If you didn’t catch this from my original post about creating a meal plan, they’re excellent and totally helpful. However, there’s many, many steps that I take to sculpt the right meal plan, and it can honestly be pretty tiring. So here’s mine to use and abuse! Each meal plan makes ten dinners, as well as two “treats”, and should leave enough money for fruit and breakfast foods, whether that’s cereal and milk, oatmeal, fried chicken, etc. Our budget is $200, and your weekly sales will vary, depending on your location.
Each meal plan can be organized in a way that’s fresh–not redundant or boring; you won’t be eating ground beef every night. Schedule your meals however you prefer, based on the time you have to cook on a certain night or cravings you might expect.
We bought everything on this particular meal plan at Whole Foods, buying organic when we needed. We use a great app, called Soleil Organics, to help us determine if fruits and veg are worth buying organic. It can help you avoid wasting money on organics when it’s really not necessary, and it’s so handy walking around the store.
Of course, try to check your local circulars, so you can find great deals. I buy fruit this way, which conveniently leads to us eating mostly seasonal produce.
And of course, I know this isn’t a super tight budget, but it keeps us in line, while not feeling restricted. Give the meal plan a try. Check out the Pinterest board with all the original linked recipes here.
The Meal Plan
Spaghetti with Vodka Sauce and Italian Sausage Meatballs: We’d bought a package of Italian sausage on a great sale and frozen it, so I looked for recipes this fortnight that used it. These meatballs were great–O raved–but next time, I’ll do half Italian sausage, half ground beef. The vodka sauce was pretty good, too, but I might look for a recipe that doesn’t include “Light” in the credits. The meal came together in about an hour. Dinner #1.
Chicken Soup Chicken: I’ve been eating this dish since I was wee! It’s overly simple and contains the dreaded “cream of” soup, but it works so well.. who cares! This meal was planned for O to make; it’s literally three ingredients and totally fool-proof. We used frozen organic chicken thighs we bought a few weeks ago at Whole Foods. Dinner #2.
Tofu over Udon in Miso-Ginger Broth with Bok Choy: As requested by O. We already had the dashi and miso, so if you have to buy those, your budget might be a little different than ours. Just skip the over-priced Valrhona that seems so necessary at the time. But seriously, wait until I post a recipe for African rooibos white chocolate mousse and your slightly inflated budget will thank me. Dinner #3.
Baked Caramel Apples (My Way): Because, obviously. The sweltering heat ebbs a little, and I go balls-to-the-wall autumn mode. I used this picture for a visual, but here’s how I’ll do it: core the apples and mix softened butter with cinnamon and a tiny pinch of nutmeg. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes to an hour–it’ll all depend on the size of the apple, the strain of apple, etc. Make a quick, utterly delicious caramel sauce from Food Network, and top when finished baking. Top with a bit of fresh cream. Treat #1.