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!

Eating Real Food

Eating Real Food- Day 2 and 3

So yesterday was day 2:

Breakfast was a few strips of bacon and 2 scrambled eggs

Lunch was an apple and peanut butter

Dinner was out for pizza ( not “real” food, I know)

Snacks were some sunflower seeds, a Larabar (cherry pie flavor), and  some fresh fruit.

I did manage to make up a large batch of chicken stock made with roasted chicken legs (the meat was pulled from the bone and shredded for soup)

DSC_0139 Stored in jars in the fridge.

DSC_0132Here are the roasted chicken legs

I roasted the chicken legs first, the pulled the meat from the bones for use in some soups for the week.

DSC_0133  This doesn’t look pretty- but makes a great stock!

I cooked the roasted bones down with onions, carrots, pepper, salt, garlic and sage. You could use whatever seasonings you like. I cooked mine for about 2 hours on a simmer, then strained the stock through a mesh strainer into my canning jars. I let it cool down on the counter before placing lids on them. They can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, freeze in plastic containers if not used up. I can use this through the week instead of icky canned broth.

I also made up a batch of dried apple chips with cinnamon. I just sliced up a few organic apples into very thin slices. I used my dehydrator and left until they were crisped up. These will be snacked upon for the next day or two.  You could brush with lemon juice if yours turn brown, mine were fine without the lemon juice.

DSC_0131 Yummy snack!

Today was a total bad eating day- we were snowed in at home and I was in hibernation mode! I cooked/baked and ate all day!

Breakfast was Cinnamon bread (homemade) and coffee

Lunch was Chicken Lime Soup with Avocado (I also ate 2 slices of leftover pizza from last night!)

Dinner was Burgers and Chips

I snacked all day long on junk! Then my daughter made a yummy Chocolate Chip Pizza and I ate 2 slices!

Tomorrow will be better- I hope, we are out of school again. I am planning on sledding tomorrow with my kids, so maybe I will at least burn some extra calories off.

I did manage to make a batch of Clean Eating style Granola-

DSC_0134 Yummy!

This was super easy to make- I just tossed about 3 1/2 cups Whole Oats (old fashioned), 1c raw almonds, 1/2c sunflower seeds,  1tsp cinnamon,and 1/4tsp salt together. Then I melted 1/2 cup honey and 6 Tbsp coconut oil together. I tossed it with the dry stuff. Placed on 2 cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and baked at 275* for about an hour. Once cooled I placed into Ball jars to store on the  cabinet.

This will be used as snacks and also for breakfasts. Yumm-o!

I hope all are having a blessed week so far! God Bless!!