Wednesday, October 3, 2012

How I Meal Plan

What am I going to make for dinner?
Such a dreaded question that comes every day, for me it is about 2pm. Right before I need to go pick up my girls from school.
You know, I have found an easier way to meal plan and although I do not follow this all the time, it would make my life a little easier if I did.
When my older two girls were babies, I did not have the mental capacity to take both of them to the grocery store with me numerous times a week. In fact I still feel that way with three of them. It seriously never gets any easier even as they get older. (: I digress.....
I came up with a solution that made my life easier.
I plan a menu with one full week of meals and create a shopping list based on what I have on hand, and what might be on sale that week at my store.
  I keep a copy of my weekly meals on my fridge and every day at 2pm I can look and breath a sigh of relief that I pre-planned  dinner.
Now this does take planning. It takes an investment of your time to figure out what you are going to make each night.
So, I came up with an idea to help narrow down the choices. This is a sample but it helps me to find recipes quickly.
I make a theme for each night of the week. Here is my list:
Monday~Italian Night
Wednesday~Crock pot Meal
Thursday~Breakfast for Dinner
Friday~Homemade Pizza 
Saturday~Soup or Leftovers
Sunday~Crock pot/leftovers for lunch, Popcorn and Fruit for Dinner
I pretty much stick to this list when making my meals for the week. Now, you may have a different type of food category, or a day that you eat out, so put that on your meal plan for the week. We rarely eat out and we live too far out of town for Pizza delivery. (I know! I'm still crying about it)
However, we save a ton of money and calories by eating at home. We also stick to a Gluten-Free and mostly organic diet and you just can't find that eating out.
I will not lie, this takes a sacrifice of my time in planning and cooking. I cook everything from scratch and love to do it for my family but it is a hobby and I understand not everyone can or wants to cook like this. (:
So after I have my menu for the week I break down the ingredients for each meal and create my shopping list. If you stick to your list you will save money, time and a headache over the next week.
Hey, you wont have the nightly 5 pm freak out attack while banging your head against your fridge door as your kids cling to your legs screaming that their hungry. That may or may not have happened.
Having everything on hand ahead of time is key and essential to keeping you stress free. Also, a well stocked pantry will aid in those unforeseen times where you need a quick meal for a busy night. I have a few recipes and ingredients that I keep under my sleeve and in my pantry at all times for such an emergency. 
Oh, if your wondering about Sunday......I don't cook on Sunday, it is my day off. If I have a well planned week(and this is where I say "well planned" very loosely) I will pre-make a crock pot meal and put it in the fridge sat night. This way I can take my meal out of the fridge and drop the crock insert into the slow-cooker before church. When we come home we have a piping hot meal. Sunday night is Popcorn, fruit and usually cheese or peanut butter. Something I adapted from my friend Andrea.....She set me free from feeling like I need to cook every night.
I hope this helps you plan your meals this week.
Prairie Mama  


Erin Rothie said...

Thanks Abby! Just wondering, what caused you to be gluten-free and has it been a challenge cooking/baking that way? I started making a meal planning journal today, hoping that helps me be organized in that. We'll see! :)

freestanding pantry said...

It's quite impressive.

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