Monday: Fettucine with Portabella Alfredo and Italian Grilled Chicken
Tuesday: Ham and turkey sammies, salad, chips
Wednesday: Ginger Pork Stirfry, fried rice
Thursday: Sweet Honey Lime Chicken Drummies, baked beans, baby carrots
Friday: Ground turkey tacos with all the fixin's

Weekend: TBD - hubby thinks his family will have a BBQ, so we're in a wait and see before I can do any more planning.

Dessert of the week: Banana Nut Bread, Maple Pecan Apple Crisp

Breakfast for the week: We're still working off our cereal, granola bar, yogurt, and poptart stockpile. I keep grabbing more free granola bars from Dominicks - so it might be awhile before I'm forced to actually cook breakfast more than 1-2 a week.
I couldn't resist another run at the "Buy 3 Juices, get 2 snacks FREE" deal. I found 2 catalina coupons for $2.50 each. I'm just lovin' the free snacks and I totally needed to stock up on granola bars. I go through a box of granola bars a week, so each transaction yields another month supply! And hubby is totally loving all the juice, we're big juice fans, and it doesn't get any better than this!!

6 bottles Mott's apple juice $2.99 (reg. price) $2.00 (sale) -$2/2 (2) -$1.50/2
4 boxes Quaker granola bars ($3.49/box) free wyb 6 juice -$1/1 (4)
1 gallon Lucerne milk $2.99, -$2.99 (wyb 4 Quaker granola bars, get 1 gallon Lucerne milk free)

Total retail value: $36.89
Total saved: $36.89
Total OOP: $.06 (local tax)
100% savings
I'm glad I popped over to Jill Cataldo's website before I headed out yesterday. There was a 3 day sale at Dominicks - buy any 3 participating juices, get 2 participating snack items free. The deal got immeasurably better when coupons for the juice (Mott's apple juice) could be found in a coupon booklet recently spotted at Jewel. Which I actually found, while I was there grabbing newspapers (Saturday paper with coupon inserts) for $.99 each. Best price in the area.

Truth be told, I found a huge display of those coupon booklets, so I helped myself to a dozen or so. I was so thrilled to find them. The deal was on. I had my box of expired coupons in the car, and was ready to go. The snacks that were included in the deal were Quaker granola bars. Which was great - I have tons of expired Quaker granola bar coupons. I had coupon overage on the brain. It's been some time since that happened. And this Dominick's is typically coupon friendly. This was my day.

Here's what I found:
9 bottles of Mott's Apple Juice 64 oz. each $2 each -$1.50/2 coupons (x4)
3 bottles Ocean Spray juices 64 oz. each $2.29-$2.99 -$3/1 coupons (x3) = $.73 moneymaker!
6 boxes Quaker Granola bars $2.49 (free wyb 3 juices) -$3/5 quaker products, $1/1 True Delights = $4.00 moneymaker!!
6 bags Fritos/Cheetos on sale $1.49 (with in-store coupon) -$1/2 coupons (3)
3 jars Frito-Lay brand dip $2.29-$3.79 -$3/1 coupons wyb 2 FritoLay chips (3)
10 bags Nabisco Mini Oreo's, Chips Ahoy, etc. $.99 with instore coupon -$1/2 coupons (5)
2 Kraft Salad Dressing $2.00 -$1/1 coupons (x2)
1 Kraft Garlic & Herb Sandwich Shop Mayo $1.79 -$1/1 coupon
4 WishBone Salad Dressing $.99 -$1/2 coupons (2)

Total before discounts: $198.28
Total Savings: $167.17
Total OOP: $31.11
We didn't get to the roast beef I had planned for Sunday, so I'll be using that in tonight's dinner. For lunches, we have lots of canned soup, salad fixin's, deli-sliced ham for sandwiches, and we often take leftovers to work for lunch, so I have that pretty well covered for the week.

I try to bake one breakfast or dessert a week to round out the meal plan, this week I'm planning to bake some crimson raisin & cinnamon scones. I just love how easy and versatile scones are - they pop up at leat once a month in my house! I like to eat them for breakfast, hubby prefers them as a dessert or snack.

Monday: Thin sliced roast beef over potatoes with a mushroom gravy, salad
Tuesday: Fancy French Toast, pepper and cheddar frittata, apple slices
Wednesday: Ground turkey tacos, beans, and rice
Thursday: Roast beef and provolone paninis, summer salad, grapes
Friday: DH's making pizza!
Saturday: DH's grilling
Sunday: Dinner at Nuevo Leon in the city - best enchiladas ever! (and it's super affordable - less than $6.00 a plate!) We'll be at Navy Pier for the Tall Ships Festival - I love the tall ships.

Breakfast for the week: Cereal (we have more than 12 varities on hand), yogurt, toast, fruit, and granola bars.

Dessert of the week: Crimson Raisin & Cinnamon Scones
I absolutely love chicken. It's my favorite source of protein, hands down. A lot of people get tired of eating the same old chicken entree - and who can blame them? I used to think chicken could only be roasted or fried, with a dash of season salt and black pepper. I'm so glad over the years that I've proven that mentality wrong! Paired with sweet or savory spices, chicken is my go-to everytime. One of my favorite things about chicken is how budget friendly it is.

1. Want to make a bold dish - swap a cut of chicken in for beef or pork as is called for in your recipe. I match boneless with boneless, bone-in with bone-in. Some of my favorite swaps include: Pulled Chicken Sammies, chicken tacos, and chicken and biscuits.

2. Chicken pairs well with most fruits for awesome kebabs, sizzling stirfries, and wings that make your heart sing! Some of my favorites are chicken "burgers" topped with grilled pineapple rings, Indonesian Chicken with Honey and Garlic, and Thai Mandarin Chicken Stirfry. I haven't yet tried chicken dish with fruit that I didn't like - kids love it, too!

3. Soup and salad. I can think of no other protein base that goes so well into either salad or soup, let alone both. From fancy grilled chicken salads to the humblest of chicken soups, this piece of poultry packs a powerful punch in the flavor department. With bone-in pieces of chicken, you can stretch your dollar even further, and when making soups - stretch the flavor further, too!

4. Chicken as a component in casseroles, pastas, rice dishes, etc. A little of this bird can go a really, really long way. One chicken breast can provide enough meat for 2-4 servings when worked into a pasta sauce, as a primary ingredient in a casserole, and when shredded/cubed into a rice dish. When you do this, let the side dish take center stage as your entree and pair it with a hearty salad. That is a easy supper that's good for you and light on your wallet, too.

5. Spices, marinades, and sauces. Chicken with gravy over potatoes, chicken marinated in teriyaki (or any fruit-based marinade), chicken seasoned with basil, garlic, and onion - any favorite spice combination or flavor mix that you love - you will love it on chicken. I like to pair in smoky elements in chicken (cumin and hickory seasoning, anyone?) for an unexpected twist on a classic chicken dish. If you need inspiration - check out ethnic cooking. Chicken seems to be the favored poultry for many nationalities, if you need some flavor inspiration.

Tell me - what's your favorite chicken dish?
Finally, we're having a break in the heatwave that feels like its lasted much of the summer. Hubby has offered to do some grilling this week and I can't wait that! With lots of summer produce keeping the prices low across the area, the meal plan this week has never been easier. No major schedule changes, not too many things to take into consideration. I love it when it's easier to plan.

Monday: Spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, salad
Tuesday: Grilled brats and teriyaki chicken thighs, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob
Wednesday: Turkey, apple, and cheddar paninis, salad, peaches
Thursday: Ginger Lime Roasted chicken, angel hair pasta, green beans
Friday: Breakfast wraps, hashbrowns, bananas, juice
Saturday: Date night
Sunday: Italian beef sammies, fresh fruit, baked beans
I still cannot believe this deal: Jewel has selected Pillsbury/General Mills/Betty Crocker items on sale this week. WYB 10, receive $5 instant savings and receive 50 Bonus Boxtops for Education (BTFE).

The Betty Crocker Potatoes were on sale for $1.00 each - and the price dropped to $.50 each WYB 10. What a fabulous deal! On the boxes, there were $1/2 peelies - which meant, all I had to pay was tax!

I used 16 coupons and grabbed 32 for the cost of the tax ($.09 per transaction of 10 boxes).

While I like homemade mashed potatoes, the boxed ones are not too bad (especially at this price). To make them healthier, I use fat free milk (I start with powdered milk and add water as directed on the box), I use half the butter or margarine called for on the package and substitute light sour cream or fat free cream cheese for the other half of the butter/margarine needed in the recipe. And if you really want to punch up the flavor of the potatoes, use chicken stock in place of the water called for.

It's an easy way to turn boring boxed potatoes into a tasty treat. I've even used my doctored up box potatoes in entertaining, and have had people ask for my recipe. If you are looking to save time, cut calories/fat grams, many varieties of these potatoes are a good choice. If you want to add even more flavor, fold in a little garlic, a tablespoon of parmesan, some parsley - anything you would normally add to your own mashed potatoes.

I also stocked up on canned veggies (Green Giant brand was $.99 - dropped to $.49 a can wyb 10), since I was starting to run low from the last time I loaded up. I grabbed 28 cans - and that should be enough to hold us through the winter. If I have a chance, I may grab another 10 cans before the sale is up. You can never be too well stocked on veggies, especially at these prices!
I have been not-so-patiently waiting for another good deal on cereal, and as it tends to happen, Dominicks is the place to be. Since no stores in Chicagoland double coupons, Dominicks is our saving grace - they accept expired coupons. Couple that with a Buy 10 get a $10 coupon OYNO, and I was in heaven. Oh, and Kellogg wasn't the only brand on sale, Keebler was, too! This was a great time to be couponing!

Transaction #1
10 boxes Keebler cookies (originally $4.19 - $4.39) on sale for $2.49
1 gallon milk (regular price $3.19) $2.69
Minus $1/2 coupons (x5)
Minus $2 milkpurchase wyb 2 Keebler cookies
Minus $3 register rewards from Walgreens
Total: $18.07
Total Saved: $25.60
and a $10 cat prints out...

Transaction #2
10 boxes PopTarts (regular price $3.39) on sale for $1.99
Minus $1/2 coupons (x5)
Minus $10 cat
Total: $5.25
Total Saved: $29.50
no cat prints....I ask the cashier, he tells me to talk to the service desk. I decide to do that after my next 2 orders are complete

Transaction #3
6 boxes Apple Jacks (regular price $3.59) on sale $1.99
2 boxes Kellogg's NutraGrain bars (regular price $3.99) on sale $2.49
2 boxes Keebler cookies (regular price $3.99) on sale $2.49
Minus $1/2 coupon (cookies)
Minus $.70 off 1 box cereal (x6)
Total: $15.87
Saved: $21.50
and a $10 cat prints out...

Transaction #4
2 boxes Keebler cookies (regular price $3.99) on sale $2.49
6 boxes Frosted Flakes (regular price $2.99) on sale $1.99
2 boxes Apple Jacks (regular price $3.59) on sale $1.99
1 jar apricot preserves (regular price $2.79) on sale $1.99
2 64 oz. bottle Ocean Spray juice blends $2.99
Minus $1/2 Kellogg cereals (x3)
Minus $.70 off 1 box cereal (x2)
Minus $1/2 coupon (cookies)
Minus $3 off winetag coupons for the juice
Minus $10 cat
Total: $9.73
Saved: $33.00
and a $10 cat prints out...

I go to customer service after my transactions, ask if the purchase where no cat pr inted could be re-rung or returned. The cashier offered me $10 cash instead of the cat. I happily accepted and was off on my merry way.

Total Saved during this long shopping trip: $109.60
Coupons spent: $49.60
Total OOP: $38.56 (I've subtracted the $10 cash from this)
Plus another $10 cat in my wallet...
Quantity of items purchased: 44
I didn't have a meal plan last week, because I assigned that duty to DH. I knew I wouoldn't have time to make our dinners (a crazy work week, culminating in an in-office board meeting that was 3 days too long!), and desperately need to get back in the swing of things this week. Luckily I have a few things on hand to build my meals around - like the leftover bagels from the meeting (no one wanted them, so I took home 6-8 huge bagels and popped them in my freezer) and a little help from my mama (who made a large batch of pulled pork and was nice enough to take pity on me and share some). With a few pantry staples, here's what I've got in mind for this week:

Monday: Monte Cristo with tomato basil soup topped with crunchy croutons
Tuesday: Pulled pork sammies with a teriyaki sweet BBQ sauce on egg-onion rolls, gourmet spring blend salad, and corn
Wednesday: Mushroom and Cheddar Frittata, bagels, strawberries, and red grapes
Thursday: Simple Pork Tacos, refried beans, rice
Friday: Girls day out - taking my mama (DaMama) out for lunch and a movie
Saturday: Build your own flatbread pizza - using the last of our $.49 flatbread pizza crusts from the $3 off bread coupon from Jewel
Sunday: Pork steaks on the grill, sauteed mushrooms, mashed potatoes, salad, corn on the cob
This week, my office has its board of director's meeting, which means a few longer days (maybe into early evening) of work, so I've got DH making meals for half of the week.

Monday: Rotini with a white wine portabella sauce, garlic bread, salad
Tuesday: Cheddar, Apple, and Onion Panini's, salad, chips
Wednesday: Dinner at DaMama's
Thursday - Sunday: DH's got his buttery chicken nuggets, pizza, and more planned for us!

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