Sunday, March 19, 2017

Meal Planning 101

We like to enjoy traditional family dinners. Traditional in the 21st century that is. You know - chaotic: music in the form of my 4 year old giggling at the top of his lungs while continuous pretending to "accidentally" burp and make other eloquent noises while simultaneously having to pee every 3 minutes... fortunately though, the chaos is minimized to at the table and not in preparation. My secret: meal planning. Today I am sharing a little bit on how I do it. I will come back to this post and continue to add different meal plans for the week so be sure to bookmark or pin this page... more simple weekly meal plans and plenty of recipes to come!! 

The How:

  •  Schedule it. For me, that's Sunday. Sunday is our reset day for the week. It's time to re-group, get re-organized and re-prioritize.
  • Current stock in house. How can I use up items that may otherwise spoil this week? --- side note: this is a great way to discover new recipes. The acid in over-ripen tomatoes makes an excellent base for a this pasta dish!  
  • What can be batched up on the weekend to stock the freezer and make use for future meals? I survive by batching up recipes and taking advantage or "freezer to oven" or "freezer to crockpot cooking"... stay tuned as I feature more of these recipes on this blog. 
  • How can I add variety in meals while using the same ingredients? --- I find this is most easily accomplishment by cooking "international cuisine" and rotating the theme, or simply alternative the main between chicken one day and pork the next. We also try to avoid two pasta dinners back-to-back.

The Why:

  • Saves time. Front one-two hours and take advantage of batch cooking to have dinners for a month organized over a short period of time. The daily meal prep during the week then becomes 1-2 minutes as opposed to 30-40minutes. Who has 30-40 minutes during the week to spend in the kitchen?! Between work and the kids, their activities and the remote possibility of 15 minutes for myself, I can certainly make better use of that time than in the kitchen during the week. // The greatest timer saver though might actually be with the dishes...
  • Saves money. No need to eat out. A single meal eating out as a family of 4 is easily $40. $40 can make 5 dinners in our house (depending on the ingredients). I will get a post together about eating on a budget as I get asked about this a lot in our real life. We keep our family food budget to $500 including pull ups and cleaning products and always get asked how. Stay tuned and I'll let you in on our secrets. :)
  • Minimizes/eliminates waste. This goes slightly hand-in-hand with saving money but also, I hate the feeling of not making use of all products and food spoiling when there are so many people that go without in the world. This cuts into my ethics and morals... "waste not" is a philosophy we live by. 
  • Less stress. I like some structure and removing the uncertainly of "what's for dinner" support this aspects of my personality and that has a trickle-effect onto the all members of the family. 
  • More variety. Meal planning guarantees we don't have the same thing back-to-back which is lovely for your taste and fueling your body appropriately.

Sample meal plan:

Note: as I get the recipes listed below posted, I will be sure to link back so please stay tuned!








Quesadillas & Spanish Rice Spaetzle, Schnitzel & Veggies Spaghetti & Meatballs Chicken Corn Chowder Chicken, Bacon Pasta Toasted Chicken andwiches & Salad Stroganoff & Veggies

What is on your menu this week? Comment below! Until next time... xo


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