Meal Planning 101

I figured I would write how I plan our meals.  I know I’ve shared our weekly menu’s before, however, I never documented the process.

If you’re wondering why I choose to share this, the answer is very simple.  

I used to never budget for groceries and I never made a grocery list.  Once my family grew and my budget shrank, I relied on trial and error in order to find what works best for my family through budgeting, making lists, and meal plans.  By sharing my process, I feel like I can help others.

Alright.  On to step one.  The most important thing is to know your budget.  Every budget is different.  Whenever I first set our budget, it was way to low.  We found ourselves out of food days before pay day.  We also spent a lot of time running back and forth to the store for goodies to satisfy a sweet tooth, etc.

Our budget is $200 every two weeks.  (We are a family of five.)  Usually, I can stay a little under, however, we moved to a new state and prices here are a little higher on most of the food staples.  

Now that you have a budget in mind, the next step will be to create a menu.  I make a numbered list for 14 dinners.  I also make a category for breakfast, lunch, and sides.

Here is one of my meal plans.

 Next, I make  the grocery list.  I look to see what I already have in my pantry and then go from there.  I shop at 3 different stores: Sam’s Club, Aldi, and Wal-Mart.  I find that I can buy most of what we need from these three and stay within the budget.

My list usually spills onto two pages.  I also purchase non-food items along with the groceries, which I set aside additional money for.

For additional savings, you may want to price match and use any coupons that match up to your list.  Also, I had roast on my menu.  While I was at the store, pork chops were on sale, so I purchased those instead of the roast which was twice the cost of the chops.  I do this for other items on my list as well.

My total estimate for this shopping trip was $206.82

My ACTUAL total cost for food items only were, $203.23

My NON-FOOD items cost me $57.75
This included a xmas gift, toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, and two boxes of diapers.

Two Week Meal Plan

 Two Week Menu                  Click here for my printable grocery list!
Hot dogs w/ corn
Baked chicken breasts with salad & rolls
Pasta w/meat sauce and salad & bread
Ham & cheese on rolls w/roasted veggies
Tacos w/ rice, or taquitos
Chicken fried steak w/mashed potatoes & gravy
Sloppy joes w/tater tots
Pork chops w/green beans & mashed potatoes & rolls
Chicken enchiladas w/ beans
Chicken alfredo pizza w/ bacon
Pancakes w/ eggs & potatoes
Meatloaf, corn & green beans
Pizza w/bread sticks
Chicken fried steak sandwiches w/ gravy
Mexican Burrito w/ chorizzo
Chicken salad
Soup & grilled cheese
Sandwiches & chips
Beans & cornbread
Veggie pasta toss
Chicken & Bacon Pizza w/ Alfredo Garlic Sauce

For those of you who do not know, I used to work at Domino’s Pizza, and there was a specialty pizza called the Chicken Bacon Ranch that my husband loved.  Despite the title of this pizza, it is NOT made with Ranch.  It is made with Domino’s  garlic sauce.  Anyway, this is a recipe on their pizza, made my way.

First, you will need to make yourself some chicken.  Flavor how you want to, but this is what I used on mine.

Next, you will need to fry your bacon.

Next, gather your rolled out pizza dough and add your favorite Alfredo Garlic Sauce in a spiral pattern by using a resealable plastic bag that has the tip cut off.  Do not worry about spreading out the sauce, it should spread out on its own while it cooks.

Next, add your toppings: Cheese (I used Mozzarella, Parmesan), Shredded Chicken, & Bacon and then cook at 350-375 degrees until cheese is melted and dough is slightly browned.
Viola! You’re done! Enjoy

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