WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Monday meal plan 1/2

Posted January 2, 2012


If you have been thinking about meal planning and never really tried it, why not start in the new year? Now is a great time to save money and lower stress at mealtimes through menu planning. Another added benefit is that you can provide better balanced meals when you plan ahead.

Here is our weekly menu. Please share yours as well. Below the menu this week, I have also included some tips for meal planning to get you started. You will also find some of my favorite meal planning resources in the box to the left.



Baked chicken ($1.97/lb at Lowes Foods through 1/3)

Whole grain pasta (free at HT during recent sale with coupons)

Asparagus (Pictsweet frozen from recent BOGO sale with coupons from Penguin coupon display)


Chicken tacos and veggies (using leftover chicken from Monday night)

Rice – Mahatma rice free from sale months ago with coupon

Clementine slices


Cheese ravioli with sautéed spinach, mushrooms and onions (Celentano frozen ravioli BOGO at HT through 1/3)



Southwestern omelets with sautéed green pepeers, mushrooms, onions, cheese, and salsa on the side

Julienne potatoes

Fruit – depends on what goes on sale on Wednesday


Tyson Crispy Chicken Strips (on sale at Lowes through 1/3 and used .75/1 coupon last week- coupon expired 12/31)

Baked sweet potatoes


Meal Planning 101

Creating frugal meals begins with meal planning, which simply involves deciding ahead of time what you will be eating for the week or month.

Menu planning works hand in hand with couponing and store promotions to help you make the most of your budget.

All three aspects are important and using each effectively will save you the most money and allow you to provide the healthiest frugal meals.

Another added benefit of meal planning – less stress! When you aren’t stressing over what’s for dinner (because you planned it out at the beginning of the week), you are less likely to head to the nearest fast food restaurant.

Meal planning tips

* Plan your meals based on what you already have in your pantry, fridge and freezer (using items that were purchased frugally using sales, coupons or store promotions - or all 3!) and items on sale for that week.

* Plan your dinners weekly and take advantage of weekly great deals to use in your meal plans.

* Use your slow cooker, batch cook, and reference the recommended websites below to get great recipes for frugal meals.

* Plan your meals for 5-6 nights per week. Leave one or two nights open for leftovers, going out to eat (with a restaurant coupon, of course), going to friends, etc.

* Strive to bring your per meal cost down to $1.25 per person - $5 per meal for a family of 4. That's not $5 per person, it's $5 per meal. By using frugally purchased ingredients, you will be amazed at what fabulous, healthy meals you can provide for $5 or less!

* Use the Weekly Menu Planner to plan your meals each week.

Join us here each Monday to see my frugal meal plan including notes on where I purchased some of the ingredients and recipes as well.


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  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Jan 4, 2012

    Love frozen food month! We usually get a new Penguin coupon display then!

    Can't wait to see your meal plan Nancy!

  • Nancy Jan 3, 2012

    And don't forget, March ( or is it Feb?) is Frozen Food Month which means you'll be able to backfill your freezer stock with some good deals coming up!

    Faye, I'll work on my plan this weekend when I get my computer back and can set it up :) Should be fun!

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Jan 3, 2012

    LOL Nancy! I guess your mission is to get me to buy a food vacuum sealer now! I can;t wait to read your plan each and every week! ;-)

    pirategirl - awesome idea to eat from the freezer this month! This is definitely the week for chili and soup.

    I make the baked chicken with Kraft Light Parmesan Asiago Italian dressing last night and it was so delicious! I marinated the chicken in the dressing for a few hours before cooking and then spread it out on the pan and sprinkled it with Parmesan cheese and baked for 45 minutes. It was so tasty! Can't wait to have the rest of the chicken in tacos tonight.

  • pirategirl12 Jan 3, 2012

    I am attempting to spend this month eating from my pantry/freezer! I know I will have to purchase fresh produce and milk (although we don't use much), but I did tons of freezing and canning this summer. Last night I made homemade pasta and added chicken breast, a ton of fresh broccoli, and an olive oil/fresh basil kind of sauce. Tonight (Monday) we had a "meal" that consisted of something I was going to make for the holidays but never got around to. Sausage/cream cheese/rotel dip with baked tortilla chips. Healthy and balanced, huh? lol Tomorrow night (Tuesday) it seems like a great night for Chili! I will freeze the leftovers in lunch-size containers. Wednesday, I am making veggie soup with the ham bone left from Christmas. Thursday is going to be chef salads with leftover soup. Friday is still up in the air but I am leaning towards homemade pizza.

  • Nancy Jan 2, 2012

    Ok, ok Faye, you're breaking me down LOL I'm going to start a meal plan approach this year. I should be getting my computer back tomorrow or Wed and will set it up and start planning meals.

    Do you have any idea what an accomplishment you have made getting ME to meal plan?? HUGE feather in your cap, I mean HUGE :)

  • LAXMom12 Jan 2, 2012

    I'm batch cooking today to make the week easier - big pot of brunswick stew to store serving sizes in the freezer, chicken salad for lunches, smoker full of chicken breasts going outside, and salad fixings in the refrigerator. Hopefully that will give me a head start this week since I am normally not very good at this.

  • lehrerin Jan 2, 2012

    Here's mine!

  • swirlgirl027 Jan 2, 2012

    Mon- leftover spaghetti and breadsticks with salad. Tues- baked chicken, whole wheat pasta, blueberry muffins. Wed-Whole wheat cheeseburger mac. Thurs- not sure. Fri- dinner out with coupon!

  • momssmallvictories Jan 2, 2012

    here's some of my menu...Sunday was potato kielbasa skillet (keilbasa was onsale plus a coupon), tonight is hoppin john with leftover frozen xmas slow cooked ham, tomorrow is nc bbq pork, beans and corn muffins (pork Boston roast was 1.49/lb) and then Thursday we will have johnsonville chicken sausages (on sale plus coupon), one day too i will make chicken chimichangas with leftover rosemary chicken from slow cooker. busy cooking week!

  • ldsantiago Jan 2, 2012

    I've been using to help me with my meal planning. it's about $1.25/week but totally worth it until I get the hang of it!