Two-week, grain-free meal plan and cost breakdown Feb 11-24

This post is a couple days late, but I’ve had a sick baby on my hands and an over-worked husband!

I’ve been following a pretty strict primal/paleo diet these last few week and it’s going great. I’ve lost a few pounds without trying very hard and I’m feeling pretty good. We aren’t doing a diet as strict as the Whole30 program, but trying to do about 90/10.

Usually I post meal plans for the week coming up, but I’ve decided to start posting meals, shopping lists, and cost breakdown for two weeks at a time, since a lot of what we buy is in 1 or 2 week cycles.

The Lenten season has begun and I will admit, the start of Lent was not very self-sacrificing. I thought Lent was the following week and did not plan very well. I am breast-feeding my baby, so I am not fasting, but I am replacing breakfast with a shake that has lower calories than my typical cooked breakfast.

My husband eats dinner leftovers for lunch, but I have started enjoying protein shakes as meal replacements because it is quick and easy (which is necessary with my 9 month old!) and it ensures I get plenty of protein. We try and order the cleanest protein we can. We aren’t perfect, we aren’t nutritionists, we are just trying to figure out what works best for us.

two week meal plan 1

We eat a little cheese here and there, so I guess you can say we eat more primal than paleo. There are places to get paleo-friendly protein powder so if you are more strict in your diet, you can certainly find it. We could use more veggies in our diet (especially for breakfast), but we are a work in progress 😉

Meal plan, grocery list, and price breakdown after the jump.

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This week’s meal plan (2/4-2/8)

It was a sad day yesterday in our house after the Niners lost the Super Bowl. So close, yet so far away. You know what was also so close? The number on my scale being lower. But then I splurged a little too much at our Super Bowl party. Oh well, back on the wagon today!

I’m working out and eating healthy and looking forward to pushing myself to be healthier and more fit (and growing a butt would be awesome sauce, too). I’m trying to work up the courage to post my progress so that I will be challenged and accountable! Maybe soon.

We ordered grass-fed ground beef and fajita meat from a local company and subscribed to eggs from grass-fed chickens. We bought chicken from a family member that works for a chicken company and I bought pork ribs on sale. I stocked up on lots of fruit this week to make protein smoothies.

I really need to learn to like fish. Maybe next week I will add in some sea food. Although, Lent is coming up and I am sure we will be adding more sea food at that time.

meal plan

Need more dinner ideas and meal plans? Click HERE for grain-free and gluten-free, budget-friendly, and even Whole30 meal plans and recipes.

What’s on this week’s meal plan for you?

This week’s meal plan (1/28-2/1)

I think I could probably have taco night at least 3 times a week. That, and just eat green beans or potatoes to accompany my protein source. Pretty boring (but delicious). My husband could actually eat the same 3 things every week, but I feel like we should have some diversity in our meal planning. He also likes to eat a fairly strict primal diet that is grain-free and almost always without white potatoes. I like to eat that way too, so at least he keeps me honest!

Next month I am going to do something similar to the Grocery Savings Challenge, but post totals by the month. We are also ordering our eggs and most of our meat from local sources that pasture-raise their animals, so it might be interesting how much we will spend choosing quality of cost.

We have been getting some lovely weather here; the wind is a bit chilly, but a sunny 50-60 degree day is still nice! We even used the grill last night!

This week’s meal plan:

  • Monday: Grilled steaks (grass-fed! They were a Christmas gift), with baked sweet potatoes and steamed brussel sprouts with parsley butter (Strauss butter, you are amazing)
  • Tuesday: Macadamia crusted chicken breast, steamed green beans, mixed green salad
  • Wednesday: Pork chops with broccoli, cauliflower, and carrot stir-fry
  • Thursday: Italian meatloaf, mixed greens, roasted potatoes and carrots
  • Friday: BBQ chicken, 30-second brussel sprouts, avocado

Lunch: Leftovers or almond-butter smoothies

Breakfasts: Eggs and bacon or almond-butter smoothies

I’m in the middle of Spring cleaning and a teething baby, but I plan on posting recipes, Valentine’s Day ideas, and a glimpse at our bathroom remodel project coming up!

Anyone try a new recipe this week?

A Family Recipe to Feed a Crowd

I’m going to let you in on a secret recipe today; a recipe from my husband’s Portuguese family. Having a hard time figuring out what dish to make or bring to your next event? Look no further; bring Portuguese Beans!

A big pot of these flavorful beans are easy to make and a big favorite around here. We make them for family gatherings, BBQ’s, and parties. If by chance you have any leftovers, they taste even better the next day for lunch or with some runny eggs for breakfast.

I like this recipe because it is very flavorful and has only a few ingredients. These beans go great with any meal, whether it be hamburgers and hotdogs, steak, chicken or eggs! I like to use beer in the recipe, but if you want to have a gluten-free pot, it is easy to substitute the beer for chicken broth and it will be just as tasty!

I’ve fed about 20 people with this recipe, when it is a side-dish. Technically it’s about 26 servings of beans or so. I cook it in my regular large sauce pot. It’s a pretty cheap dish as well. A huge can of beans costs about $5, bacon $2-5, tomato sauce $2-3, and everything else less than $1. So you can feed over 20 people for about $10.

Portuguese Beans for a Group:
Ingredients:
1 12oz pack of bacon or 8-10 slices of the thick cut kind, cut into small pieces
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 15oz cans of tomato sauce
1 bottle of beer
OR
2 cups chicken broth
1 huge can of pinto beans, rinsed (the #10 can size with 26 or so servings)

Directions:
In a large pot, crisp the diced bacon
Remove bacon from pot with slotted spoon and set aside
In bacon grease, cook onion and garlic until translucent
Add the tomato sauce, beer or broth, and the bacon into the pot
Simmer for 10 minutes
Add rinsed pinto beans and simmer for about 15-30 minutes
Add more liquid if necessary (keep about an inch or two of liquid above beans)

Enjoy!

Portuguese Beans

A bad picture of the beans; I always forget to take a picture because I’m too busy eating them and they are gone by the time I remember!

Grocery Savings Challenge: Week 5

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I can’t wait for the Farmer’s Market to open in May; local produce for better prices! But until then, I am left to wander the produce aisle at the grocery store (our former CSA box was just too much for us two).  I have been really craving strawberries and soon the many stands along the side of the road will be open as well.

But enough dreaming about the upcoming months (oh my goodness we will have baby in less than 3!), here is this week’s plan.

The Stores and their Deals
The Meal Plan
The Grocery List
The Final Cost

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Grocery Savings Challenge Week 4: Review (with meal cost details)

In this week’s review, I thought I would try and break down the meal costs to be more accurate. I did not include the cost of oil or seasonings, since the cost is usually quite small per meal and hard to determine. If I grill in butter, I include the butter cost (and we use butter than comes from grass fed cows, so it’s about $7-8 a box).

Here was this week’s plan and cost:

The Meal Plan

The Final Cost

Meal ingredients: $42.61
Other items: $15.53
Total: $58.14

What we actually ate and price details:

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Chicken and Broccoli in Creamy Pesto Sauce

We had my mother and father-in-law over for dinner Saturday night and served them one of my favorite dishes: Chicken and broccoli in creamy pesto sauce. For convenience, this recipe utilizes cream sauce and pesto that is already made, feel free to make your own sauce for this recipe.

This meal is usually a treat for us because of the cream sauce. This meal also isn’t the cheapest, but there are ways to save. I wish I was able to take pictures of this lovely dish, but we were busy entertaining and busy eating and there was none left afterwards!

Chicken and Broccoli in Creamy Pesto Sauce
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • About 2 lbs chicken breast (I bought in bulk and on sale, and paid about 81 cents per serving, $3.25 total)
  • 2 heads of broccoli, cut into florets – $3 total
  • 1 container fresh pesto $4.99 (or, save money and buy the pesto flavor packet in the marinade aisle – $1.99)
  • 1 container fresh Alfredo sauce $3.99 (or, buy in a jar, $2.50)

Total – $15.23, or $3.80 pp – using budget shortcuts, $10.74, $2.68 pp

Optional recipe enhancement:

  • 1 bunch asparagus, cut into small discs, with heads set aside – 80 cents
  • 3 tbsp butter – 89 cents (and we use butter that is about $7 a pound)
  • 5 cloves garlic, diced – 40 cents

Enhancement cost: $2.09, 52 cents a person (less if you don’t use pastured butter)

Directions:

  • Season chicken breasts with pepper, garlic powder, and anything else you may like
  • Cut asparagus into thin discs, leaving the heads intact
  • Grill chicken breasts in large pan, set aside
  • Add butter, garlic, and asparagus to separate pan and cook on low until garlic starts to brown, set aside (optional step)
  • Meanwhile, cook broccoli until crisp tender
  • To make sauce – combine Alfredo sauce and 2/3-1 whole container (to taste) of pesto (or whole envelope), simmer in small pot until warmed through, may add milk if too thick. Add garlic asparagus mixture if using.
  • Mix broccoli with sauce and serve over chicken (if you are a pasta eater, this tastes great with pasta)
  • Enjoy!

Total meal cost for 4 people: about $10.74-$17.32, depending on ingredients used (prices will also vary with where you buy your ingredients and if they are on sale or not)

Grocery Savings Challenge: Week 3

This week is going to be a little odd for us with the Monday holiday, social gatherings, and Lent. We have dinner plans with family on Saturday, dinner plans with friends on Sunday, and two vegetarian meals for Ash Wednesday and the first Friday of lent. I’m only making four meals, and we are eating leftover vegetarian chili on Friday; Marc is fasting from lunch on Wednesday and Friday (for Lent, and I’m still pregnant, so not fasting), so making bigger meals all week to last through dinner and lunch, is not as big of a priority.

The Stores and their Deals
The Meal Plan
The Grocery List
The Final Cost

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Week 2 Grocery Challenge Review + Creamy Crock-Pot Pork Recipe

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The Meal Plan:

Saturday and Sunday: Out of town – Sunday it will probably be a “free night” dinner and I just may eat a grilled cheese sandwich with sprouted wheat and seed bread.
Monday: Vegetable Curry
Tuesday: Spinach and pepper stuffed chicken breasts with asparagus and dessert
Wednesday: Mom request: Creamy pork chops over rice + green beans  (slow-cooker)
Thursday: Beef Verde Chili and side salad
Friday: Steaks with potatoes and asparagus

What we actually ate:
Saturday through Tuesday went as planned, as did tonight’s dinner.
Wednesday: Beef tacos with lettuce, spinach, avocado, sour cream and cheese (I was really craving these and they were so satisfying to eat!)
Thursday: Creamy crock-pot pork (recipe at the bottom) with spinach salad

What I have left:

  • A can of cream of mushroom soup (a cheat for most of us, probably)
  • Green sauce
  • green chiles

Creamy Crock-Pot Pork Recipe

(it’s not pretty, but it still tastes good!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs pork chops, pork loin, or pork shoulder
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder or 2 cloves garlic, diced

Directions:

  • Sprinkle pork with pepper and sear in hot pan with olive oil or animal fat
  • Mix soup, milk, garlic, and some more pepper in slow cooker
  • Place pork in slow cooker, making sure to coat with sauce mix
  • Cook on low for 5+ hours (our pork was really thick sirloin chops, and they shredded beautifully after cooking all day)
  • Serve on rice, with a spinach salad, or as a sandwich filling