Friday, June 4, 2010

2 Weeks of Dinners!

Before I had kids, I was a whiz at coupon clipping and meal planning, often saving over 50% of my grocery bill at Ralphs or Vons.  Somewhere along the way (probably between having my coupons spit up on and tailing 2 small children through the grocery store), I didn't have as much time, and my coupons started piling up in a drawer somewhere. Now I'm lucky if I go through them once a month and even more lucky if I use them.  I have switched grocery stores to save time, and now frequent 4 places every two weeks to grocery shop: Trader Joe's, Costco, Target and the 99 cent store.  I also try to go to the local Farmer's Market at least once a month for extra fruits and veggies.

At Trader Joe's I buy a lot of frozen foods, quick packaged dinners, canned foods and snacks.  At Costco, I buy chicken and ground beef in bulk, as well as tortillas, bread, lunch meat, cheese, a hot Rotisserie chicken and the occasional GINORMOUS pizza (for only $7 with a coupon).  Target is where I fill up on cereals, snacks and everything in between.  The 99 cent store is for fun - I have found awesome deals on name brand cereal, snacks and even organic produce.

If I'm having a good day, I will plan our dinners ahead for 2 weeks at a time (preferably before grocery shopping).  Meal planning is something I dread doing, because I know the boys won't want to eat about 90% of what I make, but once I do it, I'm glad I did.  I'm always interested in hearing what other people make for dinner so that I can get some new ideas.

Today I made our 2 week dinner plan, and I thought I'd share it with you in case you are in a dinner RUT, like I am most of the time!  I keep a paper calendar on the fridge with dinners filled in for every day, but I switch them around a lot depending on what we feel like having.  Then I just cross off the dinner when we've eaten it.  (I know many of my dishes are from Trader Joe's, but you can find similar things at any grocery store).

In our family we do not eat a lot of red meat or fish (mainly chicken), so you may want to substitute accordingly.  We also try to mix homemade meals with easy meals that I pick up at the store.  I did not include the side dishes, which always include a vegetable or salad.

I hope this helps at least one person get through this next month with some dinner ideas!  If you haven't gone grocery shopping yet, this may be your lucky day!! :)

Thursday, June 3:  Costco Rotisserie Chicken & salad
(Um, did you know that Costco Rotisserie Chicken has a Facebook Fan Page??)

Friday, June 4: Southwest Casserole
(something I made up - basically corn tortillas, ground beef, onions, corn and tomatoes all mixed with cheese and enchilada sauce and stuck in the oven for an hour) :)

Saturday, June 5: Orange Chicken (from Trader Joes), Rice and Broccoli
(If you don't have a TJ's, Costco also carries this as well as most grocery stores now).

Sunday, June 6: Chili Casserole (idea from Trader Joes):
2 cans of chili in a 8x8 pan, covered with corn bread mix (already pre-mixed).
If you use the recipe link above, I do not use the black beans or cheese on top.

Monday, June 7: Tomato Pesto Pasta (an idea from my friend Anna) -
Cook some rotini pasta, shred 2 cooked chicken breasts, and mix with Classico Sundried Tomato Pesto sauce.

Tuesday, June 8: Pizza

Wednesday, June 9: Baked Chicken and Potato Medley from Trader Joe's (or your choice of side)

Thursday, June 10: Spaghetti and Meatballs (Mini party meatballs from TJ's)

Friday, June 11: Taquitos (from a box), Beans and homemade Spanish Rice

Saturday, June 12: Rotini pasta and Sausage Links (our favorite are Adell's from TJ's or Costco).

Sunday, June 13: (Potluck at our house - leftovers) :)

Monday, June 14: Meatloaf (best recipe ever, and I'm not even a meatloaf fan)

Tuesday, June 15: Fettucini Alfredo 

So there you have it, folks.  I do not always cook from scratch, or always the most healthy, but I try to always have salad and veggies as a side.  Now I want to hear your dinner ideas!  Please send them in so we can all read how you do it, too!


  1. Sounds yummy!! Okay, so what time is dinner???

  2. I went through and organized my coupons today. Your dinner plan for the next couple of weeks looks yummy! I try to meal plan, but our schedules seem to always change and I despise when I've thawed things and then we end up not getting a chance to eat it. With our budget getting bare bones now, I'll be meal planning much more, although it won't be anything extravagant. :)

  3. THANK YOU!! I'm so excited to try some of your ideas!! I do meal planning on a weekly basis but I like the idea of doing two weeks worth. We get paid every two weeks so why not shop every two weeks? :D I have an awesome recipe for southwestern soup that involves a costco rotisserie chicken... :D

  4. This post makes me long for good USA convent foods. It sounds yummy. I can only plan 3 days out because we don't have a car to transport that much and the veggies don't usually stay very fresh after that. I also have to use what looks clean and fresh at the market. If the chicken is iffy we wont eat it that week. Our diet usually includes cucumbers and tomatoes (available in Cairo year round)every dinner and some kind of stew usually with zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes and carrots. I change up my spices to make it Indian, Asian, or Italian. This is served over rice, pasta, or potatoes. It's kind of like cooking through the depression with Clare on YouTube. We do order pizza from Papa Johns about once a week as a treat.

  5. Hey, I just got married in April of this year and am struggling with figuring out tips on meal planning. I want us to eat healthy but we're on a tight budget. Thanks for the tips!