Have you ever meal planned? It is so great, but can become time consuming and get out of hand quickly. I feel like I have tried all the plans.
One that was great but didnt work so well for our family was the Once a Month Cooking. I’m glad I bought the book and tried it, as it taught me a lot about meal prep and freezing foods. But I don’t work outside the home, so I don’t necessarily “need” the meals ready at a moments notice. The other problem was that I would often forget to thaw them.
I have searched and printed many different types of planners and cute little grocery lists, but really it just became a time waster. Now don’t get me wrong. I will spend extra time on something to get something pretty, but I couldn’t seem to settle on one that looked pretty and worked for me. So I keep trying.
We are stream lining our summer eating plan in the name of simplicity. And when we were in week 2 and it had already gone awry, but oh well. It’s a plan right? Not a military itinerary.
Let me go through my process with you first and then I will share our simple plan!
First I start by listing meals (duh), but I go the extra bit of listing breakfast, morning snack (for kids), lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, and grown up bedtime snack. Sounds insane right? But I do. Check in tomorrow to see exactly how I do this.
Then I divide a scrap piece of paper into “invisible” categories….because Im to lazy to measure and to OCD to draw sections that are not perfect. Free hand words I’m ok with. I list my produce first, then the meats, then canned/boxed items, dairy and frozen are last. Sometimes I look at my menu and go through each individual meal and write down the items needed (ex: spaghetti- noodles, large tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, 1# beef), and then put them in correct categories. Other times I go through and list all produce from each meal, then meat, etc. Really just depends on my mood. But no matter what I double and triple check my list.
Yes, I use paper. Every now and then I will transfer it into my phone, but really I just like paper and crossing it off. I am known to go to store with notebook or clipboard because its easier to keep track of the page, while pushing that infuriating “car cart,” keeping baby from climbing out of straps, and keeping eye on oldest.
Now are you ready for the menu? I know, I know. That is the whole reason you are here. So here it goes.
The simple dinner menu…
Wednesday- baked chicken and potatoes
That’s it and repeat each week.
However, sometimes I can’t handle the lack of variety, so here is the slightly more complicated version. (Listed with week 1, 2, 3, 4)
Monday- Mexican (beef tacos, chicken fajitas, pork carnitas, chicken enchiladas)
Wednesday- Chicken & Potatoes(baked chicken/potatoes, fried chicken/ mashed potatoes, grilled chicken/roasted potatoes, pulled BBQ chicken/fried potatoes)
Friday- Italian (spaghetti & beef marinara, homemade pizza, penne rosa, Roman style chicken)
Saturday- Soup & Salad (Creamy Chicken & Rice, 3 Bean Chili, Southwest Chicken, Chicken & Noodle)
But this is just dinner!?!?!
I have four kids and a hungry husband who eat like 6 other meals in a day! This is just the tip of the ice berg.
Tune in tomorrow for the full week plan…