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One of the things that I think my husband and I have gotten pretty good at is meal planning. He likes having the week planned out and I like having a full fridge – especially now that I’m home each day. We sit down on either Saturday or Sunday and plan out what we are going to have for dinner at least through Thursday.
Benefits of Meal Planning
Sitting down and meal planning might seem daunting but there are so many benefits. My husband is the type who could have chicken/rice/beans each night, I need to switch things up. Plus it’s better for the kids to be exposed to a variety of food. Getting it done on the weekend gives us the opportunity to do our weekly grocery shop and precook anything on Sunday.
Meal planning also gives us control over what we’re eating. I know that sounds obvious but if I’m not prepared for lunch or dinner then I tend to make easy choices and most of the time easy isn’t always healthiest.
Sometimes it’s easy to jot down a few things, other times, it feels like the hugest chore. The last thing I want to do is schlep two kids to the grocery store at 4 in the afternoon – which happens to be our witching hour.
So taking the time to figure it all out on the weekend saves me from that, most of the time. Worth it.
There are a ton of meal planning services that you can subscribe to that range from cooked meals delivered to your door to planned our recipes and grocery lists. I usually pull from my favorite cookbooks, websites and old standbys. I keep the days organized in my Erin Condren planner.
Skinny Taste Fast and Slow – I feel in love with this website when we were doing Weight Watchers a few years ago. This cookbook doesn’t disappoint. It has a bunch of great recipes that are either ready quickly or go in the crockpot. I think I’ve made about 60% of the recipes in this book and haven’t made a bad one yet.
Roasted – this was an impulse buy at the grocery store and was a BH&G special issue. I’ve probably used this at least once a week if not for a full recipe than just as a reference on time/temperature for a certain meat or veggie.
Oprah: Food, Health and Happiness – My husband and I are opposites in a LOT of ways and our opinion on Oprah is quite different. I think she can do no wrong and this cookbook is testament to that. It’s full of AMAZING recipes, even if they are a little out of reach for the busy family. Great inspiration though and lots of healthy tips.
Social Media – anytime I see a recipe video that looks good on Facebook or Instagram, I save it to a collection and peak back at them every so often when I need some new dinner inspiration
Skinny Taste – Like I said above, I found this website when we did Weight Watchers a few years ago and it has the most delish meals. I’ve never made anything from this website that wasn’t good or didn’t need a ton of tweaking to the recipe. She has a wide variety that could fit almost any dietary need. Some of our favorites in heavy rotation are the Chicken Parm, Broccoli Cheese and Potato soup, and all of the lasagna roll ups.
Minimalist Baker – I first heard of this website through TheGoodPathSD on Instagram. We like to do meatless Monday as much as possible and this is a great vegetarian/vegan/GF resource. These Buddah Bowls got us hooked. So good and so easy to throw together.
Two Peas and Their Pod – This is a go to of mine for treats but they also have a ton of great salad and dinner ideas. All yummy and easy to make. She also offers a meal planning service.
Go To Dinners
When I don’t have time to make our planned meal or the inevitable happens and I’m missing one key ingredient and don’t want to go to the store….these are some of the things we keep on hand so we aren’t tempted to go out to eat or order take out.
Turkey Burgers (Kirkland @ Costco), Annies Mac and Cheese and roasted veggie
Orange Chicken (from the freezer section), brown rice and roasted veggie
Easy roasted Salmon, rice/mac/quinoa, veggie from the freezer
This Week’s Menu
Monday – Vollmer Chili – it’s a New Years Day tradition.
Tuesday – Brown sugar/mustard Salmon, roasted sweet potatoes and quinoa/brown rice. This salmon is so easy – spread the top with dijon mustard and a little bit of brown sugar. Coat with breadcrumbs and bake for 30 minutes at 375. SO DELISH.
Wednesday – Picadillo and brown rice
Thursday – Vegan Minestrone soup
Friday – Pizza Night – not sure if we will go to our local pizza joint or get the best frozen pizza there is – Against the Grain. We usually have one of the bagged salads from Sprouts along with it.
Saturday – Stuffed turkey meatloaf. This is an old recipe of mine, coming soon to the blog.