Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Meal Planning 101 - Part 2

Find my Meal Planning 101 - Part 1 HERE where I set you up with a Meal Planning Binder and get you a nice organized menu!

For part 2 of my Meal Planning series I'd like to show you how I map out each dinnertime meal throughout the week.  It's nothing fancy (like everything I do) but it sure makes deciding what to eat for dinner when, easier.  Here we go:

Mondays:  Meatless
Tuesdays: Chicken or fish
Wednesdays: Meatless
Thursdays: Beef or Pork
Fridays: Pizza or out-to-dinner
Saturdays: Leftovers
Sundays: Whatever-I-Feel-Like-Night

If you haven't figured out already, I DO NOT cook on the weekends.  I've said it before and I'll say it again...I really try hard to make my stay-at-home job like an 8 to 5, M-F job.  So in regards to food, I don't do serious cooking on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.  So let's start with the beginning of the work week:


I've tried implementing more meatless meals into my family's diet.  Not only are they healthy, but they are super cheap and actually REALLY simple to prepare.  After junking out all weekend, it's actually a nice change to eat a hearty, healthy and meatless meal.  For me the hardest part about the meatless meal is simply finding recipes my family and I like.  Meatless isn't how I was raised so I have no recipes handed down to me.  So a lot of new recipes are revealed on this night - sometimes much to my kids' dismay but it's good for them!  Pinterest has been amazing help in this category, along with Green Smoothie Girl's 12-Steps to Whole Foods (find more information HERE).  Find my meatless collection of recipes HERE (pictured above is Pink Hummus Quesadillas - yum!).  One day I'll get some amazing pictures taken of them all, but until then...

Once you've taken a look at those recipes, you'll notice that most of them are incorporated with beans.  Beans are a wonderful source of protein when you are omitting meat.  They are also cheap, and again, easy to prepare!  Some of my favorite recipes are Refried Bean Burritoes,  Honey Baked Lentils, Black Bean and Quinoa Veggie Burgers, Hummus Quesadillas, and Lentil Tacos to name a few.

I've also discovered quinoa since venturing into the meatless meal thing.  We call them "dots" at our house and that seems to get the kids interested enough to try them.  My favorite quinoa dish is Broccoli Cashew Quinoa.


Tuesday I switch between chicken and fish (pictured above are my Chicken Rolls found HERE).  I definitely have more chicken recipes than fish but I like fish just as much.  My husband fishes in Alaska every summer for a week {sigh} but an upside to that trip is the years' worth of halibut and salmon that we freeze.  If you don't have a fishing husband {then lucky you!}, the freezer section at Costco has a great selection of fish that I would actually prefer than having my husband gone for 10 days every summer - but I don't have a choice in that matter.  You can find my chicken recipes HERE and my fish recipes HERE.

Wednesdays are usually a meatless pasta dish of some sort.  It's pretty easy to take a pasta dish and omit the meat.  Find my pasta recipes HERE.  Some of them do contain meat - sometimes I omit it and sometimes I don't - just sayin'.


Thursdays, like Tuesdays, I rotate between beef and pork.  Like chicken, I have lots more beef recipes than pork but I still do both for variety.  My beef recipes are HERE and my pork recipes are HERE.  Pictured above is my Ham & Bean Soup recipe found HERE.

I LIVE for Fridays!!  TGIF is an understatement!  Friday's is 99.9% of the time pizza: whether it be Papa Murphy's (our favorite is their Chicken, Bacon and Artichoke on the original crust, by the way), or Costco's frozen cheese or pepperoni (which I always have stocked at home), Costco's take-n-bake, or even their carry-out (can you tell by now that I like, no, LOVE Costco?).  We switch up the types of pizza but it's almost always pizza unless the hubby and I have a date (which, I'll be honest is rare...too rare).  I look forward to Friday night pizza probably more than the kids.  After cooking all week, it's a welcome change!  We've been doing this for over 5 years and none of us have ever tired of it.  But maybe that's not normal?

Saturday is clean-out-the-refrigerator night.  All the leftovers from the week get put on the counter and warmed in the microwave.  It's a big shmorgashborg of food and everyone can pick whatever.  Anything not eaten is disgarded as it usually won't be touched again.

Then Sunday is whatever-I'm-feeling-that-day.  Sometimes I feel like a big Sunday crock-pot roast with the fixings, sometimes it's comfort food (think ham and cheese potatoes!), sometimes it's French toast because I don't feel like cooking, occasionally we have family get-to-gethers going on and I just have to bring a salad (hooray!!) or sometimes the husband is in charge - just because!

Each main dish that I rotate is almost always served with a steamed green vegetable and a green salad.  I also factor in side dishes as they are appropiate with the meal.  You can see some of my side dishes HERE and my salads HERE.

The great thing about having a rotation is you can work around your family's schedule.  Maybe Tuesdays are full of extra-curricular can make that your "eatout" night.  Maybe Sundays you want to stay home, cook a nice meal and plan Sunday leftovers throughout the week! Pick a rotation that works best for your family and I promise, it will make meal planning much more simple!

Now that you've organized your menu, decided on your next 7 meals, I'll show you how to remember what you've chosen in step 3...coming soon!

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