I have been asked several times how I meal plan. I am not sure how other meal planners plan…..But I will let you know how I meal plan and some things that we do.
So I had my family write down all of their favorite meals. Not Arby’s or Chicken Mcnuggets…..home made meals. It’s one of those Murphy’s law type things. That when you have lots of homemade meals your kids like fast food..when you eat lots of fast food your kids like home made meals? I don’t know…but my kids and DH all prefer fast food and it’s so bad for us. I think it’s because I am always shoving veggies down them.
But when I meal plan I have to have my calendar in front of me. There is no way you can predict the future as far as what will pop up. But I do know in the next month if I have any Zaycon Deliveries, I know which weeks are my Bountiful basket weeks. When I will be making my grocery store trip and if there are any activities going on. Birthdays, sports ect. There may be some days when you need to have a crock pot meal because of activities…that would be nice to know. If you have company come for a few days you may not want to serve them the kid filler meals of Hot dogs & mac & cheese. Especially the fake stuff that my family likes. I also know when all the boys will be gone for the other parent visitation and it will just be Rob,Roo & myself home. Which means we can go light without a heavy meal or a labor intensive meal that I don’t have to make as big. *wink*
So it’s nice to have that written out in front of me.
Then I take inventory of what I have in my cupboards & freezer. When I make a pot of spaghetti sauce or soup I make it HUGE …and freeze it in family size dinner portions so I can freeze it for the next’s months meal plan. It saves me later when I need a quick meal that I can just put in the crock pot.
Once I have done all of that I get my list of favorite foods out and keep in mind all of the “stock” I already have and begin making my list.
I will maybe have one week of beef dishes.
If on a saturday after I get my Bountiful basket I know I have everything I need for salad. I will maybe make taco meat. Now I will make enough taco meat for 3 meals on that night.
We will eat Taco Salads that night.
Then on a Sunday I typically make a big dinner. Let’s say baked Chicken with rice & veggies. There will hardly be any leftovers of this meal. I make just enough chicken.
Monday we will eat tacos.
Filler kid meal of Hot dogs & mac & Cheese ( again hardly any leftovers)
I will use the last of the taco meat and make smothered burritos. I take the beans, rice, taco meat and put it in a crock pot with all the veggies & salsa from the other nights ( except lettuce..no lettuce) I let it all simmer & cook together. Then put the mix in tortillas with cheese wrap them up and put them in a greased pan …then I top with enchilada sauce & cheese. Bake until warm & bubbly.
So each night they get a warm hot meal without feeling like it’s leftovers and I break up the monotony with “filler” meals.
I can also do this with Ham
So Lets say the first night you have a ham dinner
I can turn that ham into several meals. Just to name a few. So that one Ham will become the featured meat of the week if you will.
Chef salads with ham
Scalloped potatoes & hame
Egg & ham Scramble
Throw in a few filler meals…and that Ham is good for about 3 meals in our house. I just put in filler meals in between those days.
I also do this with Roast ( pork or Beef)
We will have a regular roast one night ( usually a Sunday)
Then we will have pulled pork Tostadas ( cabbage salsa, corn tortiallas ect)
BBQ pulled pork sandwiches
Smothered Burritos ( the cabbage salsa cooks up great)
I hope this helps give you an idea of how I save money & time. I always have a home made meal for my family ….and I try to kill 2 birds with one stone. It just takes a bit of planning each month. It really only takes me about an hour to get everything set up and written out. Well worth the time & money it saves me.
Let me know if you have any tips that you use…I would love to hear.
Thanks a bunch!