped up my famous spaghetti sauce on Sunday afternoon while J and I were working on some home projects. I let it simmer for a few hours (a rare luxury) and then divided it into two food storage containers: a small container to be used as pizza sauce on Friday and the rest in a large container for Monday’s spaghetti.

I divided the 5 lb bag of mozzarella into smaller, vacuum-sealed  packages and put most of it in the freezer for later. I also peeled and sliced some carrots into sticks and stashed them in a container in the fridge. Miraculously, fruit and veggies that are already washed and cut up disappear in my house at an alarming rate, while unprepped foods waste away in the crisper. Hmmm….

What are you cooking up this week? Comment below!

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