Last week, I posted this photo on Instagram…
…and got a ton of emails and messages about how I shop at Costco to meal plan for the month! So, here’s the blog post with all the answers.
First, let me just tell you that I don’t do this every month. I actually went to Costco with just a few things on my list last week, but as I put my items in the cart, I realized that if I got just a few more things, I’d be able to make a whole lot more meals. So, I added those extra items in as I thought about them, and couldn’t wait to get home and make a list of everything I could make from what I’d bought! It ended up being about 5 weeks worth of dinners. So fun, right??
A couple of notes…
- This is a really loose meal plan. I try to make easy meals that I can throw together based on what I already have in the pantry – I usually keep olive oil, some kind of rice, seasonings, and pasta in the pantry, so this list assumes that you’ve got those staples too.
- Don’t feel like you have to stick to the ingredients exactly. Swap things out based on what YOU have, and tweak as needed. My hope is just that this list serves as an easy starting place for you, or gives you a few new dinner ideas!
- It’s worth noting that a deep freezer is key here. I really couldn’t do most of this without our chest freezer that we keep in the garage. We don’t have a huge one, but even the small size gives me the extra space I need to be able to prep and stock up for a month’s worth of meals.
- My lunches are mainly leftovers. This way, we make sure we don’t waste food, and I don’t have to make a new lunch every day. Win win! So really, the only other meal I need to worry about is breakfast, and for the most part, we have eggs and toast.
- The only other place I really shop is Trader Joe’s. You’ll see a few things on the grocery list that I get from TJ’s, but you could find these at any grocery store, for the most part. They are just things I’m only using for 1-2 meals (or things that I like better at TJ’s because they have more simple ingredients), so I didn’t want to buy them in bulk.
A few things I always do…
- I always start by thinking about the meat. Meat at Costco comes in bulk, so I want to know that I can use each purchase for a few different meals. I always buy the ground turkey, chicken thighs, meatballs, and chicken apple sausage. We eat these things all the time, in quite a few different ways. And with the bulk packs, I can make them last for a while.
- I only buy produce that I know we can eat right away, or that I can freeze. Otherwise it goes bad, and that’s a waste of money.
- I always cook up the turkey as soon as I get home. I used to wait on this, and that always ended badly. Either I forgot about it and it went bad before I could use it, or I froze it and ended up with a full block of turkey to defrost, which never worked well. So now, I cook it all up as soon as I get home, then I freeze it in ziploc bags. It’s SO MUCH EASIER to defrost when it’s already cooked, and super easy to just add to soups, or bakes, or whatever. This is key.
- I always cut apart the 6-packs of chicken thighs, because if you freeze them while they are still attached, they are really hard to separate (all the meat folds in on itself and freezes into place). So cutting them apart before freezing just makes things easier.
- I chop up the squash to freeze it too, and any other produce that comes in bulk that I know I’ll need later in the month.
- I always freeze the extra bread & buns. They freeze well and that way I can buy them in bulk, for cheaper than I could at the grocery store.
Alright! Are you ready? Let’s get started!! 31 dinners from Costco, all ready for you!
One Month of Costco Dinners:
- Day 1: Sausage Bake with French Bread
- This is a favorite at our house! Chop up one package (5 links) of chicken apple sausage, 3 bell peppers, & 2 squash. Toss in olive oil, garlic powder, salt, & pepper. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Serve with buttered french bread!
- Day 2: Butternut Squash Ravioli with Peas
- This ravioli comes in two-packs at our Costco. The type of ravioli always depends on the season – this is what’s in stock at our store now, but you can really choose whatever kind your store has. The giant bag of frozen peas is something we’ll use a bunch throughout the month.
- Day 3: Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries
- We grill up burgers on brioche buns weekly. Easy and yummy dinner! The sweet potato fries are frozen, from Trader Joe’s. They are the BEST, and they are about as natural as these come, pre-made. We eat these regularly too.
- Day 4: Tortilla Soup with Homemade Chips
- I use this recipe as a base, but I leave out the bay leaf, used diced tomatoes instead of whole peeled, and use green enchilada sauce instead of red, since that’s what I usually have on hand. It’s AMAZING. I could eat this everyday. I always fry up some homemade chips using corn tortillas.
- Day 5: Baked Chicken with Roasted Asparagus
- This is another favorite at our house. Chicken thighs, tossed in olive oil & Lawry’s seasoning (or your favorite seasoning), and baked at 350 for 40 minutes. Saute the asparagus in some butter and garlic and you’re good to go.
- Day 6: Pesto Pasta Bake with French Bread
- My Pesto Pasta Bake recipe is here. I use one of the packs of ground turkey for this. It’s super yummy!
- Day 7: Tacos with Homemade Chips & Guacamole
- I use another pack of the ground turkey for this, and the corn tortillas for tacos and for chips. We also love Costco’s Wholly Guacamole!
- Day 8: Leftovers
- Day 9: Sloppy Joe’s with Sweet Potato Fries
- Here’s another pack of ground turkey, with some sloppy joe’s seasoning. And another bag of TJ’s Sweet Potato Fries.
- Day 10: Spaghetti & Meatballs
- Easy peasy. Just cook up a few meatballs with the pasta and then toss with sauce. YUMMY.
- Day 11: Chicken Noodle Soup
- I use this recipe as a base, but instead of all the chopped veggies, I add a couple handfuls of the frozen mixed veggies from Costco.
- Day 12: Alfredo Pasta with Chicken Sausage & Salad
- I usually cook up some more rotini pasta, add a jar of alfredo, and then add in some diced chicken apple sausage that I’ve cooked up in a skillet on the side. An easy salad goes great with this meal!
- Day 13: BBQ Meatballs with Zucchini Fries
- Coat some meatballs in BBQ sauce, cook for 20 minutes at 350. As a side, I’ll toss some of the zucchini squash (that I’ve already cut up and frozen) in some olive oil and seasoned salt, and roast those up too.
- Day 14: Bacon Carbonara Ravioli with Peas
- Again, this ravioli comes in two-packs at our Costco. The type of ravioli always depends on the season – this is what’s in stock at our store now, but you can really choose whatever kind your store has. And, more peas from the giant bag of frozen peas.
- Day 15: Leftovers
- Day 16: Baked Chicken with Peas
- Same as Day 5!
- Day 17: Breakfast for Dinner – Pancakes, Bacon & Eggs
- We love the Applewood Smoked Bacon from Costco, and always have eggs & pancake supplies on hand. This is a cheap and easy dinner that everyone will eat!
- Day 18: Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries
- Yep, again.
- Day 19: Marinated Chicken with Roasted Potatoes
- My favorite way to make potatoes is to toss them in olive oil, garlic powder, and a little salt, and add a few sprigs of rosemary into the pan. Roast at 350 for 45 minutes, or until crispy. For the chicken, I just let it marinate in whatever I’ve got in the pantry that day, and then cook at 350 for 40 minutes.
- Day 20: Turkey Chili with Homemake Chips
- I use my chicken chili recipe here, and just substitute the ground turkey for the ground chicken. This is where I end up using a lot of those cans of diced tomatoes!!
- Day 21: BBQ Meatballs with Sweet Potato Fries
- Just like day 13!
- Day 22: Leftovers
- Day 23: Baked Chicken with Mixed Veggies
- See? I told you we liked this one.
- Day 24: Butternut Squash Ravioli with Peas
- This will be the last pack of this type of ravioli.
- Day 25: Tacos with Homemade Chips & Guacamole
- See day 7.
- Day 26: Spaghetti & Meatballs
- And day 10.
- Day 27: Bacon Carbonara Ravioli with Peas
- And now we’re out of this kind of ravioli too!
- Day 28: Burgers & Sweet Potato Fries
- Just one more time. Who doesn’t love a good burger??
- Day 27: Leftovers
- Day 28: Meatballs with Roasted Squash
- Again, using the squash that I chopped and froze, and baking the meatballs in some kind of BBQ sauce.
- Day 29: Sausage Bake with French Bread
- Same as Day 1!
- Day 30: Breakfast for Dinner – French Toast & Bacon
- Another easy peasy dinner that everyone will eat, using that bacon that we all love.
- Day 31: Baked Chicken with Mixed Veggies
- Last time. I promise. Somehow, though, we never get tired of this one. That Lawry’s seasoning is good stuff.
And that’s it! Not as hard as you thought it would be, right? Don’t forget to download your grocery list and printable meal plan here!
I hope this list has been helpful for you! I’m no expert, but this is what’s working for us this month, and I’m super excited that it all cost less than $300! We’ll have to go out and get some more milk and fresh produce for breakfasts and lunches when we’re out of what we’ve got, but other than that (and Thanksgiving Dinner!), we’re all set!
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