Planning 21 Meals on a Budget

As promised from my ppotato-544073 (1)revious post, “5 Steps to Reorganize Your Week,” I was going to go more in depth about my meal planning tips.

I absolutely love cooking, but meal planning is just not something I look forward to. I actually despise it. There is something about sitting down and having to plan out what we’re going to eat for the next 3, 4, 5 days from now when I can’t even remember what I had for lunch two hours ago. Quite frankly it’s annoying.

Nevertheless, planning can take the stress and frustration off of not knowing what to make when you look at the clock and suddenly realize hubby is due home in an hour. I’d much rather be prepared than to stand there staring at my pantry not knowing what to make.

I have come up with some ways that I use to help make my meal planning faster and easier. As mentioned before, my husband and I only go out for dinner once a week which leaves me planning 7 breakfast’s, 7 lunches, and 6 dinners. I choose to grocery shop once a week.

I know there are people out there that prefer to plan their meals for a month at a time, and I give them props because I just can’t do it. I find what works best for my husband and I is to grocery shop once a week. I plan out our meals every Sunday and grocery shop every Monday.

Every lovely Sunday afternoon when my husband decides to start on his homework (Did I tell you how proud I am of him? The man is getting his master’s degree!), I sit down at my desk next to him and prepare myself for constant clicks through recipes. He likes to listen to piano music and most times I’ll plug my headphones in and listen to Netflix or my own music. It’s our way of spending time together in a productive way.

Tip: It may not be for you, but when it comes to meal planning I tend to get bored and listening to my favorite show or radio station is a way for me to focus while being entertained. It also helps the time fly by.  

My absolute FAVORITE place to find recipes is through Pinterest! I mean, who doesn’t love this site?! They couldn’t make it any easier to organize your thoughts, ideas, and recipes. It seriously saves you a great deal of time. Trust me, make a board filled with recipes and that way you can find it again simply by going into your board instead of searching through Google to find that one recipe you lost on that one website.

I usually make a lot of chicken dishes (usually around four out of the six dinners I prepare are chicken recipes) for two reasons:

  1. There are so many ways you can incorporate chicken into a meal that your recipe box (or board) will never run dry. I guarantee it!
  2. I can buy a thing of 8 chicken breasts for close to $10. I use one at a time and freeze the rest. Since we aren’t big eaters Kevin and I can usually can split a chicken breast. Therefore I usually only buy chicken every other week. 

chicken-1-1443919Once on Pinterest, I’ll search things like “chicken recipes” – “easy meals” – “baked chicken dishes” – “chicken Crockpot meals.” Pin the recipe, find the ingredients needed, immediately add them to your “Out of Milk” app, and make a list of when you want to make that meal. (Don’t forget your side dishes!)

I guess we reach the part of my story where you find out how many allergies I have. We’re gonna go ahead and skip the environmental portion for now and just focus on food.  Please note I am allergic to the following items: Peanuts (will go into anaphylactic shock if consumed), dairy (allergic to the protein in dairy therefore making it a problem for it to come in salted-peanuts-1526152.jpgcontact with my skin), wheat (puffy eyes, stuffy nose, and wheeziness), and fish (I’m not sure what happens because I’ve always avoided it).

Now you can imagine with these kinds of allergies it would make things harder on me when cooking is involved. Nonetheless my abilities to create substantial and satisfying meals on a budget for the both of us are becoming more and more polished.

My husband was a lucky one who was born with no known food allergies and prefers eating regular pasta as every normal human would. This does make it a little bit difficult when I’m cooking things like say, spaghetti. I’ll buy regular garlic bread for him, Gluten Free (GF) for me, and the same procedure goes when buying noodles. Corn noodles for me, regular for him.

NOTE: I have found that the cheapest GF items I can buy are going to come from Aldi. Yet one more reason to love shopping there!

This is what my list will look like by the time I’m done meal planning for the week:


Monday: Over Easy Eggs, Bacon & Toast

Tuesday: Scrambled Eggs, Little Smokies, and Biscuits

Wednesday:  Pancakes & Bacon

Thursday: (My husband works early every Thursday and wakes up just in time for me to hand him a quick bite before he’s out the door therefore it has to be something I can just put together in a matter of 5 minutes.) Piece of Fruit & Sausage Biscuit

Friday: Oatmeal & Bacon

Saturday: Over Easy Eggs, Bacon & Toast
 Sunday: French Toast, Bacon & Eggs
He loves bacon, can you tell?!



Monday: Lemon Chicken and Asparagus With Butter Noodles

Tuesday: Italian Dressing Caramelized Chicken, Salad, and Rice

Wednesday:  Shepherds Pie

Thursday: Chicken Strips, Green Beans, and Loaded Baked Potatoes

Friday: Sesame Seed Teriyaki Chicken and Lo Mein

Saturday: CrockPot Beef and Broccoli over Rice

I’ll save all the recipes I find in Pinterest then head on over to my “Out of Milk” app and add everything I need for each recipe and add any extras including drinks and snack foods. Usually depending on how much I make for dinner I’ll have enough left over to pack his lunch. My lunches consist of black bean burgers, quesadillas made without cheese and with corn tortillas, or salads. All of which are easy and extremely affordable.

In upcoming posts I’ll share with you how I transform every recipe to fit our needs for a tasty and allergen free diet. Also I’ll tell you how I shop on a budget and ways I’ve learned to stretch every penny. 

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  1. I never plan enough meals! I always plan in too many leftover days :(. I love how diverse your week is! I’m very lazy and try to cook with one meat all week! 😀

    I love the idea of listening to something you love while meal planning!

    1. There’s nothing wrong with left over meals! Kevin and I just prefer to have more diversity in our diet. If anything, you’re just saving more money, which is great!

      Yes, try listening to something while you plan, makes the time fly by. 🙂



  2. You should try this new app I’ve found called “ChefTap”. I love it!! I can keep all of my recipes organized and even include pictures. 🙂 I plan my meals using a Google Calendar, and then I use the app “Our Groceries” for my shopping list. ChefTap is going to add in shopping lists and a meal planner soon, so I can’t wait until that update comes in so that everything will be all together. 😀

    1. I just installed the app on my phone! I’m excited to play around with it! Adding in a meal planner would be a HUGE help as I am still learning how to make meal planning easier.

      Thanks for the input!



      1. No problem! I LOVE using the app on my iPad while I am cooking. My favorite feature is that I can cross off the ingredients as I add them so that I can see at a glance what is left. You can also highlight the step you are on. It makes cooking with a recipe SO much easier. 🙂

        1. I didn’t even think about the iPad! That’s a GREAT idea! That’s awesome. I can’t wait to try it out tomorrow!



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