Meal Plans and Minivans ... No chicken left behind!

Last month was my birthday month, I enjoy celebrating each and every day of the glorious month of September. However, I felt like I went to the store A LOT. Come to find out, it felt that way because I did, go figure. I am usually a once a week shopper and if something is forgotten then you do without. Well, in order to keep the husband happy you have to keep the sweet tea flowing. To do that you have to remember to buy the tea bags AND sugar. Perhaps equally as important to the tea (just kidding, this is more important than his tea... maybe), fresh fruits and veggies to keep the family healthy. These things are somewhat common runs to the store around here. But, it was an unforeseen extra trip to the store that came about in a very smelly way that put me over the edge.

Last summer we were in the market for a new car. I wanted a minivan as my mom car. By wanted, I should clarify, what I really wanted was a big SUV. But, a minivan was what I felt we could afford and it would get a little bit better gas milage and would overall be more convenient. It was a vehicle that would allow our kids to be kids. To not have to worry about doors being opened into other vehicles. A vehicle that they could fall out of (don't judge, it happens) and the fall wouldn't result in injury. Tim would just about cringe when I would mention a minivan. He would say, "I'm not buying/driving a dag-gum minivan." We decided to go ahead and get his vehicle first and then we would take care of mine down the road. We were the proud new owners of a Ford F-150. And two weeks later we found out we were expecting our second child. God got a laugh out of that one, I'm sure of it.

I drove the truck and made it work. It was quite a sight to see me step onto the running board and put Karoline in her seat when I was nine months pregnant. I always made sure to park at the end of the parking lot. In order to get Karoline into her seat I needed the door all the way open. It never ceased to amaze me that with a good ten parking spots all around me I always ended up with a car right next to the truck, on the same side as her seat none the less.

Thankfully last January we went to Arizona to see my family. While there my husband got to see the glory and ease of the minivan. He was finally on board.

Recently I started watching another little girl, Olivia (9 months), in our home four days a week. She's a lovely little girl and is such a good baby. Now I really felt I needed a minivan so that all of the girls and I could get out to story time or play dates. We tried to sell our truck but didn't really get anywhere with that. We really do love the truck and decided to keep it and replace our commuter car with a van.   But, we weren't entirely sure that we were ready to get one.

Then the unthinkable happened. The smelly grocery trip I mentioned ... I went to make a whole chicken with vegetables, and I couldn't find it. It had rolled under the seat of the truck (the only place to put groceries when you're not wanting to climb into the back of the truck) and went unnoticed by Tim who brought the groceries in for me. There it sat for two days. When I went to get it out of the truck you could definitely tell there was a not so pleasant odor coming from the chicken. Thankfully a couple hours with the windows down did the trick. Unfortunately for our garbage man, the trash can did not have the same fortune of just needing to air out.

That was it, I was desperate for a minivan and an actual spot for groceries!

We were able to find a great little van that fits nicely into our budget and is perfect for the girls and I. There's a spot for all the groceries, there are even hooks to keep the grocery bags from sliding all over the place! I enjoy driving it and the ease that comes with being able to move about freely. I tell ya what, give a stay at home mama a minivan and it's like giving a carpenter a hammer (I guess this analogy only works if said carpenter had been been using a rock, so imagine that). Quick side note, the other day Alexandra was fussy while in the van, very unusual for her, she's my happy baby. So I pulled over, crawled in back, changed her, fed her (thank you tinted windows) and bam, just like that back on the road! Didn't even have to get out of the car.

With the ease and added mobility you might think, why meal plan for a month? Now that we watch Olivia it makes random trips to the store a bit harder to achieve. Totally a good thing since I don't like going to the store and random trips seem to always cost more than they should.

I decided I wanted to give meal planning for a whole month a legitimate effort. I've planned out what we are going to eat for a month before. However, I had never done all the shopping in bulk so that we had the majority of what we would eat for the month sitting and waiting in the freezer or pantry. Off to Costco we went. I was very glad I had well planned out list and we were able to get in and out with almost everything we needed. A Walmart trip was needed to get some more of the dry/packaged items. Thankfully our Walmart offers the, "Walmart to go," service so I was able to order our groceries online and just pick them up. If you're curious about this please comment or send me an email, I feel this is a great tool for busy moms. Anyway, I also went to King Soopers for the fresh produce. I found it kind of funny that in an effort to stay away from the store I ended up going to three stores in two days. All I can say is I really, really am not going back for at least 10 days, at least!

This was Tim's first time "wearing" Alexandra. It was fun to see what I look like while shopping. He enjoyed having her close. He's adorable! 

So, here it is. This list is categorized by meat type and not the order in which we will eat them. I had the lofty goal of also including a shopping list but, I didn't quite get that far. I was able to make a list of everything you need for meals but I didn't include exact amounts. We purchased all of the dry goods in bulk boxes at Costco so knowing the exact amount wasn't a necessity. With all of Alexandra's food intolerances most of these meals are allergy free. If they aren't I either substitute something (like gluten free spaghetti noodles) or I don't eat it (i.e., cheese on top). In addition to the ingredients I also have how I prepped in italics.


* = produces left overs
~ = Crock pot

*Tacos with spanish rice: 1 lb hamburger, taco shells, taco seasoning, lettuce, tomato, avocado, salsa, sour cream and cheese/rice kit
Did not prep this meal, tacos are quick and easy. We either make nachos or queso dip with the left over taco meat. 
Hamburgers and side salads: 1 lb hamburger, buns, cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles and condiments/salad bag
Since we bought the ground beef in bulk we prepped the meat into patties and put them into bags and put them into the freezer.
Hobos: 1 lb hamburger, onion, garlic, green beans, corn, potato, mushrooms, carrots, broccoli
Same as the hamburgers, we prepped the meat into portions so that they were ready to use.
~Chili and corn bread: 1 lb ground beef, onion, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Rotel, chili beans, tomato sauce, spices, cheese/corn bread
I cooked the beef during nap time, let it cool and put everything a gallon bag and into the freezer it went. 

~*Black bean and corn salsa chicken: 4 chicken breasts, 2 cans black beans, 2 cans corn, salsa, taco seasoning/tortillas, avocado, cheese, sour cream
Prepped once the girls were in bed as directed on the link.
*Chicken (whole) and veggies: 1 whole chicken, squash, sweet potato, potato, celery, onion and garlic
Cut all of the veggies and put them into a freezer bag so that they are ready to go! 
Hot wings and french fries: 1 bag hot wings, potatoes/celery and carrots
No major prep time necessary.
~Chicken and rice soup: rotisserie chicken, chicken broth, rice a-roni, celery, carrots and onion
Once girls were asleep I cut veggies and got the rotisserie chicken off the bones and into bite size pieces and put them into a container in the fridge. Put everything in the crock pot in the morning. 
Cob salad with chicken: 2 chicken breasts, salad, hard boiled eggs, nuts and veggies
Seasoned and cooked chicken and cut into bite size pieces and put it in the fridge. This way all I have to do is set it in the fridge the night before we will eat it. 

~*Savory pepper steak: Steak, peppers, onions, garlic and diced tomatoes
Prepped via the instructions on the link. 
~*Beef stew and biscuits: stew meat, beef bouillon, onion, garlic, carrots, celery, potato and stewed tomato/cheddar biscuits
All cut and put into a bag in the freezer, thaw over night and then add liquid. 
Steak bowls/fajitas: Steak, bell peppers, onion, garlic, rice, tortillas/sour cream, cheese, salsa and avocado
Cut steak and veggies and put into a freezer bag. 

~*Sausage and peppers: Italian sausage, peppers, onions, garlic and diced tomatoes
Prepped via the link. 
~*Bell pepper soup and quesadillas: Italian sausage, bell peppers, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef bullion and rice/tortillas/cheese
Cooked italian sausage and all ingredients went into a bag, into the freezer it went! 
*Spaghetti: italian sausage, steak, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, onion and garlic/noodles/garlic bread/cesar salad
Meat all put into freezer pre cut so that it is ready to be made when Tim is ready to make it.
Lasagna: Leftover spaghetti sauce, noodles, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese and side salad
Made with left over sauce in a disposable container and put into freezer. 
Stuffed Shells: Leftover spaghetti sauce, noodles, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese and side salad
Same as lasagna. 
Hot dogs: hot dogs, buns, condiments/beans and chips
No prep, that's right we eat hot dogs. Not all the time, but really, who doesn't love a hot dog. Don't kid yourself. 
Brotts: brotts, buns, condiments/veggies
Bought the party pack and froze in serving sizes for our family. 
One pouch feast: Polish sausage, potatoes, zucchini, peppers and onion
Cut and put into a freezer bag. 

Shrimp tacos with spanish rice: shrimp, rotel, black beans, corn, corn tortillas/rice packet
Shrimp boil: shrimp, sausage, corn on the cob, red potatoes/biscuits
Fish tacos: cod, tortillas, toppings
Fish and chips: cod, batter, french fries, tarter sauce
All of the sea food we bought was individually packaged and already frozen which makes for easy portioning for meals. 

*Pulled pork BBQ sandwiches: pork roast, bbq sauce, buns/coleslaw
Tim cooks the pork in our smoker overnight so that it's ready to eat the next day. 
Green chili: pork, green chili's, onion, garlic
Portion of leftover pork put into a freezer bag with all of the other ingredients so that they are ready to be dumped into the crock pot. 
Pulled pork chimichanga: pork, tortillas, lettuce, tomato, avocado, sour cream, salsa and cheese
Leftover pork portioned and put into the freezer. 

Grilled ham/cheese and tomato soup: ham, bread, cheese and tomato soup
Deli meat and cheese
Chips and salsa
Jalapeño poppers: jalapeños, bacon, cream cheese

There you have it. My first attempt at meal planning for a month. If you would like the recipe to any meals or have any questions on how I did something on the list please feel free to ask!

Enjoy your day my fellow meal planners!

What Karoline did while I prepped a few meals! Thank you Pinterest! 

Grocery list:
5 lb hamburger
6 chicken breasts
1 whole chicken
1 bag chicken wings
1 rotisserie chicken
stew meat
Steak (3 meals)
Italian sausage (3 packages)
Hot dogs 
Polish sausage (2)
Shrimp (2 meals)
Pork shoulder (2)
Lunch meat

Diced tomatoes
Tomato sauce
Stewed tomatoes 
Tomato soup
Green beans 
Pork n beans
Chili beans 
Black beans 
Chips (corn and potato)
Taco shells
Taco seasoning
Chicken and beef bullion cube
Rice a Roni 

Buns (hot dog and hamburger)
Sandwhich bread

Sour cream
Cheese (singles and shredded)
Cream cheese

2 sets Bell peppers (R, O & Y)
Potato (russet and red)
Sweet potatoes
Corn on the cob 
Green chiles

1 comment

  1. Girl, you're amazing. I prepped 12 meals for Mark and the kids when I was gone and was DYING over all the organisation required...