Monday, January 7, 2013

Meal Planning & Meal Plan for week of 1/7-1/13

I thought I would start posting my weekly meal plan here...since I make one every week, figured maybe someone else could benefit from some ideas for dinners too. I will link to or include recipes when possible.

While I plan meals specific for each day, on occasion the day will come and that meal doesn't sound good - I reserve the right to flip my meals around through the week, but usually follow the menu pretty close. I try to do at least one crock pot meal per week, and I also like to make things that allow for leftovers - we can make another night's meal, or often eat them for lunch.

I have tried meal planning more than one week at a time, and I just don't like it - that's just me. I could maybe handle two weeks, but still prefer one. I usually know our weekend plans one week out so can account for dinner guests, or dinner out - two weeks out I sometimes don't know yet what the second week's plans will be. You have to do what works for your family though - I know people who plan a month out at a time and it works for them. I also know people who meal plan out breakfasts and lunches, but that is a little much for me :) I have a chalkboard on the front of our fridge that I write our weekly menu on so we always know what's for dinner.

Making a meal plan has been absolutely essential for my family for several reasons:
1. It is MUCH easier to eat healthy meals when you have it planned out before you are in starvation mode (on that note, don't meal plan when you are is similar to grocery shopping hungry, though not quite as dangerous.)
2. It is EASY and takes out the guess work. It takes me maybe 15 minutes with my super organized recipe binder to pick out meals for the week, and I won't end up staring in the fridge at dinner time wondering what to make. I also try to add in a new recipe to try about every week.
3. It saves money on groceries. Seriously. Once I have my meal plan complete, I make a grocery list based off my recipe ingredients and it eliminates a lot of purchases of things that "look good". And I never end up standing there ready to make a recipe and realize I am out of one of the ingredients. It also eliminates the need to run to the store for that one ingredient (which, if you are like me, means leaving the store with 10 things you didn't need at all). A little plan and prep goes a long way. I also try to plan entire weeks (like this week) where I plan meals based solely off what we have on hand already.

{Meal Plan 1/7-1/13}

Monday - Leftovers from the weekend

Tuesday - Crockpot Turkey Chili (1lb ground turkey, 1 medium chopped onion (or frozen chopped onion), minced garlic (equivalent of 3 cloves), 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 can drained and rinsed kidney beans, 1 cup water, 1tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, oregano, coriander, red chili flakes. Brown the meat in a little olive oil and then throw everything in the crock pot on low all day.)

Wednesday - Parmesan Chicken (new recipe to try this week) with broccoli and bow tie pasta

Thursday - Meatballs & Rice (We buy the frozen pre-cooked beef meatballs from Costco. Heat some up with teriyaki sauce on the stove, add frozen veggies to the last 5-10 minutes of cooking, serve over brown rice)

Friday - Pizza and family movie night (Often we make our own pizzas, but this time we are using some coupons from Papa Murphy's...our favorite pizza!!)

Saturday - Crockpot Salsa Chicken tacos (Throw 2-3 frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot with a jar of salsa and can of drained and rinsed black beans. Cook all day on low or if you get started later, cook on high. Shred the chicken and serve in warmed corn or flour tortillas with sour cream, brown rice,shredded lettuce, tomato, cheese (and taco sauce if you are like my hubby). One of our FAVORITES that I make a lot because it's soooo easy!! The leftovers make excellent nachos and taco salads if you get tired of tacos.

Sunday - Hubby cooks (The hubs volunteered to cook every Sunday to give this mama a little break - isn't he the best?!)

The one challenge I have been having is forgetting it is a crock pot day until about noon when I am making my kids lunch and no longer have enough time for the crockpot dinner meal to cook. My new approach is setting a reminder on my phone so that I remember at breakfast to get the crockpot going. Works much better for me.

Happy meal planning :)

I'd love to hear what's on the menu at YOUR house too!


  1. Sounds good Jc. I meal plan for the week too and I like that because then my family knows what we are having for dinner for the week. Although sometimes my days get switched around. I love that your hubs cooks on Sundays. I might have to mention that to mine! :) We had spaghetti squash spaghetti and meatballs tonight. It was very good! Others on our list this week are shredded pork tacos, stir fry, and chicken taco chili.

    1. I have been wanting to try spaghetti squash - might have to get your recipe :)