Monday, January 7, 2013

Meal Planning – What Works for Me


Most people dread planning out meals for their family each week. I'm one of the weird folks that love the exercise. I thought I would share my process for planning meals and what works for me and my family as well as share with you our meal plan for this week and going forward in the weeks to come. Hopefully this can help benefit someone else who dreads the meal planning process. Let me start by saying, I understand what works for me won't be the case of everyone, but hopefully my meal planning can at least provide suggestions for you each week!

I plan on cooking at least four meals per week, with one of those meals being a “pantry” meal. Four meals may not sound like enough, but here is my reasoning. First, if I cook for just my husband and me, I always make more than enough so we have leftovers, which takes care of at least one additional dinner if not two. Second, we often share meals with my husband’s family, so I don’t always cook every night. Third, we like take-out on occasion and don’t mind having it as a back-up plan if we run out of food.

The “pantry” meal is just as it sounds, a dish that is made with mostly pantry ingredients. This meal is saved as the last meal of the week. I hate wasting food, especially fresh produce, so if I don’t make it through all four meals each week, the “pantry” meal prevents food waste from happening.

When looking for meal options, I keep a notebook filled with all of our family favorite meals. The meals are categorized by the type of meat used in the dish. This helps me remember all of our options. I am constantly updating the notebook with new meals that we tried and loved. I’m a big believer in variety, so I almost never make the same meal in a month, unless of course we absolutely love it. Other sources of inspiration for new recipes come from Pinterest, food blogs, and my own collection of cookbooks.

This is just a sneak peek at my meal planning for each week. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.

Here is what's on the menu this week:


Oven-Fried Chicken with twice baked Sweet Potatoes



Pork Chops in a Sweet Chili and Onion Sauce with a Creamy Cilantro Potato Salad – recipe coming soon

Slow Cooker Tex-Mex Chicken Stew served with white rice – recipe coming soon


Pantry meal: Sweet and Sour Chicken


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