A few weeks ago I wrote a post on How I Order Groceries Online + Price Match. In that post, I talked a little about how I meal plan.
In this post, I am going to show you how I meal plan for my family for the week. Our family consists of myself, my husband and our one-year-old daughter. My husband works 12-hour shifts so I also make meals for his lunch.
Make a List of Ingredients On Hand
Before planning out meals it’s important to know what ingredients you already have. This helps cut down on grocery spending and prevents food waste.
First off I like to start with ingredients in the freezer, as I will need to defrost items like meat before cooking.
In my freezer I have:
- pork chops
- a frozen pepperoni pizza
- a little bit of corn
- some butternut squash
- chicken drumsticks (buried below the frozen veggies)
- frozen berries
In the fridge I have:
- chopped bell peppers
- pie crust
- whipping cream
- marinara sauce
- parmesan cheese
- mozzarella cheese
- cheddar cheese
- english muffins
In my cupboards I have:
- 2 cans black beans
- 1 can of lentils
- 3 cans of cream of chicken soup
- 3 cans of tomato sauce
- panko crumbs
- refried beans
- lasagna noodles
- a few bags of pasta
Find Recipes that Use Ingredients From Your Pantry
Based off the above items a few meals come to mind:
- Breaded pork chops or chicken (panko crumbs and parmesan) with salad and roasted sweet potatoes or pasta with marinara sauce
- Vegetarian lasagna (squash, black beans, tomato sauce and cheese)
- chilli (lentils, black beans, corn and bell peppers) with jalapeno cheddar bread (omit jalapeno)
- Quiche (eggs, bell peppers and cheese) with salad
- Pizza (from the freezer)
- English muffin pizza (English muffins, cheese, black beans, pasta sauce)
Tips to come up with meal ideas:
- use the index of a cookbook to look up recipes by ingredient
- a few of my favourite cookbooks are: Cravings: Hungry for More, Magnolia Table, Better Homes and Gardens (a good cookbook for beginners)
- search by ingredients on All Recipes to find a recipe
- create a Pinterest board to save recipes from Facebook or All Recipes
- try to recreate a meal you like to order from a restaurant and search Pinterest for the recipe, like chicken and waffles
- check out my post on my go-to easy weeknight meals
To round out these meals I’ll need to buy a few more ingredients.
- spring mix to make a salad
- cottage cheese for the lasagna
- a couple of sweet potatoes
Find Recipes that Use Ingredients You are Buying
Based on the above list I don’t need to buy too many extra ingredients. However any perishable ingredients I am buying I will incorporate into other recipes that use up any extra. For example, I bought a large container of pre-washed spring mix lettuce because it was cheaper than the smaller container. For my lunch, I will be making a salad each day.
Buy Groceries Online and Price Match
Finally, I will take the list of ingredients I need to buy along with any other items we need to stock up on.
This week we needed:
- 2 containers of yogurt
- 2 cases of water
- whole milk
- orange juice
- granola bars
Then as I detailed in my post about how I grocery shop online and price match I will search for each item on Flipp, clip it and then order it online through Walmart. After my order is placed I go back and submit my price match request.
I realize this is a very simplified version of meal planning. However, for those just starting to meal plan, I hope this is helpful. One of the best benefits of meal planning is saving money on groceries. Plus when you plan ahead meals are one less thing to worry about during the week.
Take an evening this week and use this post to help you plan out your meals.
go to cookbooks for Meal Planning:
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