Every week I sit down at my kitchen table and with the best of intentions I write out a weekly meal plan. I've never delved deep into learning how to make a meal plan or the best way to do it, all I know is that if I write down six or seven meals for the week that use similar ingredients and double check what I will need against what's in my pantry, the chances of food going to waste or debating what to make for dinner drop dramatically. It's also a good way to use up what I have a lot of and keep dinners from becoming boring and repetitive (spaghetti again?)
Ever since my second baby came a long dinners have become far more simple. I'd rather make sure I get it done and on the table in a decent amount of time than be able to brag that I feed my family from scratch, three course meals every night. I'll always have two or three "pinch hitter" meals on my list. Things I can throw together quickly if time gets away from me or if life is in a general uproar. I usually make at least one dish that can be doubled and freeze half or that can be eaten the next night as leftovers. I haven't been adding many new dishes to our rotation simply for lack of time but every once in awhile something will catch my eye and I'll add it in. Just as an example, here's my meal plan list from last week. (I add in fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables with each meal as well.)
Meal #1 Breakfast for dinner. (This one's always easy and becoming a tradition on Sunday nights.)
Meal #2 - Double batch of spaghetti sauce. (Spaghetti sauce is so easy to make yourself when you have a few simple ingredients.) Freeze half for later.
Meal #3 - Roast chicken breast over vegetables. (double the chicken)
Meal #4 - Leftover chicken over rice.
Meal #5 - Tacos.
Meal #6 - Use random leftovers from taco night to make nachos.
Meal #7 - Bean soup in the crock pot.
Pinch meal #1 - Frozen pizza
Pinch meal #2 - Frozen ravioli with some of the frozen spaghetti sauce.
We're still doing things pretty simple here. What's most important is that we all make time to sit down and eat together.
How do you meal plan?