I quit my nursing job on August 8th, so now I MUST get better at budgeting and meal planning. I’ve said many times before that these are my two biggest weaknesses as a wife and mom. Food is hands down where we waste the most money, so I have set out to become a meal planning ninja.
For the first time ever, I sat down with the Aldi ad and a list of what was in my pantry, said a prayer (not kidding), and planned out a week’s worth of meals. I came out really well on cost by using what I already had on hand, but even if you don’t have many of these items, you will save money just by having a meal plan.
You can also save money by using Walmart Grocery pickup. I often use this service to save time and money by keeping me out of the store. You can get $10 off your first order with my link (I will then get $10 off too).
I am keeping my weekly meal plans here, so I can easily access them and print the shopping lists, but also to share with you because I know I can’t be the only mom who needs help in this area.
A couple things to keep in mind:
If you don’t have an item, perhaps you could sub for something you do have. For example, if you don’t have oregano and basil, but you do have Italian seasoning, just use that.
I am brand spanking new to this, so I couldn’t decide how to make the shopping list. I included all staples because even if you have these things most of the time, you might run out. I also itemized everything except salt, pepper, and olive oil. This means you should…
Print the shopping list, take it to your kitchen, see what you can mark off before you go shopping. It looks longer than it really is! Many items are duplicates, but I wanted to list the ingredients for each individual recipe, in case you want to leave one off. Hopefully, I can get my husband to work some magic with Google spreadsheets, and we can make this a little better. 🙂
This week we are having:
Meal #1 Best Traditional Lasagna and salad
For the salad, I just buy a bag of whatever salad mix is on sale. You can then use your favorite dressing and toppings, or be like me and whip one up. I just mix red wine vinegar, olive oil, sugar, and minced garlic for a quick dressing.
The lasagna is (and always will be) my Best Traditional Lasagna recipe. I leave out the onion to make my kids happy. You can use any form of parm and it still tastes amazing. If you find you need more sauce or cheese mixture, just add a little water to them and they will go further.
Meal #2 Homemade pizza with Amazing Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
We have pizza every Friday night. We make the pizza dough in my bread maker (I bought it used for 10 bucks!) during the day. I make two batches and keep them in the fridge until time to bake. You can buy a jar of pizza sauce for a buck or mix one up if you have tomato sauce and spices in your pantry. Add whatever toppings you would like, and you are good to go.
Meal #3 Nacho bar
Aldi had ground beef, shredded cheese, guac, and tortilla chips on sale, so we had a nacho bar. There is no recipe for this meal because anything goes. Cook and drain your meat, then season it with either a taco seasoning packet or seasonings you already have. Then choose toppings you would like. The toppings we chose are what is in the shopping list: shredded cheese, onion, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, lettuce, and refried beans. Sometimes I add black beans, corn, and Mexican rice.
Meal #4 Cracked Out Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole with fruit
I chose this breakfast casserole because eggs were just 28 cents a dozen and shredded cheese was 1.99. I only used one pound of bacon, and it was still VERY good. I used fruit that was also on sale as our sides. Serve it up with milk, and it makes a very filling meal that everyone will enjoy.
This meal is one of my husband’s favorites. It takes a little more time, but it is worth it. There is something for everyone. You can find the pork chop recipe here. I have left out the rosemary before, and they are just as good. For the green beans, I saute the green beans, salt, mushrooms, and butter until the beans are soft (or how you like them). The garlic butter roasted carrots are here. The spoon roll recipe is from my mother in law and is the very best roll recipe ever. It makes 24 rolls, but you can make 12 one night, keep the rest of the batter in the fridge, and make the rest another night the same week.
This is my Sunday evening recipe. Sundays are awkward because we leave for church services at 530 and we dont’ get home until 730. This is a good dish to throw together in the afternoon. I always double it because we are using it as a meal and not a side. In the shopping list, I have already doubled the recipe.
It makes enough that everyone can graze on it before and after services. We usually have enough left over for the kids to have some for lunch during the week. It also makes a great fellowship food. You will see in the comments on this recipe that some people use the eggs and some do not. I have tried it both ways and it is still great.
Meal #7 Salmon patties and baked potatoes
This meal came to pass because I already had salmon in the freezer. This salmon recipe is very basic. You might want to add some other ingredients if you have them available. Many people commented that they added some Dijon (which works well since you need that for your pork chops too). Use whatever sauce you prefer. I usually mix mayo, dill, and some lemon juice. I have also mixed mayo with hot sauce, and it turned out great.
The shopping list is as follows:
- Table salt
- Ground black pepper
- Bottle of olive oil
- 1lb ground beef (meal 1)
- 1 tsp dried basil (meal 1)
- ½ tsp dried oregano (meal 1)
- 1 small onion (meal 1)
- 16 oz tomato sauce (meal 1)
- ½ package Parmesan cheese *can be shredded or grated* (meal 1)
- 1lb (16oz) cottage cheese (meal 1)
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella (meal 1)
- Bag salad mix (meal 1)
- Salad dressing of your choosing (meal 1)
- Lasagna noodles of your choice (meal 1)
- Pizza sauce (meal 2)
- Pizza toppings (meal 2)
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella (meal 2)
- 1t tsp white sugar (meal 2)
- 1 Tbsp active dry yeast (meal 2)
- 2 cups whole wheat flour (meal 2)
- 1.5 cups all purpose flour (meal 2)
- Large bag of tortilla chips (meal 3)
- 2 lb ground beef (meal 3)
- Packet of taco seasoning or make your own from what you have at home (meal 3)
- Iceberg lettuce (meal 3)
- 1 small onion (meal 3)
- Jar of salsa (meal 3)
- 8 oz sour cream (meal 3)
- Package of guacamole (meal 3)
- Bag shredded cheddar or mexican cheese mix (meal 3)
- 15 oz refried beans (meal 3)
- Fruit of your choice to go with breakfast casserole (meal 4)
- 2 lb bacon *I used one* (meal 4)
- 32 oz frozen tater tots (meal 4)
- 1 packet of ranch dressing mix (meal 4)
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (meal 4)
- 8 eggs (meal 4)
- 2 cups milk (meal 4)
- 1.5 lb green beans (meal 5)
- 1 tsp coarse salt *can also use table salt* (meal 5)
- 10 oz sliced mushrooms (meal 5)
- 1 Tbsp butter (meal 5)
- 6 pork chops (meal 5)
- 2 Tbsp dijon mustard *coarse or regular* (meal 5)
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar (meal 5)
- 1 Tbsp dry or fresh rosemary coarsely chopped (meal 5)
- 2 lbs carrots (meal 5)
- 5 Tbsp butter (meal 5)
- 4 minced garlic cloves (meal 5)
- Chopped fresh parsley *I never buy this b/c it is garnish* (meal 5)
- 1 package or 1.5 tsp dry active yeast (meal 5)
- 1.5 sticks salted butter (meal 5)
- ¼ cup white sugar (meal 5)
- 1 egg (meal 5)
- 4 cups self-rising flour (meal 5)
- 4 cups uncooked elbow mac (meal 6)
- 8 Tbsp salted butter (meal 6)
- 5 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (meal 6)
- 8 oz sour cream (meal 6)
- 2, 10 oz cans of condensed cheddar cheese soup (meal 6)
- 2 cups whole milk (meal 6)
- 1 tsp dry mustard *this does not make or break the recipe* (meal 6)
- Potatoes for baking *enough for your family* (meal 7)
- Toppings for potatoes if not using staples (meal 7)
- 1 egg (meal 7)
- ¼ cup chopped onion (meal 7)
- ½ cup seasoned dry bread crumbs (meal 7)
- 14.75 oz can canned salmon or 1 lb fresh cooked salmon (meal 7)
- Dipping sauce of your choice (meal 7)
Here is the printable menu and shopping list. Enjoy!