Big Family Meal Plan Week 3

It’s Sunday. . . and I’m posting my weekly meal plan.  Something must be wrong with me!!!! 🙂 I’m struggling with the cost of our grocery budget ($1400+/monthly) which was similar to just being gluten free, so it’s not a new concern.  But, couple that with hubs and the kids being hungry all the time and not feeling satisfied unless they get carbs. . . and add the pregnant mama and her food aversions to the mix, well. . . we are struggling a bit. Stacy and Matt posted a great guest post today about budget Paleo. . . a must read for those of us feeling the pinch!

Today: Grilled chicken tenders (‘ala Costco) on the BBQ.  I pour half the 6 lb bag into a ziploc, top with Bragg’s seasoning blend and some lemon juice and allow to sit on the counter for a few hours until we are ready to grill.  We had these last week and they were TASTY.  Unfortunately. . . we are also having mashed potatoes tonight.  This is because A) the kids are craving carbs after their very active days and B) we are on a pantry clean out vs. shopping phase.  For good measure, we will add glazed carrots and salad greens.  Dinner for 7= $12 (chicken is not organic, veggies are)

Monday: Casserole.  This means- whatever meat and veggies I have on hand layered into my 11×17 Pyrex dish, probably with some rice added and some sort of sauce.  I won’t really know until I throw it together tomorrow afternoon.  It’s our busy night when we are eating on the run so last minute prep isn’t an option.  It needs to be easy. . . it needs to be ready by 5pm without a lot of intensive work (I still have a house full of daycare kids at 5).  At this point, I’m guessing rice, chicken, broccoli, carrots, & cauliflower with broth and seasoning.  Estimate on budget = $15, most likely will be full organic or close.

Tuesday: Spaghetti w/ ground beef.  I will brown two pounds of ground beef with veggies I put through the food processor.  Add tomato sauce and seasonings.  Serve over spaghetti squash or GF pasta.  We are striving to limit pasta to 2x monthly. . . the last couple months of pregnancy and active kids is taking a toll on our carb counts. $15 (organic ground beef, $3.99 at Bartel’s).

Wednesday: Korean style BBQ.  Thinly sliced organic ribs from Bartel’s. . . Asian salad veggies. . . oil dipping sauce. . . vinagered radish wraps. . . create you own YUM style.  My kids LOVE create your own plate nights.  This meal is likely going to push $20-25, but will be worth it in fun factor!

Thursday: Fish on the grill.  I have a freezer full o’ fish. . . tuna, halibut, & tilapia.  We don’t love fish. . . but we know it’s good for us.  We will season, add lemon, and grill in foil.  For good measure, I will marinate zucchini, bell peppers, & mushrooms and grill them on skewers as well.  For a tasty treat. .  .we might end with a sweet Quinoa dish.  For us, the fish is free as it was given to us from Grandpas fishing excursion in the ocean. Veggies and Quinoa will run about $7.

Friday: Meatless because it’s still Lent.  I always think soup and grilled cheese but since I’m really trying to keep my dairy free girls, well, dairy free. . . it doesn’t work so well because there isn’t a reasonable cheese substitute that’s not full o’ crap.  I’m leaning toward either meatless taco soup (which means there will be some beans) or simple rice and beans w/ salsa.  I have several around the world recipes recommended during Lent as we talk about impoverished peoples around the globe, but I’m loathe to make something I know my kids won’t eat. . . I detest wasting food, especially when so many are going hungry.  I’m guessing the budget will be about $10 here, since I’m skipping meat.  But if I come up with a baked grain free bread, that’ll add to the cost.

Saturday:  We will be out of town shopping for Kelsey’s First Communion Dress. . . so it may be bun less burgers at Burgerville (they source local, higher quality meat) or enchilada’s somewhere since that’s my newest MUST HAVE ALL THE TIME food. . . oh, the joys of pregnancy cravings.

What I’m pondering:  Making a whole boatload of Paleo-ish freezer meals.  Especially with a baby coming, if I can get a system down now it’ll be a lifesaver.  I’m searching the web and right now I’m leaning toward a few soups that have beans and/or rice added mixed in with plenty of meat/veggie dishes, I’m going to use Loving My Nests tips and some recipes to get started.  I think my first go may include just doing a whole bunch of prep work- chopping produce and storing in freezer bags for easy grab and go dinners. . . ditto for meat. . . prepping more stock (which I always do when we have whole chickens). . . soaking and then freezing some beans and rice to use as needed.

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