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

How to Meal Plan Like a BOSS!

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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.

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 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.

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  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!

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Recipes/ How To

A Delicious (yet Healthy- sshhh!) Side Dish

   So on Monday I fixed some chicken and dumplings, which is one of my bunches’ faves! I fix different sides to round this out, usually some fried squash or fried okra (I live in the South, okay? Nuff’ said.) However, this time I had been craving a side dish I hadn’t had in a long time, green beans and new potatoes cooked with some smoked ham over the top. So, into the crock pot went the ingredients and 5 hours later we were having some yummy lunch!

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   So I started with a bag of fresh green beans, about 8 very small red new potatoes, 3oz of Hormel Cherrywood smoked ham (in the brown cardboard package, no nitrates), 1/2 to 3/4 cup chicken broth (mine was pulled out of the freezer from a batch I had made), 1Tbsp minced garlic (I use the jar) , a good dash of salt (sorry, didn’t measure, I taste tested about 45 minutes before we ate and had to add more), and about 2Tbsp dried minced onion. 

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   I forgot to take pics of my potatoes and ham as I was chopping, but the potatoes were small so I just halved them, if they were bigger I would dice into bite-size pieces. The ham I chopped very fine.

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  I tossed the trimmed, chopped green beans, the halved potatoes and the chopped ham into the slow cooker (which I had sprayed with cooking spray). Then I topped with the onions, garlic and ham and slowly poured the broth around the edges. Cooked on low for about 5 hours (your slow cooker may vary).

 

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   This was so good, and it was very quick prep, will be making it this way again. Hope all have a wonderful Wednesday!! And may you always enjoy the beautiful things around you that God put there just for you!