Meal planning

Its 5 o clock and everyone starts asking the dreaded famous question, “whats for dinner?” If you’re like me, you hate hearing that question especially when you’ve had a busy day and you have no idea what to make. That’s why I meal plan! The number one question I hear is, “how do you meal plan?” or “what are your favorite recipes?” Meal planning doesn’t have to be stressful or complicated as long as you’re willing to set aside a hour or two a week to PLAN.

Why you should be meal planning…

  • It saves time and money by only buying what you need each week
  • Keeps you out of the drive thru’s and provides healthy meals for your family
  • Provides time for you to sit together as a family and talk about each others days
  • Once planned, you don’t have to stress about meals for the rest of the week
  • Keeps you from getting stuck in a monotonous routine of cooking the same meals every week

How I meal plan every single week…

Create a list of meals

This is where Pinterest can be your best friend. I search Pinterest and my favorite cookbooks to gather about 7-10 meal ideas at a time. I know that can seem overwhelming but even if its just mac n’ cheese and hot dogs, its still a planned meal that will help save you time in the long run. I grocery shop every other week so I plan 7-10 meals but if you’d prefer to shop weekly, then I’d start out with 5-7 meals. I prefer to create a list of meal ideas to pick from instead of assigning a certain meal for each day. That way, I can choose what sounds good to me on that day. I know for some, its easier to stick to themes. Here are some theme nights that I suggest; meatless monday, taco tuesday, soup night, pasta night, rice night, salad night, slow cooker night, breakfast night, leftover night. You get the point right?  You just have to find what works best for you and your family.

*TIPS* Try to make at least one meal a week that you haven’t made before!  Stretch your protein, meat is expensive so search for meals that don’t require a chicken breast for each member of your family!  Look for sales, if something is on sale, stock up and plan your meals around that. Frozen veggies can be your best friend. 

Make your grocery list

Look in the fridge and pantry for items you already have. You can also do this before making your meal list and base your meals off of what you already have as well. I shop at THREE different stores so I itemize my list based off of Costco, Trader Joe’s and Aldi. Farmers markets are also a great way to support your local farmers and plan your meals around whats in season. I love teaching my kids about healthy choices and showing them where our food comes from.

Don’t forget to add your toiletries to your list as well. There is nothing worse than realizing you’re out of toilet paper while on the can!

Plan

Plan a day that works for you to grocery shop and try to stick to the same day every week. This will help keep you more organized and be able to plan better! Plan your meals around your week. If you know its going to be a busy week and you wont have a lot of time to prepare a meal, then choose meals that are quick and simple or can be prepared ahead of time. Crock pots or instant pots are great for busy weeknights!

Here are some of my families favorite meals to get you started:

 

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Chicken fried rice with Yum Yum sauce

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins

Ingredients

Chicken Fried Rice

  • 3-4 chicken breasts
  • 1 cup cooked peas (canned or frozen)
  • 1 cup cooked carrots (canned or frozen)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 packets instant brown or white rice
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2-3 tbsp soy sauce or liquid aminos
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Yum Yum Sauce

  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Instructions

Yum Yum sauce

  • Melt butter in microwave, add the rest of ingredients, mix well and set aside.

Chicken fried rice

  • Melt butter in large frying pan and scramble your eggs on medium low heat. Add cooked rice, peas, carrots and chicken. I prefer to use rotisserie chicken or pre cooked chicken to save on time. Stir in in soy sauce and garlic powder. Heat until warmed through. 

 

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Korean Chicken & Veggies

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins

Ingredients

  • 3-4 cooked chicken breasts
  • 1-2 cups broccoli
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp brown sugar (optional)
  • dash of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil or any cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic

Instructions

Korean sauce

  • Mix together minced garlic, soy sauce or coconut aminos, honey, brown sugar, sesame oil and red pepper flakes. Set aside

Chicken & veggies

  • Cut up broccoli, peppers & onion. Heat oil in a large frying pan & toss in veggies. Cook until veggies are soft, about 10min. Toss in cooked chicken and pour sauce in pan. Stir and let simmer for about 5-7 min. Enjoy it over rice or eat all by itself! 

 

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Chicken Alfredo

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins

Ingredients

  • 8 oz fettuccine noodles (or your favorite kind of noodle)
  • 3 diced cooked chicken breasts
  • 6 tsbp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Cook noodles according to package. Heat butter in a large frying pan, once melted whisk in flour and milk. Let boil and thicken up for about 2-5 minutes. Once thickened, add in parmesan cheese and stir until mixed through. Toss sauce over diced chicken and noodles. Sprinkle with more parmesan cheese and serve!

 

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Taco Soup

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 4 cups beef broth (or chicken)
  • 1 15 oz can of corn, drained
  • 1 15 oz can of black beans, drained
  • 1 28 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 1 4 oz can of chopped green chilies
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In a large dutch oven or pot brown ground beef and onions until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
    Add remaining ingredients, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, crushed tortilla chips or guacamole. 

 

 

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