19 July 2012

Meal Planning 101: Guest Post from Rellas Bellas

I'm so excited to have Jen from Rellas Bellas share with us her secrets to meal planning. Goodness knows I need all the help I can get!

Hello Along For the Ride readers. I'm Jen, I blog over at Rellas Bellas. I am currently living in Florida, in a hotel suite, while my husband attends training for the Navy. Thus, my blog currently reflects a lot of the crazy things we are doing to keep our sanity in a small town 45 minutes north of Pensacola.
Today I am going to share with you how I meal plan for the week. Since we do not have an oven here my weekly recipes consist of tons of easy summer foods to cook on the stove top or grill.

meal planning
I meal plan as an easy way to know what to make come 5pm and also to keep my grocery bill in check. I am not a crazy coupon lady. If you are I am totally jealous! I just don't have the patience for it and really, I do not need 75 jars of mustard in my pantry?? hehe. But in all honesty I meal plan so I don't buy extra stuff at the commissary {the military base equivalent to a Safeway, Ralph's, etc}.  When I wasn't meal planing my grocery bill would be well over $100 for just the two of us for a week of food! Now I can usually keep it down to about $60. While that isn't the cheapest grocery bill for two for a week of food it is saving us money and we have some tasty meals for dinner each night.

I start out every Monday morning with an iced coffee and my meal planning supplies: my handy dandy planner, my weight watchers recipe book, post it tabs, pen and grocery  list.

There are so many places to find yummy recipes: Pinterest, tons of websites like The Pioneer Woman, Skinnytaste etc. But for the simplicity of sticking to my WW diet and living in about 600 square feet of hotel I stick to my recipe book and meals that are go to faves for the hubs and I.

I start by seeing what I have left in my fridge from last week, picking out the 5 meals that I want to make and then mark them with a tab. I review the fridge for left over items to try and use up this week. Left over chicken means chicken pasta salad for Monday nights dinner!

After I have my 5 recipes picked out I review each ingredients list, check my pantry and then add what ever I need to my grocery list. This is a key step to meal planning. I used to pick recipes and then head to the store. This resulted in 5 bottles of vegetable oil, never having the correct vinegar I need and tons of random pasta boxes in my pantry.

After I have my list of ingredients needed for the 5 meals I add the rest of our food needs, i.e. sandwich meat, eggs and cereal for breakfast. I check to see if we need soy milk or OJ. I almost always make a salad to go with our meals so lettuce and spinach is a grocery list staple. As for fruits and veggies I usually buy what every looks the best and things that are in season so they are cheaper in price. That means right now we eat a lot of strawberries!

One of my favorite Friday and Saturday night go to meals is a hot dog/sausage bar. Grill up what ever you prefer, buy all the fixings for your favorite hot dogs, set it up buffet style and have your family go at it! Add salad, pasta or potato salad and you have a easy and fun weekend meal!
And finally, here is a simply and easy recipe to get your meal planning started!

shrimp tostada 1

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for coming along for the ride with me. Your comments make my day!