Let's face it, cooking dinner can be so frustrating when you have not planned for it and you have hungry people relying on YOU to feed them! Here is when planning your meals comes to the rescue! When you work full time and have afternoon activities, it makes it hard to feed the ones you love healthy meals.
This is how I feel about cooking. I always burn something. Whether it be cookies, bread, pizza or pot pie, it's been burnt :) I'm not a natural cook, but I really do try hard!
My mom and I usually plan our meals for up to two weeks. Yes that seems like a lot, but in the long run it is worth it.
1.) The first thing we do is look through the cabinets and freezer and see what things we have and what we can make from the food items we already have. We have an extra freezer downstairs, so it is nice buy a few extra meats that are on sale and store them in our other freezer.
My mom has always been one to keep the pantry stocked. When things are on sale such as canned goods, she buys one or two extra.
2.) Then, we start a list of meals we want to have for the next two weeks. We base this on things we already have. For example, if we have black beans and corn, we know we can make something with those and do not have to buy them. I write up to 14 different dinner ideas. I'll write up ideas I already know and then look to Pinterest or recipe sites for ideas.
Here is my list for the next two weeks:
Chicken Sliders (Crock Pot)
Pork Tenderloin (Crock Pot)
Chicken Fajitas (Crock Pot)
Roast (Crock Pot)
Taco Salad Rice Bowls
Broccoli Stuffed Shells
Turkey with all the fix ins (this was a cut of meat we bought on sale and froze, so I already had it on hand)
Hash Brown Bake
Here is our meal calendar for the next two weeks. My dad is already anxious to find out what chicken sliders are :)
3.) After we figure out what we are having, we write out a grocery list for the things we need. We do our grocery shopping at Aldi and then Walmart. You can find GREAT deals at Aldi, but sometimes they can be limited, so we always go their first and then go to Walmart for everything else :)
This is the work in progress of my list. The first thing I do is put my meals at the bottom and then start making my grocery list up on top. I don't put down the items I already have in my cabinets. This is the list we take to the store.
One thing I like to do is have crock pot meals or easy put together meals on days Emma has basketball or days I go workout after work. Most of the meals are easy to put together quickly, so even if I go to the gym, I can just prepare it and hop in the shower while it is in the oven. I write all of our meals (in pencil) on a calendar and post it on the fridge. That way the night before or the morning of we can look at it and see what we need to prepare for the next day.
The final tip I have for you is the pack your lunch before serving your meal. I always scoop out my lunch for tomorrow and put it in a pyrex. We almost always have leftovers, unless it is something like hamburgers or stuffed peppers, where we only make enough for the people eating. It saves time and you don't have to worry about packing it in the morning!
This is one of my lunch boxes. I love it because it is pretty big and I can fit two pyrex containers pretty comfortably in it. I also pack lots of snacks and a fork/spoon.
I hope this helped you when you are in a crunch to feed your family!
What are your meal planning tips?
I would love to hear them!
I would love to hear them!