Meal Plan Monday #4

I’m calling this edition of Meal Plan Monday “oldies but goodies”. We made a lot of simple, comfort food meals that I know by heart and frankly, I learned from my momma!


If you’re trying to save money on food, eating at home is a must. Here are my tips before you head to the grocery store:

  • Shop your pantry. Take a look through your freezer, fridge and cupboards to see what you already have. Plan your meals around things in your refrigerator you want to use before they go bad and staples you have in your freezer and pantry.
  • Assess your food mood. This is a big one for me. In recent weeks I have not been in a mood to cook time-consuming meals. It’s important to acknowledge this because I don’t want to plan ambitious meals that, at the end of the day, I’m just too tired to prepare! This is a recipe for disaster (pun not intended), aka McDonald’s for dinner.
  • Rotate and clear your fridge. I try to do this each week before going to the store, though it often happens after. I clear out anything that is expired, rotate leftovers that need to be eaten soon to the front where I’ll see them, and rearrange my produce in the drawers. I prefer to keep “new” (fresh, unopened and/or whole) produce in one drawer and all the “bits” that need to be used up sooner in the other drawer – I’m probably the only person in existence that does this but it helps me to not waste food!

We have some go-to meals that we eat fairly often but I love to hunt Pinterest and my favorite foodie blogs for frugal, healthy and delicious recipes for my family. Hopefully my recipe round up will help if you’re looking for some inspiration!

Disclaimer: I eat a mostly vegetarian diet, my husband is low-carb, and 1 year old daughter will eat anything!

Breakfast

Loaded Oatmeal When I was little we used to go to a diner for breakfast where I loved to order the oatmeal because they would serve it with all the toppings on the side and you could make it yourself. I still eat it the same way: raisins, walnuts, brown sugar, chopped apples and a splash of milk. So delicious and filling! Be sure to buy the large container of plain oats – it’s much healthier AND cheaper.

Lunch

I did not plan a single thing for lunch this week except for “leftovers”! Fortunately we had plenty, plus sandwich fixings.

Dinner

Vegetarian Black Bean Fajitas I’ve made these fajitas a few times and we always love them. The creamy dressing is to die for! Full disclosure: I usually just get regular bell peppers, I always forget to buy refried black beans and end up using whole, and I make my own seasoning à la Budget Bytes.

Turkey Spaghetti Spaghetti night was almost a weekly occurrence growing up but something I haven’t made in years (thanks a lot, heartburn). Since Aldi had the 3lb package of Jennie-O ground turkey on sale and we already had angel hair pasta in the pantry this meal practically made itself and it was so good I’m already craving it again.

“Alaskan Style” Salmon Have I mentioned that I grew up in Alaska? I make our salmon the way my mom does and so Hayden likes to request it “Alaskan style”. For this recipe I place each filet on it’s own sheet of foil, season with salt, pepper and dill and top with a spoonful of honey. Roll up the edges of the foil to make a little pouch and bake on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Goes great with wild rice and a salad. Also, I’m not above buying frozen filets but I do look for fresh ones on sale.

Cheeseburgers & Tots Another super easy oldie but goodie. Hayden and Aurelia had turkey patties and I had vegetarian – the chipotle black bean burgers from Aldi are amazing FYI.

Chinese We really enjoy our “homemade” chinese takeout nights. This time I opted to cook my jasmine rice (rather than buy a frozen steamable bag) because I already had a bag of stir fry veggies in the freezer and I think the fried rice turned out even better! I added shrimp to the rice and served it with vegetable egg rolls. Yum!

Aurelia

Breakfast This week Aurelia alternated peanut butter toast and whole wheat waffles topped with maple syrup plus a banana for breakfast.

Lunch Lunch has not changed so we can officially call this one an oldie but goodie too! Scrambled eggs with cheese, avocado and berries plus an applesauce cup because her appetite is growing.

Dinner Aurelia tried a lot of the things we had for dinner this week – I was really proud of her! She enjoyed the turkey spaghetti, vegetarian burgers, and salmon (minus honey). The other nights we made her small turkey patties with cheese and served them with macaroni and canned veggies.

Do you meal plan? What are your tips and tricks for not busting your grocery budget?