Monday, April 1, 2013

Meal Planning Monday

Happy Monday! Welcome to another installment of weekly meal planning.

How many love grocery shopping as much as me?
No. Kidding, I hate it. With a million other things to do in a day, I hate to spend an hour or more of my time on the mundane task of grocery shopping, but unfortunately it must be done.

To start the week off, I'm going to share some grocery shopping tips--some things I've found to make shopping for groceries easier, cheaper, quicker & more effective.

1. Make a list!!
I normally shop for two weeks worth of groceries at a time, and I always, always go with a list. Last week, I talked about how I made my list while I was planning my meals. While I'm making my list, I also go over what snacks we might need in the house, drinks, lunch foods, etc. & take stock of my produce. I always look in the fridge/pantry to see whether we have something if I'm unsure. This way, I avoid having too much of something (and having it go bad) or even worse, forgetting an item and having to go back to the grocery store!

2. Make the list organized!
I make my list by category. I always shop at the same grocery store, so I have the layout memorized, and I make my list by order of the sections I go through. The produce section is first, then meats, then dairy, etc. Have you ever gotten to the end of the store and realized you forgot something clear on the other side? Me too. So annoying right?! Organizing your list makes that less likely to happen!

3. Stick to your list!
If you're careful and take a bit of time to plan your meals & make your list, you won't end up wasting money on a bunch of unnecessary groceries.

4. Eat a meal before you hit up the store!
We've all been there. If you shop for groceries hungry, you will end up with much more food than you actually need. If you eat first, you're less likely to make impulse purchases.

5. Go alone if possible!
I try to do my shopping when my husband is home to watch Liam--either on a weeknight after work or a weekend. I find that if Liam comes with me, it either takes a lot longer, or I rush through and either grab stuff I don't need or forget something important. If Keith comes along to the store, we're bound to have a cart full of 'Hey, this looks really good, let's try it!'

6. Get a Starbucks & wear headphones!
Grocery shopping can seem so much less daunting if you know you get Starbucks on the way! But then again...Starbucks makes anything better. I also find that if I listen to my favorite tunes while I'm shopping, it seems more fun.

Here is my menu for the week!

Haven't tried it, but I've heard it's yummy!
Also, I normally make my own sweet potato fries from scratch. 
Here is a fantastic recipe I found.

I've made these several times and we love them! Even my husband, who 'doesn't like pork chops'. I normally use boneless pork loin chops, and if we don't feel like firing up the grill, I broil them.

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
This is the easiest dinner you'll probably ever make!
I get canned chicken and a bottle of BBQ sauce. (For two of us, two cans of chicken will do). Heat the chicken & sauce in a skillet (as much sauce as you'd like, depending on how messy you want your sandwiches to be) and that's it! Serve on your favorite buns with whatever toppings you like. 

I love making calzones at home because you can put in whatever toppings you like. I always get the Pillsbury refrigerated pizza dough instead of bread dough, and I usually put my sauce inside rather than serving it on the side. Our favorite toppings are ham, sausage, pepperoni, onion & bell peppers.

Easiest, most yummy tacos ever! It's like, zero work! The hardest part is getting the toppings together when it's time to eat :)



  1. I love that you're doing this!! Especially because I love hearing about new recipes and yummy things to try :) And shopping for groceries with Starbucks??' GENIUS!

  2. I am loving this. You are awesome. I will definitely start trying to keep a menu. Its hard though with Vinny never being home more than like 2-3 days a week max. So sad, but I am loving how simple this is. Kudos mom!

  3. You must be super woman to make meals with a little one every night for your fam. Seriously. Youre my hero. My poor husband is lucky if I remember to order pizza one night a week so he doesnt have to cook for himself. Its not easy, working, having a baby under 1, and doing house chores, and making dinners every night?!?! How do you do it. But one thing I swore is that I'd try. So tonight is my first attempt at trying. (I'll post about it later) I have my meal chosen (thanks to pinterest) and I will attempt at making it from start to finish with Noah probably being awake and with me in the kitchen. We'll see how it goes. Wish me luck. And if all else fails ... Taco Bell is right around the corner. LOL

    1. Tesseroni--
      (that's my nickname for you!)
      first offly, it's totally not weird that you stalked my blog and smiled goofy at all the pics of Liam...I do that to yours, & EVERYone's who has a cute babe!

      I have found the easiest way to make sure we have things to eat is to plan...which is kinda why I started doing this!! If I have a plan, I'm more likely to actually get it done. Thankfully Keith usually entertains Liam while I'm cooking, and a lot of nights, my meals are suuper quick & easy.
      Can't wait to see what you make!!!
      (My husband LOVES PIZZA, like literally would eat it every night if I let him......)

      Oh, P.S.
      Do you have a job? Like, other than the full-time job of mothering, do you have another job outside the house?
      I stay home w/ Liam, but if I worked outside the house, I can't imagine EVER having time to cook ANYYTthing.

    2. Hahaha! Tesseroni. I like it!
      Ya I have a job, but a pretty lax one. I work tues, Wed, Thurs with my dad. I come in after Noah wakes up and I feed him and drop him off at Baka's (grandma in Croatian) and then I leaver before his last nap of the day around 3pm ish. So I have it pretty good. I consider myself lucky. But by the time I get home, get noah down for his last nap (which he doesnt always take) and I try to make something for dinner ... it doesnt always go as planned. So I am trying to be creative. Put him in his exersaucer, that works for about 10 min, then I have to stop and do something else like move him or keep him entertained another way. Its difficult. It would be a lot easier if hubbs was home to help. But hes in the fire academy and works nights at Costco. Soooo ya. But I told myself Id try and make it work as much and often as I could. So last night was a hit. Quick and easy recipe and everyone liked it. :)

  4. I made your BBQ chicken sandwiches on hawaiian sweet bread buns with the roasted (i used purple) sweet potatoes fries recipe you linked. They were a hit and super easy! Definitely adding to my rotation. Yum!:-) Do you guys ever do leftovers for dinner nights? I feel like I waste a lot of food, even halving all my recipes for just the two of us. Maybe I'll just refuse to cook every 3rd day or something. :-)