(Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company)
The road to this meal plan is a long and winding one. It starts with cereal and ends with English Muffins.
A few weeks ago, my grocery trip was a dismal disaster. There was no sale, no coupons, no hope. I didn’t even blog about it. That’s how bad it was. Ya’ll know how much I love to blog about food. I was out of cereal and just couldn’t bring myself to buy more. I stood in the cereal aisle, starring at the full priced cereal, wishing I had stocked up just a little more, as my children threw fistfuls of granola bars in the air, running amok. Between the retail guilt and the rampaging children, I was ready to call it a loss. Then my Little Mermaid picked up a box of cereal she has never eaten and said, “Get this one. It’s my favorite.” I told her no. Then, in a coordinated attack, the Sweet Apple tried to launch herself out of the cart. I was so distracted by trying to catch her mid air, I didn’t notice that a certain cereal ended up in the cart.
By the time I got to the register, I was ready to give up. Fine, cereal. Come home with me.
Predictably, my children did not like this cereal, despite it being the proclaimed “favorite.” This left me with a week of meal planning whose breakfast items included such gems as, “some kind of fruit, maybe” and “can chicken be a breakfast item?” That’s also why you didn’t get a meal plan blog that week. No one wanted to read a week’s worth of me trying to convince myself my children will eat shrimp for breakfast.
The next trip was a great improvement, but the cereal situation was still pretty dire. Help me out, Kroger. At the end of my rope, I noticed that English Muffins were Buy One, Get One Free. Sold, to the lady who was out of breakfast ideas!
We don’t buy a ton of bread products, because of Mr. B’s Type 1 diabetes, and his special dietary needs. But this seemed like a economically viable opportunity to broaden our breakfast horzions. Prepare to see a lot of English Muffins on the docket this week.
Meal Plan 3/1-3/8
- Breakfast-Leftover Fruit Smoothies and Whatever Else I Can Scrounge Up
- Lunch-Appetizer Plates with Pepperoni, Cheese, Blueberries, and Crackers
- Dinner-Chicken Avocado Burritos and Sliced Mango
*So I’ve got those little littles and they are in a super fun phase right now where they’re picky about food and super testing their independence. Fun times. Thursday lunches are always a bit of a rush job, since they usually happen right after the grocery shopping. A few weeks ago I tried this “appetizer” plate idea and it was a smash hit. I put assorted foodstuffs in bowls on the kitchen counter. I then let the littles pick their own plates, and put whatever they wanted from the bowls on their plates. This allowed them to have some independence and pick the foods they would actually eat. It also allowed me to finish unpacking the groceries in peace. Every so often, a munchkin would pipe up, “More blueberries, mama?” And I could easily say, “sure, go ahead” and then a child would get herself some more blueberries and proudly proclaim, “I did it, Mama!” Then she would eat said blueberries. And proclaim, “I ate all my berries!” It was a circle of joy.
- Breakfast-Croque Monsieurs with a Side of Fruit
- Lunch-LO Burritos with Clementines
- Dinner- Pizza!
*Okay, real talk, this is more Croque Monsieurish. I sliced a few English Muffins, lightly buttered them and then added a layer of whole grain mustard. Next were a couple of slices of bacon (substituted for ham) and a few slices of roasted tomatoes. I do big batches of roast tomatoes in the oven, but for just a breakfast sized portion a conventional oven works well. The eggs on top are a nice over medium, so that when you cut into them the warm yolk spreads over the rest of the muffins. We substituted over hard eggs for my picky littles who haven’t yet learned to appreciate the egg in all its culinary glory.
- Breakfast-Scrambled Eggs with Sliced Tomato
- Lunch-LO Pizza
- Dinner-Creamy Green Chile Chicken Soup with Homemade Bread
*On Thursday I made burritos and for whatever reason, I was having a hard time portioning out my chicken. I think it was because I got the Tyson packages (on sale) which are smaller than the Heritage Farms ones I usually get. I just decided to lean in and make all the chicken and figure out how much I needed after the fact. The good news was, I had enough for my burritos. The better news was I had enough to make soup today! With the chicken ready (and chicken stock on hand) this was a real easy meal. If you know you’ve got a bust few days ahead, consider making a large batch of versatile protein that can easily be inserted to a variety of meals. It will save you time and worry.
- Breakfast-Toasted English Muffins with Honey and Blackberries
- Lunch-LO Creamy GCC Soup
- Dinner-Sausage Stuffed Peppers
*Look at that! A recipe link! Now you too can make sausage stuffed peppers from the comfort of your own home. But let’s talk about the English Muffins again, because this week is all about the English Muffin. I had no idea how versatile these things were! Buttered, a drizzle of honey and then blackberries on top of the muffin! My girls called them Berry Pizza. Easy and delicious. If you wanted to get real crazy, you could do an assortment of fruit and they would be like healthy versions of a fruit tart. Then you could convince your kids they were having dessert for breakfast. And when I say you, I mean me, because this is a terrific idea and I must try it immediately.
- Breakfast-Hard Boiled Eggs and Fruit Salad
- Lunch-LO Stuffed Peppers
- Dinner- Homemade Chicken Nuggets and Carrots
*I was so successful making a large batch of multi-purpose chicken, I decided to do it again. So much chicken, so little time. This time I did some homemade chicken tenders and nuggets. I cut smaller pieces for the nuggets, and longer slices to use as tenders for my salad the next night. I made these buffalo style, because I am obsessed, but really any sauce you can think of doing will work. BBQ, Teriyaki, hot sauce. To add flavor to your chicken after you’ve cooked it, add a few tsps of butter to a pan on low heat, and then 1/3—1/2 of your desired sauce. Throw the protein in and using a spatula coat evenly over the low heat. Let sit for five minutes, and you’re good to go.
- Breakfast- Bacon, Egg & Cheese Sandwiches with Blackberries
- Lunch-Pepperoni Pizzadillas
- Dinner-Chicken Tender Salad
*My love of quesadillas is no secret. Not only are they easy to assemble, and easy to cook, they’re easy to customize to your taste. A then layer of condiment (in this case, marinara sauce), your favorite cheese (mozarella) mixed with your favorite protein (pepperoni) and fave veggie (tomaotes), all nestled between two crispy flour tortillas, buttered on the outside so they cook perfectly. Check out one of my fave quesadilla options here.
- Breakfast-Cereal with Bananas
- Lunch-LO Nuggets and Strawberries
- Dinner-Homemade Mac & Cheese
*Mac & Cheese is a great meal for families of varied tastes. You make one big pan and then add individual flourishes according to each family members. For the littles, I added some chopped chicken nuggets (ya’ll, I made so much chicken) and for the adults I added green chile, tomatoes, and roast chicken (like, so, so much chicken). This makes it great for leftovers as well, because you can customize it to seem like another meal completely. Tomorrow for lunch I’ll add bacon and blue cheese crumbles for a fancier feel.
- Breakfast- Peanut Butter and Jelly Open Faced English Muffins
- Lunch-LO Mac & Cheese
- Dinner- Dealer’s Choice!
*Leaving this one up to chance and the grocery store! Leaving your dinner open on the day of your shopping allows you the opportunity to push your savings further. Pay attention to manager’s specials, discounted unattractive (but still delicious!) produce, and bakery items priced to move. You can create an amazing meal for a lot less keeping an eye out and your imagination open.
Have you ever tried out a new food based on budget and availability? Do you seek out new food options just for fun? Let me know how you do it in the comments!
And a quick side note about Type 1 Diabetes. Kroger is currently raising money for the American Diabetes Association. If you’re so inclined, the kind folks at the register will add a dollar to your order and donate that dollar to the ADA. This money is used for research to help find a cure for diabetes and help improve the quality of life for those living with it.
Kristen B. is wife to the best Prince around, mama to the spunkiest little princesses, and lover of all things Disney. She started her savings journey three years ago and is now dedicated to making her family’s wishes come true one coupon at a time. She is so excited to take her love of saving to the next level and share her journey with you! Click here to catch up on Kristen’s Savings and join in on your own savings adventure!