Every once in a while I just feel like talking about meal planning with you. After all, it IS the crux of this blog, right? Today we’re going to discuss why it’s so EASY. I’m also going to share a few strategies you might find helpful. This is a long post – SORRY! I promise there’s some good stuff in here, so keep reading!
Let me preface this post by saying, I’m a slacker at heart. Before this blog, most days you would find me around 4:30 pm each day lamenting the fact I had to cook dinner, with no idea what that dinner was going to be. For some reason I thought planning a weekly menu was annoying. Then I started this blog (if you want the story behind THAT, click here!) and everything changed.
PLANNING MEALS IS EASY! Yes, people, it is. I know many of you who visit this site do so because you ARE planners. In fact you are probably way more organized than I am. But I also know many of you out there are not planners and don’t plan weekly menus. I know what you’re thinking: “Oh, she’s just organized. I’m not like that.” If you know me at all, you’ll know that I am not an organized person. If I can do it, so can you!
WHY should you plan a weekly menu? Honestly, it makes cooking dinner so much less stressful every day. Grocery shopping is SO much easier. And you spend less money. It’s awesome. Trust me, 10 minutes of planning will save you bucket loads of grief for the rest of the week!
Okay, off the soapbox. Time to share some cool menu planning strategies. And these strategies are not mine…my strategy is pretty much sit down on Sunday, browse through the blog for ideas, randomly select meals. That’s not so helpful or interesting…Ruth and Elizabeth have much better things to share…
My good friend Ruth does the following, with an 8-week rotation of tried & true meals that she uses for each slot:
Wednesday: With Rice (Indian, Stir-fry, Red beans & rice, Pad Thai, etc)
Thursday: Try new things or Leftovers
Friday: Fast food (homemade fast food items: hamburgers, grilled cheese, pizza, baked potatoes, etc.)
Saturday: Fancy Meals (salmon, coq au vin, stuffed shells, etc.) or Eat Out
Sunday: Soup & Salad
One of Ruth’s daughter’s friends comes over regularly on Tuesdays. One day she said, “You guys eat pasta a lot!” Pretty funny…little does she know how amazing a cook Ruth is!
Elizabeth Harris wrote a post a few months back about her quest to plan meals and “reclaim” dinner. You should definitely click over to her post…she writes some great things about the importance of family dinners. Here is Elizabeth’s weekly strategy in a nutshell:
- One crock pot meal (for the busiest day of the week)
- One night for leftovers
- Tuesday nights are usually quick and easy (like breakfast for dinner) because of late meetings
- One new recipe each week
There are of course many meal planning websites out there. I’ve gotta tell you, though, I think it just boils down to making a list of things you like and are willing to cook, then developing your meal plans from there. And if you are not planning, hop to it! You’ll thank me later.
Time for all of you to share your strategies! How do you go about planning meals? What motivates you?
You may be wondering what the white trash dinner pictures are up here for? To take the pressure off those of you who think your meals aren’t FANCY enough to post each week. This is honestly what we ate on Friday for dinner. I’m not kidding when I say I love reading your menus, fancy or not! All of your ideas are super! Meal planning does not equal fancy food. Especially in my house…