Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What's for dinner Wednesday - Week 1

During the Month of October I decided to do a series called, "What's for dinner Wednesday." 
We all get stuck in a rut when it comes to the meals we make and the motivation to plan ahead.  I can't even count the number of times I have stood looking in my fridge or cupboards at 4:45 racking my brain on what to make.  I have recently been inspired to create a meal plan and venture out and try new things.  So each week I will be highlighting some of these meals...and hopefully inspire you too!

This week I just want to focus on the idea of planning your meals out in advance.   Being intentional in planning out your meals is such a great way to help manage your day and keep you from losing your mind (thanks, "A Busy Homeschool Moms Guide to Daylight" for reminding me of this). 

If you google meal plans you are going to come across a bazillion ideas and it can feel overwhelming.  So here are my suggestions....1) Pay out a few dollars a month and have a monthly  meal plan along with grocery shopping list emailed to you by going to eMeals.   You can choose from several meal plan options including: gluten free, low carb, clean eating, vegetarian, natural & organic, low fat and portion control.  You can also choose from a menu for 1-2 people or 3-6 people.  A 12 month membership is $58 which is the best value at $5 per month.  Or 2) create your own monthly meal plan (that is what I did). 

I printed up blank calanders here.  Then I thought of themes for my monthly calender such as Asian, Mexican, Italian, Crockpot, Home Cook Meal, Leftovers, Vegetarian, Breakfast for Dinner, etc...I added those on first then added in my specific meals under the themes.  Please note, you don't have to assign meals to a day either.  You can simply plan out however many meals you desire for the week and have all the ingredients on hand for whenever you choose to make each one!

Here is my example

Monday-leftovers, take-out, sandwiches or crockpot (my daughter is doing dance this year which goes from 5:00-5:55 so this night has to be something quick and ready to go when we get home or takeout)
Tuesday - Rotate between Mexican theme and Breakfast for Dinner
Wednesday-Rotate between 1) Oldest child picking the meal & helping me cook, 2) Asian, and 3) Vegetarian
Thursday - Crockpot (If its a soup I typically make enough for several more meals which I divide up into gallon bags and freeze and save some out for lunch the next day)
Friday - Rotate between homemade pizza and Italian
Saturday - leave this open as we usually are on the go
Sunday - Home cooked meal

Once I got my themes in place,  I then got specific ideas through my cookbooks, food blogs and online recipes.  For cookbook meals I wrote the cookbook name and page number on my calendar.  For recipes I found online I printed them right away and added them behind my calendar for quick access.

So a more specific Monthly Meal Plan would look like this:

Week 1

Monday-Chicken & Rice soup in Crockpot (plenty extra to freeze for future quick meal)
Tuesday - Mexican Lasagna
Wednesday-Orange Chicken over rice
Thursday - Sweet Italian Sausage and Vegetable Soup in crockpot
Friday - Homemade Pepperoni Pizza and salad
Saturday - leave this open as we usually are on the go
Sunday - Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, and Broccoli

Week 2

Monday-Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches w/Apple slices

Tuesday - Breakfast Casserole
Wednesday-Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
Thursday - Taco Soup in Crockpot (Froze extra)
Friday - Penne w/sausage and roasted peppers
Saturday - leave this open as we usually are on the go
Sunday - Glazed Chicken with pineapple salsa over rice

Week 3

Monday-leftover taco soup that I had froze from week before
Tuesday - Beef Enchiladas
Wednesday-Oldest picks Lasagna to help me make
Thursday - White Bean Chicken Chili in Crockpot
Friday - Homemade Canadian Bacon & Pineapple Pizza
Saturday - leave this open as we usually are on the go
Sunday - Homemade fishsticks, Rice Pilaf, and Corn

Week 4

Monday- Pick up Taco Time on way home from dance

Tuesday - Blueberry Pancakes
Wednesday-Ginger Peanut Shrimp stir fry
Thursday - Beef Stew in Crockpot
Friday - Fettucchine w/Chicken, spinach, and orange sauce
Saturday - leave this open as we usually are on the go
Sunday - Sheperds Pie

My experience with meal planning has been wonderful so far.  It is so nice to know ahead of time what the plan is for dinner and that I have all the ingredients needed.  It has really helped me manage my days better and feel more on top of things. 

Stay tuned next week as I share a delicious meal idea in the, "What's for dinner Wednesday" series!

For other meal planning inspiration check out:
Confessions of a homeschooler
Meal Planning Mommies
This Week For Dinner
I'm An Organizing Junkie

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1 comment:

  1. Menu planning makes my life sooo much easier. Whenever I get out of my planning practice, I always kick myself because I too am standing in the kitchen at 4:30 trying to figure out what to cook. I need to start planning lunches better tho because that has been getting me lately. I like leftovers, but the kids sometimes would rather have grilled cheese or something else fresh. Plus we often don't have enough leftovers to have lunch for all of us. Maybe I need to start making more food at dinner so we can have two full meals out of it?