Whew! September was a horribly busy and chaotic month for me! I was glad for once to flip the calendar to October – though it’s going to be a busy and quick one too! (In fact so busy I couldn’t get this post finished the day I planned or the meal planning – better late than never right 😉 )
I loved having my meal planning done throughout the month of September!
It really was a great stress reliever not to have to do it each week and having a plan for each day! I did run into several snags though – one of them being that I planned a lot of ground beef meals for the month – and ground beef didn’t go on sale at all 🙁 I ended up changing several meals to chicken meals as I was able to pick up quite a bit of it on sale.
With a small grocery budget and a special diet planning is essential – even if you can’t follow the plans you laid out perfectly. I did spend a lot of my shopping trips stocking up and Manager Specials meats and freezing them, so I had a good amount of other meats to substitute for my ground beef meals – and thankfully a local store finally put ground beef on sale this week so I stocked up on what I could for this month.
I decided I’d start my meal planning for the month from what I already have on hand.
Since I’ve had a lot of questions about how to meal plan – I’ll walk you through my process – it’ll help us both as I still hate to meal plan 🙂
Breakfasts in our household are pretty easy and basic: Eggs. And on the weekends we usually through some potatoes (for Chris) and some sweet potatoes (for me) in the mix. As an occasional treat we make pancakes. I’ll share my recipe soon 🙂
I stopped buying lunch meat for Chris’ lunch last month – wow was this a time and money saver! Often I made a special trip to Aldi just for lunch meat – and I always picked up other stuff too. You know the trips where you don’t get a buggy but see a bunch of good deals where you load your arms down to the breaking point. 😉 I found that buying Chicken Legs on Manager Special and cooking a whole batch was cheaper than the lunch meat – as well as healthier. Soups are too – so I tried to make these on weekends so he’d have these to take for lunches. Worked pretty well!
So this is my plan for lunches for both of us – though I need to actually start eating a lunch… and not just grabbing a snack of fruit throughout the day.
Here’s the crux of any meal planning – the “BIG” Meal.
Since I stocked up a lot in September on meats I’m going to make my meal plan from these. My hope is then to only buy meat when it’s extremely on sale for November – and do it again. This is one way to save money on groceries.
First things 1st, I figured out exactly what I have on hand – at least in the Meat area – (I’ve done the inventory the whole house thing several times and I don’t recommend it – I never keep up with it and I’m exhausted at the end of the process.)
Here’s my List:
- 11 Meals of Steaks (I got a great deal on these – $3.66 per meal – and it’s a very quick go to meal for us)
- Ground Beef 5 – 2.5lb packages
- Beef Ribs – 1 lg package
- Liver (doubt I’ll use this)
- Chicken Legs 2 ~4lb packages
- Chicken Thighs 1 Meal worth
- Chicken Breasts (Boneless/Skinless) 3 ~2-3 lb packages
- Chicken Leg Quarters 1 – 4.5 lb package (4 Quarters – these are great for a quick meal or soups, and often marked down)
- Chicken Wings – 1 meal worth
- White Fish Nuggets (got these marked down – we’ll see how they are!)
- Turkey Thighs – 2 packages
- Pork Steaks – 3lb package with 5 steaks (I don’t eat pork as a personal choice, but Chris does, so got these for him)
With all of this I have enough to make at least 33 Meals with leftovers or more. 🙂
I decided this month instead of planning out what to have each day, that I’d like to have several options to choose from. That way I can cross off what we eat and vary it up based on factors I can’t plan for (last-minute craziness, anyone?) From there I figured out what meals I could make from what I had on hand.
Here are my meals for the rest of the Month:
(Note 16 days for us as we’ll be traveling one week. and it’s already the 9th – I’ll be posting about Paleo Traveling soon 😉 :
- Steaks, Potatoes/Sweet Potatoes & Veggie – 3x (1 per week)
- Sloppy Joes, sautéed Green Beans, Potatoes/Sweet Potatoes – 2x
- Stuffed Pepper/Veggie Casserole (see recipe below) – 4x (make a double batch 2x and freeze remaining)
- Barbecued Ribs – 1
- Roasted Chicken Legs, Roasted Veggies – 2x (freeze half for lunches)
- Oregano Chicken, Potatoes/Sweet Potato, Green Beans – 1
- Easy Chicken Nuggets, French Fries, Peas – 1x
- Chicken Soup – 1
- White Fish & Gingered Carrots – 1
Here’s what it looks like in Evernote – I printed it on and put on my refrigerator too, and I’ll cross off what we have as I go – I’ll let you know how it works next month 🙂
Paleo Stuffed Pepper/Veggie Casserole Recipe:
This is a great quick and easy meal – that’s jam-packed with healthy veggies!
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 package frozen 3 Pepper & Onion Blend (I get this at Kroger – but I’ve seen other brands)
- Diced tomatoes (2 small cans or 1 large – I’m using Tomatoes I froze from the summer)
- ~1 tsp Garlic Powder
- ~1 tsp Onion Powder
- ~1/2 tsp Oregano
- ~1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
- Salt/Pepper to Taste
- Optional: Other frozen or fresh veggies (I often use frozen loose leaf spinach to add bulk/nutrients to beef recipes, whatever you have on hand works great here!)
- Optional: Shredded Cheese (if you can handle dairy – this is great! If you can’t, it’s still yummy without it (Praise God!))
Seasoning Note: I don’t measure – but do the sprinkle method, so these are approximate 🙂
- Heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Either pre-brown the ground beef or break up in casserole dish and bake for 10-15 minutes. (I sometimes skip this step and throw it all in together, but it’s a bit greasier this way depending on your ground beef). Drain grease.
- Mix in frozen vegetables, tomatoes, and spices.
- Bake for ~10-15 minutes or until cooked through.
- Taste for seasoning preference.
- Add Cheese if desired and melt on top.
This recipe freezes great and making a double batch is super easy, so a great one to stock the freezer with! Also works great in a crockpot! Try experimenting with spices to your liking and different veggies – it’s a great way to vary it up a bit. 🙂
Be blessed & don’t stress this October!
What’s on your Meal Plan for the month? Is there a recipe you’d like to see me make “Paleo” style – leave me a comment below and I’ll try if I can ;-).