Eating Real Food, Frugal Living/ Budgeting, Recipes/ How To, Weekly Meal Planners

How to Meal Plan Like a BOSS!

food8edit

Okay y’all, so it’s a weeknight, about 5 pm and you have no idea what’s for supper and you are in a panic. Sound familiar? Yep, we’ve all been there before!

  So let’s talk meal planning. I’m going to give you tips so you can meal plan like a BOSS! You’ll know exactly what meals you have all the ingredients for, what’s fast and easy and what you’re saving for when you have more time in the kitchen.

   To start this meal planning lesson, let’s start right in your kitchen: do a quick mental inventory (or if you’re obsessive like me, jot it down)  of what you’ve already got on hand. This will save you money, you won’t be buying extra stuff you really didn’t need. This list will be our base for the meal planner.

stockpileedit

 Check your freezer, fridge and pantry. Please overlook my messy-ness, apparently I need some help with organizing!

   Once you have your “inventory” list, you’re ready to start planning! Now this is where it’ll be a bit different for everyone: I plan for 6 meals for each week, we usually go out one night a week. When planning, I may jot down specific meals for specific nights, but it can always be swapped around. I try to plan for leftovers, for my lunches. I typically plan 2-3 chicken dishes, 1-2 beef dishes, 1-2 pork dishes and 1-2 “other” dishes (like pizza, hot dogs, tuna sandwiches, fish, etc).

   I keep a list of meals my family likes in a little notebook. I have them categorized by meat type: chicken/beef/pork/ other. I also have them marked with a star if they’re for the slow cooker. If I’m wanting something different/new I turn to my old pal Pinterest! How did we survive without it? I will only add one or two “new” things per week, because my bunch is picky and we tend to stick with old stand-byes. I don’t cook super fancy, we tend to like basic type foods.

DSC_0636

  Here’s my pretty notebook (I’m kind of a notebook geek, I have way too many!) that I keep meals we love written in. This little step makes meal planning much quicker.

  The last step is matching up meals with what you’ve got and making your grocery list. So just based on my inventory (as seen in above pics) I’ll jot down a quick plan:

1. Chicken Fajitas

2. Marinated Grilled Chicken and Grilled Asparagus

3. Pulled Pork sandwiches and Potato Wedges

4. Green Chile/Pork Nachos

5. Meaty Italian Sauce with Spaghetti Squash

6. Tuna/Egg Salad with Veggies and Dip

   Now I would look at each meal and see what components I was missing, grocery shop once for those items and be eating for the week!

   Here’s a link to a weekly meal planner template that I love! It has spots for planning breakfasts/lunches too! And a grocery list on the side. I keep one printed out and use them.

https://www.vertex42.com/ExcelTemplates/meal-planner.html

 

   There you have it! No more wondering  “What’s for dinner?”. And no more looking forward to a specific meal, then not having all the ingredients for it on hand. By planning out meals, it’ll save you stress, time and money.

  I hope you all have a very blessed day! If you have questions/comments I would love to hear from y’all!

Weekly Meal Planners

Weekly Dinner Planner- Week of 9/14 through 9/20

DSC_0101

Okay, so here’s to another hectic week! We have been running quite a lot but have tried to stick with some meal planning. Meal planning is so hard when you add in odd work hours (our daughter), sports (our son) and me and the hubs working and running a business at the same time! But we somehow manage to eat at home most of the time, even it is just a sandwich or leftover casserole heated back up.

So for this week we are going to try to stick to the plan, and here it is:

1. Hot Turkey and Swiss sandwiches with honey glazed baby carrots (today)

2. Cheeseburger Buns and Chips

3. Tator Tot Casserole (I found the recipe on Pinterest that the Duggers use and we love it!) Find it here:  duggarfamilyblog.com/2011/10/duggars-tator-tot-casserole.html

4. French Dip Sandwiches and potato wedges (meat filling prepared in slow cooker)

5. Chicken Tacos’ or Taco Salad and Spanish Rice

6. Upside Down Pizza Casserole

7. Grab something quick for some Friday Night Football!

So for the Mini subs- here is what I did- Placed 6 Kings’ Hawaiian Rolls into a 9×13 pan sprayed with cooking spray. Drizzle with melted butter, top with a generous amount of shaved smoked deli turkey, top with 1 whole slice swiss each sandwich. (I used about 3/4 lb meat for 6 sandwiches)

DSC_0094

Drizzle a bit more melted butter over these- place in 400* oven for a few minutes (til cheese is melted). Top with other bun (top) and a little brown spicy mustard and honey, if you like, then cover with aluminum foil and bake for 10 minutes at 400*. I served this with some honey glazed baby carrots.

DSC_0100

These are always a big hit with my bunch, and I do change up the meats and cheeses,too. We like honey ham with sharp cheddar, or roast beef with swiss or provolone. This is super quick to throw together and super tasty!

Have a Blessed week!! God blesses us each and every one daily, we just have to open our eyes and see the many blessings right in front of us. God is Great!

Weekly Meal Planners

Weekly Dinner Planner 8/30 through 9/5

   I can’t believe it is the last day of August! So here goes another week, a short work week for me and the hubs, as we both have Monday off for Labor Day. So I am late posting this, we actually had the first meal last night, so here is what we’ll be noshing on the remainder of this week:

1. Balsamic Chicken** and steamed broccoli and cauliflower  (had last night- didn’t get to it last week)

2. Swiss beef steak with white rice and steamed asparagus

3. Grilled chicken chef salad

4. BFD (or in our house- breakfast for dinner- one of the most requested!) Bacon, eggs and pancakes

5. Chicken fajitas (or chicken fajita salad)

6. Roasted chicken and fresh green beans cooked with a bit of ham**

7. Football Friday Night! (eat at the game)

   

  So as you have seen in my weekly dinner planning is that we usually don’t get to all I have planned and it gets pushed forward to the next week. Also we eat a lot of chicken for a few reasons, A. It’s healthy B. it’s versatile C. it’s cheap (compared to beef which they want your firstborn child for) and D. it’s my favorite meat and I am the main chef in this house! 

   When you see the *** next to a dinner it means that some part of dinner is prepared in the slow cooker. The balsamic chicken is a freezer/slow cooker “dump and go” meal, same with the Swiss steak meal, and the fresh green beans with ham are cooked in one crock pot, while I “roast” chicken in my other crock pot. (I have 2, yeah!)

  Hope all have a wonderful, joy-filled week! Find joy in something/someone around you today! God Bless!

Weekly Meal Planners

Weekly Meal Planner 8/23 through 8/29

   Okay so we have decided that with our busy lifestyle and my son being a teenager, him trying to do gluten free just isn’t working. So for this week, you will not see those restrictions. If and when he decides he wants to try it again, we will. 

  Also, when I meal plan, anything that is missed in the previous weeks that I still have everything for, will get added back eventually. So, although it looks like we eat the same thing a lot, we really don’t. Sometimes we just have sandwiches, leftovers, on the go stuff, etc.

So here is what I have planned for the week:

1. Balsamic Chicken** served over pasta and some Green Beans

2. Grilled Hot Dogs and chips

3. Sweet and Sour Chicken over Rice**

4. Grilled Turkey Burgers and veggies with dip (chips)

5. Chicken Taco Salad

6. Tuna salad sandwich and fresh garden veggies

7. Eat at 1st Football Game of the Season

   The Balsamic Chicken and the Sweet and Sour Chicken dinners are from my mini freezer cooking session. The Chicken Taco Salad is so easy and delicious- I just throw about a pound of boneless/skinless chicken into the slow cooker, pour about 1/2cup chunky salsa/ 1/2 small, chopped onion/ and 1/2 package of fajita seasoning over top of chicken. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Shred and serve with taco salad fixings! Yum!

  Hope all are having a Blessed week! I am just thankful for all the many blessings in my life!

Weekly Meal Planners

Weekly Meal Planner- 8/16 through 8/22

   Okay so this week things will be a little tricky for me, as my son is going gluten free. I have his week all planned out with breakfasts/lunches/snacks/dinners so I am hoping this helps him feel better. He has had stomach issues since he was little and he has finally agreed to at least try this. 

   I am listing at the top my dinners for the week (like I usually do) but then after that I am listing his menu so if anyone else is struggling for new ideas, maybe it will help. Keep in mind I am not a nutritionist or anything, just a mom trying to help her teenage son feel better. Also, I know all may not be completely healthy, he is a teenager and it’s what he will eat (I hope). Also note that he is very lactose intolerant and does no dairy (with an exception here and there- he does use a little Greek yogurt on his baked potato)

  Dinners:

1. Grilled Pork Chops/ Baked potatoes with Greek yogurt and butter/ Corn on the Cob

2. Tacos’ and homemade Spanish Rice 

3.Spaghetti and Green Beans (will use GF pasta for him and the sauce I buy was already GF)

4. Loaded Chicken/ Mashed potatoes/ Garlic Herb Biscuits (using Bisquick GF/separate baking sheet to make his)

5. White Beans with Ham / Turnip Greens (which he will not even try I will say, he will probably eat corn. I am not going to make Cornbread, unless I can find a decent sounding recipe that I can get all ingredients for local. I hate eating stuff at dinner that he can’t, it’s the only meal of the day we all eat together, as much as we can)

6.Frito Pie (homemade chili and Fritos chips, he puts velveeta on his, which doesn’t hurt his stomach, while we use shredded cheddar)

7. We will be eating dinner out, I am still researching where to eat and what he can have- it’s a work in progress.

  For breakfasts this week he will have the choices of: GF cereal with Almond milk, White rice with a bit of butter and sugar, or GF waffles with syrup.

  For Lunches (at school) he will be taking some cashews and some GF beef jerky. (It’s all he would agree to- lol)

  For snacking- I am making some Fruity Pebbles Crispy treats(like marshmallow crispy treats, but with Fruity Pebbles), popcorn, apples with peanut butter,watermelon, and just whatever fresh fruit he decides to eat. I have a recipe pinned for some flourless brownies, I may make them in place of a birthday cake (his 16th birthday is Thursday).

   I hope you all have a Blessed week!! May you always notice the beautiful things/people/places in your life, because that’s why God put them there!  God Bless!

Weekly Meal Planners

Weekly Dinner Planner 8/9/14 through 8/15/14

So this week will be a bit busy for me, I am back to work after summer break, also our schools’ open house is this Thursday. So, you will see some quick grilled dinners as well as some slow cooker meals.

1. Grilled Turkey Burger and veggies with Dip (and chips for the guys)

2. Stuffed Pepper Soup (recipe from http://www.sixsistersstuff.com under the beef recipes)

3. Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chicken (from my mini freezer prep session last week) served over white rice

4. Pancakes and Sausage (we love breakfast for dinner sometimes!)

5. Crispy Cornflake Chicken Fingers and Potato Wedges

6. Grilled Cheddar Bratwurst and chips

7. Grilled Chicken Salad (or wraps)

So for the veggie dip, I tried mixing 1/2 of a 16oz container of Greek Yogurt with 1/2 package of Ranch Dip seasoning mix together. It was very yummy and quite healthy.

As I have said before, I love http://www.sixsistersstuff.com. They have great recipes as well as home ideas.

For the Crispy Cornflake Chicken Fingers, I just use a pound and a half of boneless/skinless chicken, cut it into small fingers. Coat it in a mix of 1/2 milk and 1/2 honey mustard salad dressing and an egg. Dredge the chicken, then coat with crushed cornflakes seasoned with some Cavenders’ seasoning. Place it on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray (or lightly coated with oil). Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until no longer pink in the middle.

For the Potato Wedges, scrub and wash about 4-5 potatoes. Slice into wedges. Toss with olive oil (about a tablespoon or two) and some Cavenders’ seasoning (can you tell I love this stuff!). Place on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes until they are fork tender.

The night I make the grilled chicken salad, I will grill up extra chicken and chop extra salad fixings. I will make up a few salad in a jars to take for lunch this week a few days.

Hope all have a Blessed week!!

Weekly Meal Planners

Weekly Meal Planner- Week of 8/2 through 8/8

   Okay so I am kicking off my addition of including my meal planners onto my blog. I know a lot of people like to see them (I know I love searching them for ideas!)

   I have been meal planning since I got married, it just makes it easier to grocery shop and to save money by always having food on hand to eat at home, instead of spending a ton dining out.

  Now that being said, I do not always stick to everything on the planner, and I do not plan a specific meal for a specific night. I come up with 6 or 7 dinners, make my list and that way I have everything for those meals at least. 

  This particular week I am also doing some freezer cooking, in preparation for back to school/work. I have been freezer cooking for years, off and on. It is not as complicated as some may make it look, and it is such a time saver for busy weeks.

So here’s what my clan will be noshing on this upcoming week:

1. French Dip sandwiches and homemade potato wedges ***

2. Lasagna (this was from a previous freezer cooking prep) and Garlic bread

3. BBQ Pork on Bun, pork & beans, and corn on the cob  ***

4. Tuna sandwiches and veggies with dip

5. Sloppy Joe’s and Sweet Potato Fries

6. Greek Salad with Grilled Chicken Breast

7. French Bread Pizza

Meals that have *** to the side are Crock Pot meals I really love cooking in my slow cooker all year round and most weeks at least a few dinners start in the crock pot.

  Also, if I plan a meal using hamburger buns, I try to make another meal using them, as there are 4 of us, so 2 meals uses the entire package without any waste. 

  Have a Blessed day!!