When you start with meal planning, some weeks will be more expensive, as you may have to stock up on basics. I also use bulk buying at the warehouse store to save money, and the weeks I go there are more expensive. However, other weeks will be quite cheap, which evens it all out! Be sure to modify the plans to meet your own family’s size and dietary needs.

Here’s this week’s menu:

Monday 2/13: Rotisserie chicken, parmesan couscous, salad

Tuesday 2/14: Heart shaped meatloaf, baked potatoes, steamed green beans

Wednesday 2/15: Eating at my dad’s house for his birthday! (Happy birthday, old man!)

Thursday 2/16: Eggs benedict with asparagus

Friday 2/17: Shrimp stir fry with lemon sauce and snap peas, brown rice

Saturday 2/18: Cheese and tomato lasagna, salad

Sunday 2/19: Grilled salmon filets, wild rice pilaf, salad

After I make my meal plan, I check my pantry and fridge for what I already have. I will also add anything I’m running low on to my shopping list, and I clean out any expired foods. Since my fridge and pantry are as empty as they ever get, I take a few minutes and straighten them up, and wipe them out while I’m at it.

Shopping list:

rotisserie chicken
ground beef
extra virgin olive oil
canola oil
better than bouillon chicken broth base
Parmigiano reggiano cheese
russet potatoes
unsalted butter
gallon freezer storage bags
Bread flour
Granulated sugar
near east parmesan couscous
1 head red leaf lettuce
1 package grape tomatoes
1 package dried cranberries with glazed walnuts salad topper
balsamic vinegar
1 shallot
1 head garlic
1 bunch asparagus
2 lemons
1 bunch celery
1 bunch parsley
1 pound snap peas
1 bunch green onions
1 small knob ginger
cooking sherry
soy sauce
brown rice
rice a roni wild rice pilaf
curly edged lasagna noodles
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 pound cottage cheese
8 ounces imported Italian fontina cheese
small container sour cream
cocoa powder
1 bag semi sweet chocolate chips
1 pint whipping cream
1 package english muffins
15 grams freeze dried strawberries
Cider vinegar
Dijon mustard
Worcestershire sauce
Dried thyme
Brown sugar

When you get home from shopping, it’s time to prep.

Freeze the shrimp.

Use a kitchen scale to portion out the salmon into 4 ounce fillets. Wrap each filet in plastic wrap, and then place the wrapped fillets inside a gallon freezer bag and freeze.

Use a kitchen scale to portion out the ground beef into 1 1/2 pound portions, placing each in its own gallon freezer bag. Place one bag in the fridge for tomorrow’s meatloaf. Freeze the remaining bags.

Cut up the head of red leaf lettuce and place in a salad spinner. Wash and spin dry. Place a paper towel into a gallon freezer bag, then add the lettuce. Seal and refrigerate.

Make my balsamic and soy salad dressing and refrigerate.

You’re now ready for the week! Since the shopping and prepping is a lot of work, the dinner for tonight is quite easy; serve the rotisserie chicken with the parmesan couscous, prepared according to the package directions. Place a couple handfuls of the lettuce in a salad bowl, add some of the grape tomatoes, halved, and some of the cranberry and walnut blend. Toss with some of the salad dressing and serve.