August 14, 2011

Meal Planning—Back on Track and Starting School!

I haven’t been posting meal plans for the last few weeks.  Sometimes I wonder if anyone reads these or finds them helpful?  Any feedback would be appreciated on that front.  ;)

This meal plan is for a family of 3.  We often have at least one friend or family member over to share a meal with us during the week.  Since I factor the cost of the meal when I first prepare it, leftovers will be marked as $0.  When we dine out, it comes from a different part of the family budget and those expenses will also show $0.

Meal 1


Cheese Grits

Sliced tomatoes from the garden

Sautéed squash

Approximate cost—$4.50-$5

Ways I saved on this meal—I purchased Carolina Pride sausage at Kroger with a 50ct/1 coupon.  After the coupon doubled, the cost was $3 for a pack.  The grits were bought from a local farmer, as was the milk that will be used to make it.  The organic cheese and butter used in the grits were some I picked up at Three Rivers Market during a recent sale.  I’m tiring of squash, but I’ll make a big batch of it and use what we don’t eat at this meal in casseroles or pop it into the freezer.  The onions for the squash are also from the garden, and the bacon drippings are some I reserved and stored in the fridge from a recent breakfast.


Meal 2



Sliced veggies and dip

Approximate cost--$

Ways I saved on this meal—I know that at least one night this week we’ll have a busy evening.  I’ll plan for sandwiches with whatever we have in the fridge—PBJ, cream cheese and jelly, egg salad, etc.  The whole wheat bread was 99cts for a loaf with a $1/1 Roman Meal Bread Coupon.  Whenever I have coupons, I buy extra and pop it into the freezer.We have some dried peaches, frozen fruit, and bananas that we can use as side dishes.  I still have carrots, a few cucumbers, cherry and grape tomatoes, bell peppers, and squash we can use for crudités.  The dip will be some I picked up free with a Kroger mailer coupon last week.


Meal 3

Pasta with homemade pesto

Approximate cost--$0.50 (cheese only)

Ways I saved on this meal—When I was the speaker for the Weston A. Price Foundation meeting a few weeks ago, Michael and Teresa surprised me with a quart jar full of homemade pesto!!  We’ll scoop some of it from the jar and add it to the Ronzoni pasta that I “bought” for free with coupons and Mega Event sale at Kroger a month or so ago.  The only addition will be a bit of Parmesan cheese that we have in the fridge.  I’ll probably add some of the fresh veggies from the garden as a side dish/salad.


Meal 4

Lamb Burgers (without the buns)

Grilled zucchini (and eggplant, onion, tomatoes as available)

Alexia Garlic Bread

Approximate cost--$6.50

Ways I saved on this meal—The lamb was purchased from a local farmer late last year.  By purchasing it in bulk (1/2 of a lamb), the cost per pound is lower.  We’ll add a few skewers of marinated veggies from the garden.  We’ll marinade (see link for ingredients for my basic marinade) with a little extra olive oil to help keep the onions from scorching.  I usually have Hubby grill some extras because these are lovely leftover or when added to a sandwich or quesadilla.   The Alexia Baguette was some I bought for right at 50cts with sale at Three Rivers.


Meal 5



Veggies (carrots and celery cooked with the roast)

Approximate cost--$6.50

Ways I saved on this meal—The beef was some that I bought from a local farmer with friends, making the price per pound just a little over $3—a fantastic deal.  I’ll use rice instead of potatoes, since I have it on hand.  I bought the rice with a coupon for just a little over a quarter a pound, and it has been a part of my stockpile for a few months.  The carrots and celery are organic and were purchased at Kroger on sale.  I’ll thicken the gravy with either a roux or slurry of cornstarch, depending on the amount of time I have.  Cornstarch was bought in bulk and split with friends from Frontier and the flour is some that I mill at home from wheat we bought in bulk.  I’ll also add garlic to the roast, which was grown in our garden.


Meal 6

Leftovers—most likely the leftover meal this week will be roast served over rolls with veggies on the side

Approximate cost--$0

Ways I saved on this meal—Cook once and eat twice.  Love that!


Meal 7

Snack Supper—our daughter’s favorite kind

Tuna Fish Salad stuffed in tomato bowls, whole wheat crackers on the side

Cheese slices

Olives and homemade relishes (pickles, bread and butters, etc)

Mandarin oranges


Approximate cost--$6

Ways I saved on this meal—These meals are usually fun to make because our daughter gets excited about them.  We have a little of this and a little of that to make a meal.  I thought that stuffing the tuna salad in tomatoes and serving it over a bed of lettuce with some other pretty foods might make it feel more fun. The tuna was bought on sale, as were the mayo, crackers, and mandarin oranges.  Most of the other ingredients are either from the garden or home preserved.

This meal reminds me of one that I would have with my mother and maternal grandmother at a little BBQ place that wasn’t too far from where I grew up.  (Bozo’s BBQ in Mason, TN).  They had great BBQ and fantastic fries, but we always liked going there and enjoying old fashioned diner meals.  They had pear salad, stuffed tomatoes, chicken salad and all of those dishes that were so popular in the 1950’s and 1960’s.   Walking into that place is like walking into a time capsule (in the moving Walk the Line, it is the diner that Cash and Carter are shown in for a few minutes of the movie).  As I reminisce I think of one sweet waitress—Miss Evelyn—who worked there for years.  She was the epitome of a diner waitress from the fancy, big hair and makeup to the uniform and comfy shoes.  Such a sweetheart!  The last time I went to the restaurant was before my paternal grandmother was sick.  I was in Memphis visiting and decided on a whim to take her there.  My daughter was tiny at the time and my aunt joined us.  My sister happened to be driving by and recognized our car and stopped in.  We had most of the women on that side of the family present for one last trip to Bozo’s.  Good times.  Good memories!



  1. Sharon - Knoxville, TNAugust 14, 2011 at 10:22 AM

    I enjoy reading your meal planning posts for several reasons. 1) They serve as a great reminder that planning the menu for the week helps to avoid the "what's for dinner" rush at 5:30 and then deciding it's easier to go out. 2) I enjoy seeing your menu ideas... (like stuffed tomatoes), and menu ideas that keep me away from the hot stove/oven in the summer. Also serves as a great reminder that every meal doesn't have to be a "big" meal. 3) Seeing the actual meal cost is terrific visual support that with some planning one can have inexpensive and healthier meals at home. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. I agree with Sharon -- and it really does show you it doesn't have to be a WOWIE meal every time, the simple ones are the ones we enjoy most. My husband doesn't care for many hot evening meals during the summer so I try to be a little more creative with something simple, not just sandwiches everytime.

  3. Thanks, Debbie! I am so with you on not wanting as many hot meals when it is so hot outside! Not to mention that I don't want to heat up the kitchen or myself cooking them! ;)