What Did You Think of the New Meal Plan?

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Did you download the new meal plan, This Week’s Dinners for $70 or Less? Not only was this 7-meal plan complete with side dishes and shop-able (new technical term that I just invented) for $70 or less, it was also completely shop-able at Trader Joe’s, so you could make use of one-stop shopping.

(I imagine that it is completely shop-able at other general grocery stores as well, but if you know Trader Joe’s, you know that you can’t buy everything under the sun there.)

Anyway, I’m working furiously on the next plan. I’d love to get your feedback. If you used the plan, I’d really appreciate hearing some details.

To make it easy, I put together this short little survey. Just a few clicks and you’re done. And you will have immensely helped me put together an even better meal plan.

If you can’t see the form below, go here to fill it out directly.

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  1. I love this meal plan!! Although I did not use it this week, I did download it and plan to use it soon. We have a Trader Joes, but I have not shopped there yet. (It’s in a really high traffic, hard-to-get-to area!) Thank you for all the work you put into this!

    • You do NOT have to shop at Trader Joe’s to do this plan. It’s just what I based the pricing and availability on. Any grocery store will have everything you need — at higher or lower prices.

  2. I love the idea of this meal plan. I took a look at it and hope to try it at some point but we are in the process of getting ready to move in about a week so I’m eating down the pantry not buying new right now.

  3. I am very interested in these meal plans. I did not use it this week, but printed it out for future reference. I had rotator cuff surgery a few weeks ago. I had stocked the freezer in anticipation knowing I would not be able to do much cooking. At this point I am not to lift anything heavier than 1 pound. Once I can start cooking again I will be trying it out.

    If I had tried to execute the plan, I would have had some of the ingredients on hand. I would not have bought anything at Trader Joe’s (it’s a tank full of gas away). I do not have a bread maker so would have substituted some of the items in the plan.

    • You don’t have to buy a thing at Trader Joe’s. None of the ingredients are unique to that store. But, that store is hard to find everything one might need in a given week. So we made the plan to fit TJ’s fickleness. Get well soon!

  4. I did not use the new $70 meal plan simply because I already had a plan in process, but I look forward to using it. I’m eager to see additional plans in coming weeks. We live overseas, so obviously there will be some changes based on what is available here, but it seems that most ingredients are “normal” – that is greatly appreciated! Thanks for all your hard work and sharing your ideas with us.

  5. I am looking forward to using this basic plan next week. We havevjust returned from spring break, and I had already gone shopping before checking in here I will need to modify it slightly to make it gluten-free for two of us. I will take the survey next week if it is still up. Thanks for all of your hard work.

  6. So I shopped the plan today at Kroger. A couple things that concerned me:

    1. I couldn’t get CLOSE to your target prices on lots of things! One that really stood out was baby spinach. I prefer organic of most things, especially produce, but I went ahead and bought conventional to see if I could get close to $70 for a week of dinners. That would be awesome! Your target was $1.99 for a 12 oz bag. Their FIVE OUNCE cartons were $3.29 for conventional!! I can’t remember the organic price, but I think it was $3.49 for the same size. There were lots of items like that. Trader joes must be so cheap! We are moving near TJs in about 2 months so I am super excited to see how that affects our grocery budget!

    2. For our family, I can already tell these would be VERY modest portions. Maybe we just need to eat less! We have 4 kids, but one is a baby under 1, and another is a 2 year old, so right now we really don’t eat that much more than when we were a family of 4. Again, maybe we eat too much, honestly!

    3. I have been trying to cut out all processed foods. I realize that just because I am doing that doesn’t mean that other people are, but I just wanted to let you know that this meal plan would have appealed to me personally much more without so much white flour, the prepackaged pasta product, the tortillas, etc. Even finding minimally processed Italian sausage is a feat, and makes it much more expensive. Honestly, it’s a little discouraging for me. One reason I wanted to try your plan is that ever since I’ve been trying to cut out processed foods, and trying to eat organic when possible, our grocery budget has been kinda insane. So maybe this is reality check time. Maybe I can’t eat organic and unprocessed without spending a LOT, and I need to consider whether it’s worth it.

    Thank you so, so much for all the work put into doing this! I think it’s amazing people like you are willing to do this and provide so much value to your readers! FYI, I bought your cook book! Love supporting your great work!

    • What helpful feedback. Yes, TJ’s is a lot cheaper. The meal plan is really only for four people. You will need to stretch it/supplement if you’re feeding more than 4.

      I am with you on the organics/processed issue. That was actually why I leaned on baking instead of buying rolls from the store. I make those same breads with white whole wheat flour, so I should have added that to the notes. Likewise, the rice pilaf can be made with brown rice, but you need to extend the cooking time. Thanks for the reminder to add those kinds of notes.

      It’s also a Trader Joe’s issue since so many of their “processed” items are GMO-free and use minimal ingredients, no artificial stuff. For instance the tortillas have no sugar or preservatives, etc. Same with the pastas. I get you on the sausage point. Will try to remember that going forward.

      Thanks for your great feedback and for buying the book. I appreciate that!

    • Also, what did your total come to at Kroger’s?

  7. Funny enough, it was $70, almost on the nose. 69 something. BUT!! I didn’t buy chicken, tortillas, rice, flour, cheese, or broccoli. So I know that’s not that helpful, but some of those are high dollar items, like cheese and chicken, so I definitely would have gone over. I don’t buy chicken at Kroger any more. Way too many times getting stinky chicken that I just barely bought!! I now buy chicken at costco in their freezer packs and then just thaw what I need each week. It’s not the best price, I admit, but I haven’t ever opened a brand new package and have it smell like it’s rotting. Ew. Tortillas, I thought I would try making some white flour ones at home. I’ve tried making whole wheat ones, and haven’t liked them yet. Too much effort and I’ve never been able to get them remotely malleable. I would prefer whole wheat obviously, but so far I haven’t been able to make it work for tortillas. I also buy brown rice in bulk so I didn’t have to get that. For flour, I keep a bit of white on hand but I also grind my own and have a huge bucket of wheat berries. I actually made the Italian rolls tonight with whole wheat flour and they worked great!! Broccoli, I already have some frozen from Costco. And cheese… Ugh cheese!! I was so mad at Kroger over their cheese. First off, I stopped buying preshredded cheese because of the wood pulp anti caking agent and preservative. And I kid you not, the ONLY blocks of mozzarella they had were GIANT blocks of Kroger brand. And cheddar, only GIANT blocks of orange cheddar. I’ll just get the smaller blocks from whole foods tomorrow. Anyway. Rambling. Sorry.

    • I think you will like Trader Joe’s. They don’t have the rock bottom prices, nor are all their items “healthy”, but they have some key items that are minimally processed.

  8. So very excited to try this plan this week! I always do a weekly meal plan, but never so well thought out (utilizing 1-2 meats, and leftovers to stretch out over the week – this is brilliant!) and never $70! No Trader Joes here yet, but will be at our usual spot: Hannaford – and will be choosing some organic options which I know will go above the target prices, but I’m excited to see how close I can get. Will be following it closely this week and will report back & do the survey after our week!
    Thank you so much for putting this together!! Will be anxiously awaiting the next installment!

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