Sunday, January 2, 2011

Meal Plan

Meal planning and home cooking is something I have really slacked with these past few months and I am ready to get back on track.  I have been trying for a couple of weeks to get back in the swing of things and my family is much happier and functions better when we eat at home (and healthier).  I sat down this past week and wrote out meals for 31 days.  Yes different meals each day.  Although I think meal planning is the easiest part of it all.  The hard parts are deciding on a weekly basis which of those meals to make, which day, shop for them, and then actually make them.

I cheated a little bit making my meal plan and I will share with you my thought process:

Fridays are pizza night so I wrote down four pizza choices:
1. Southwestern Taco Pizza
2. Breakfast Pizza
3. Homemade Pizza
4. Order out Pizza

Sundays need to be a meal that can be made ahead of time or cooking in the crockpot all day.  I also went with the mindset of some classics and comfort foods, for our family:
1. Lasagna
2. Chicken Tortilla Soup
3. Potato, Artichoke, Asparagus soup
4. Spinach and Shells
5. Meatloaf

My husband and kids like meat.  I would love for them to be able to have some grilled steak or chicken along with a good side.  So I went through my archives looking for some side dishes that I/we like that could also serve as a good nutritious meal for me on their own.  This list will just be the one side I thought of as I am sure the rest of the menu will be planned out closer to the individual day:
1. Sweet Potato Fries (I actually decided to do this with hamburger- I love to get a bit of summer taste in the middle of winter.)
2. Spinach Artichoke Dip
3.Sauteed garlic spinach
4. Twice baked green potatoes
5. Pasta with Pesto (I will be featuring this recipe shortly.  It is so yummy but the man of the house could have used grilled chicken to go with his.)

Here is a bit of the cheating part.  I allowed myself four free nights for leftovers, throw together meals, perhaps a night out for just mom and dad, whatever it may be.  I don't want to over plan and not be able to follow through as I have seen that pattern in the past.

Another set of cheating- is three nights for something new.  Sometimes I come across something on a blog that I just can not wait to make.  I think three nights is generous enough for this and I have back-ups just in case I don't come across anything.

4+5+5+4+3= 21  That leaves me with just 10 more meals to plan.  So easy!!

1. Dinner Pancakes (this one will surprise you if you don't already know what it is)
2. Stir Fry
3. Tacos
4. Taco Salad
5. Spaghetti and Meatballs
6. Sloppy Joe's in a bowl
7. Crockpot chicken and Quinoa/rice
8. Simple Perfect Enchiladas
9. Breakfast
10. Sandwiches or salad- buffet style

I cut myself a little slack this month and planned some pretty simple and easy meals.  I plan on getting back on track with making and stocking up on beans, making bread and tortillas, and perhaps experimenting with homemade yogurt, along with testing out some homemade salad dressings.  This will be one busy month in the kitchen!!

I would love to know some your meal planning ideas or even some of your favorite (healthier) meals.


  1. My kids are super picky {well my boys} But they love Tuna Cakes! I have a really good recipe for those and qinoa cakes, that tastes really good! Let me know if you want them.

  2. Thanks for the ideas! I just put mine together for the next 2 weeks. My goal is to only go grocery shopping on payday-every two weeks! I too give myself time for leftovers and new recipes. I like to make 2 or 3 easy freezer meals for 2 weeks so on those crazy days, it's already done.Chicken enchiladas, tator tot casserole, salsa chicken (in the crockpot) are some of our favorite fast meals.

  3. Thanks Kend- but I don't do tuna and A doesn't do Quinoa. Oh catering to the picky ones. :) Jess- the salsa chicken sounds interesting would love to know more.

  4. I just want you to move in with me and plan/cook dinner for my family every night. Deal?