Meal Plan: January 14 – 20

meals Jan 7_13_18

Clockwise from top left: oven fajitas, spaghetti & meatballs, breakfast potatoes & eggs, vegetable korma

Last week I mostly stuck to the menu. I didn’t take a picture of the hot dog meal. I misread the vegetable korma recipe and peeled way too many potatoes, so we had breakfast for dinner one night (not on the original menu). And I didn’t make the pumkin and black bean soup because really what I wanted was pumpkin chili, and for that I needed ground turkey. Also I scheduled that recipe for Thursday, which is a no cooking day since I am out of the house from 7:15 am to 9:30 pm. Michael can obviously choose to cook something for himself that day, but more often than not there is a ton of leftover food available. And I’ve acknowledged that I usually just have to purchase at least one meal on that day — I’m not organized enough to manage packing three full meals. But overall I stuck to the menu and we didn’t eat out (aside from my day on campus).

This week I’m planning to take advantage of the extra day off and make up two recipes ahead of time, which should significantly cut down on our cooking duties the rest of the week. I’ve also got two soup/stew recipes on the menu for the week — it’s that time of year and since we love them, I decided not to worry about feeling repetitious. Do you have anything exciting planned for the week, meal-wise?

Meal Plan

  • Meatball Subs, Salad, Berries
  • Turkey & Pumpkin Chili (make ahead), Cheesy Cornbread
  • Baked Spaghetti (make ahead), Steamed Broccoli
  • Squash and Chickpea Curry, Rice
  • Stuffed Pepper Soup, Salad

Prepped

  • hard boiled eggs
  • salad base
  • chex mix
  • veggies for various recipes
  • ham, broccoli & cheese egg muffins
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Groceries: January 13

I decided to change my attitude about Saturday shopping since it seems inevitable that it’s going to fall here anyway. It mostly worked, although I avoided the most stressful shopping plaza so we’ll see if I can maintain my eqaunimity next week! An Aldi in another part of town opened this week and there was a $5 off coupon for only that location. But it happened to be close to a few other places I needed to visit (not grocery stores) so I just planned to do my shopping on that side of town. It’s really out of my way otherwise, so I probably won’t shop at that particular store very often. I had thought to pick up rice at the Indian grocery, but decided the drive wasn’t worth it this time (it’s closer to where I normally shop and I just wanted to be done), so picked up jasmine rice at Aldi (which is really good!).  This week I really stocked up on produce and since we’ve got a long weekend I have the time to prep it all for the upcoming week or weeks (I think I will probably freeze some).

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Produce:

  • Carrots, 2 lbs @ $.89/ea
  • Strawberries, 2 lbs @ 2/$5 (not pictured)
  • Mushrooms, 1 lb @ $2.22 (not pictured)
  • Zucchini, 20 oz @ $.99
  • Strawberries, 3 lbs @ $1.49/ea
  • Yellow Squash, 20 oz @ $.99
  • Grape Tomatoes, 1 pint @ $1.89
  • Green Peppers, 2 lbs @ $.99/ea
  • Bananas, 2 lbs @ $.44/lb
  • Spinach, 1 lb @ $1.49
  • Romaine Hearts @ $2.29
  • Cara Cara Oranges, 3 lbs @ $2.49
  • Grapefruit, 3 lbs @ $2.49
  • Honeycrisp Apples, 3.98 lbs @ $1.29/lb

Total: $34.09

Jan 13 2018__Pantry & Grains

Pantry:

  • Corn Tortillas, 30 @ $1.39
  • Jasmine Rice, 5 lbs @ $4.79
  • Tortilla Chips, 1 bag @ $1.59
  • Cocktail Peanuts @ $1.99
  • Tomato Sauce, 4 @ $.29/ea
  • High Protein Pasta, 2 boxes @ $2.29/ea (BOGO + $1/off coupon)
  • Pasta, 2 boxes @ $1.69/ea (BOGO + $1/off coupon)
  • Hot Dog Buns @ $1.00 (not pictured)

Total: $13.90

Jan 13 2018__Dairy & Protein

Dairy & Protein

  • Ground Turkey, 1 lb @ $2.99
  • Eggs, 2 doz @ $2.99/ea
  • Feta Cheese, 2 @ $3.19/ea (BOGO)
  • Chobani Yogurt, 2 4 packs @ $3.34/ea

Total: $18.83

Weekly Total: $61.82 (three totals above minus $5 coupon)

 

Food Lately: Last Week, This Week

 

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So, last week got really intense with everyone trying to make up everything after the long period of time off from the hurricane. Pictured above is everything that I remembered to take photos of as far as dinners are concerned except for the stuffed peppers, which I shared in a recipe post last week. The pita pizzas were ok, but not great. Mostly they ensured that the pitas were eaten. I didn’t take a photo of the hot dogs we ate because a) not very interesting and b) we ate in a hurry in transition from one thing to another. Anyway, here is my plan and how we actually did:

  • Italian-Style Stuffed Peppers
  • Pita Pizzas
  • Hot Dogs & Sauteed Cabbage (weird combo, maybe)
  • Chickpea, Cauliflower, & Potato Curry
  • Spinach Pie

What We Ate:

  • Italian-Style Stuffed Peppers √
  • Pita Pizzas √
  • Hot Dogs & Sauteed Cabbage (weird combo, maybe)  √ I don’t remember what we had as a side, probably just veggies and dip.
  • Chickpea, Cauliflower, & Potato Curry 
  • Spinach Pie NOPE I didn’t have time to fiddle with the filo dough this past week and the weekend was pretty full, too, so not sure if I’ll get to that before the spinach is used in other meals.
  • ADD ON: Simple Pasta Bolognese & Roasted Broccoli √  I used up a jar of Barilla pasta sauce — the sweet peppers variety — and it made a fantastic bolognese. Then I feel like I get extra points because I immediately used the leftovers to make a small baked spaghetti for Michael and I to enjoy this week.

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This week’s meal plan:

  • Southern Style Chicken Breasts, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Green Salad
    • Pantry — potatoes, garlic
    • Fridge/Freezer — Perdue Encrusted chicken breasts, milk, salad greens, cabbage
  • Baked Spaghetti, Green Salad
    • Pantry — whole grain pasta, pasta sauce, onion
    • Fridge/Freezer — ground beef, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, salad greens, cabbage
  • Sticky Sesame Cauliflower & Tofu, Rice
    • Pantry — rice, soy sauce, honey
    • Fridge/Freezer — tofu, cauliflower, pepper strips
  • Spinach Pie
    • Pantry — onion, olive oil, garlic
    • Freezer/Fridge — spinach, cottage cheese, feta, filo dough, butter
  • Egg Roll in a Bowl
    • Pantry — coconut aminos, garlic, onions
    • Fridge/Freezer — ginger, carrots, green onions, cabbage, ground beef

I’m also gearing up for my “shelftober” challenge and wondering if my $15 budget was a little too ambitious. Mostly because we have very little fresh fruit in the house right now and that always makes me feel like I need to stock up. We shall see, I guess!

Shelf-tober

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So. I missed out on the whole Shelftember thing that a number of bloggers are participating in. But as I’ve been trying to minimize in many areas of my life, one space in my home that has come under more serious scrutiny is our pantry and freezer. I’ve already mentioned that I’ve had a bit of a mindset shift regarding what I stock up on in our deep freezer — namely, stuff that we’ll eat. You know, you type these things out and they seem even more obvious than you know they are (which is really obvious!). Still, it’s taken me a while to shift from buying the best deal to buying the best deal on food we like. Partly I think because I feel a little…ashamed maybe?…about not loving food x or y or z when they might be a super low-cost and nutritious food.

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In the pantry I’ve had some similar perspective shifts — I used to like to keep a super wide variety of grains and beans on hand because it made me feel like I was ready for any event or any recipe that struck my fancy. But honestly I make a lot of the same things over and over — the oat bran, cracked wheat and spelt hadn’t been touched in a very long time. Similarly, I used to just reflexively buy pasta when it was BOGO. Then one day I really took stock of what I had and realized that I had 24 boxes! I use half a box each time I cook pasta, which makes four servings for us. I tend to make pasta about twice a month (more recently, but still), which works out to one box of pasta/month. Do I really need to have 2 years worth of pasta on hand? I completed the pantry inventory in February, I think. Since then (and even before on some items), I have been really intentional about not bringing in new stuff* if I already have those things on hand and using up what I have. For example, I really prefer to make pasta pomodoro with angel hair pasta. We have not died or suffered culinary indignation even though I’ve used spaghetti, linguine, etc. the last few times I’ve made that dish.

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The other day I reorganized the over the fridge freezer (benefit of having totally wiped it out — you can create a whole new system!) and got a bug to go through my pantry as well. I tossed a number of grains and flours and beans that had been sitting around for a while and were either rancid (most likely), well past their prime and would take forever to cook, or just simply things we don’t use and won’t use and keeping it on hand was just cluttering up my space and causing me stress. I still have work to do in there — I’ve been storing extra glass jars, not canning jars, just nice glass jars, just in case and realized that I’ll never use all that I have and I buy things packaged in jars all the time, if I really need one — but now feel like I’m breathing more easily and like my stored food is less of a burden and more a blessing, which is what it should be.

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Anyway. The point of this whole post is to say that even though I didn’t know about Shelftember in time to really make it happen this month, I am committing to a Shelftober. I’ll follow the basic plan set forth on FunCheaporFree, although since it’s just the two of us I’m going to drop the weekly amount to $15. That will be what I can spend on fresh produce, dairy & eggs. I will keep shopping every other week, though, so my actual amount spent each shopping trip will be closer to $30. Otherwise I’ll be shopping solely from my pantry. Happily I have plenty of coffee on hand so no caffeine motivated emergencies are likely to crop up. 😛 Is anybody else gearing up for a pantry challenge in the next month or so? If you’ve been participating in Shelftember, how is it going?

*Ok, I’ve totally been buying that Rana refrigerated tortellini and ravioli. But only recently and we make eating that a priority — because it’s yummy. What can I say?