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!

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!