Saturday, January 10, 2009

Meal Planning

Ever get tired of having the same dozen meals over and over again??

I recently sat down and made a list of all our family's favorite meals (or at least the ones a majority of us like).

Then I divided that list into categories such as Pasta, Sunday Dinners, Soups, Mexican, etc. Then I took a six-week grid and filled in the blanks. For us, for instance, Mondays are chicken, Tuesdays are beef, Thursdays are soup night, Fridays we have Mexican, and Saturdays are pasta (the kids' favorite). Sundays are "Sunday Dinner" items like roast, lasagna, and spaghetti & meatballs.

Wednesdays we leave open for one of three things to happen: 1) a "Leftovers Buffet;" 2) something new; or 3) Breakfast for Dinner (pancakes, waffles, french toast, etc). Hubby takes the leftovers to work for lunches, so I'm thinking that most of the time we'll probably be either making something new or keeping it simple and having BFD.

Some "days" on my six week meal planner are a choice of one item or another for a couple of different reasons. Either the two items are very similar (lasagna or chicken alfredo lasagna) or they are two items that no one is super-excited about, so I'd rather only make them once every twelve weeks instead of six. The first time I go through the planner I make the first item. The second time, I make the second item. Does that make sense?

I also took my recipes and copied them into a word document in the order I'll be using them (because they're already typed up). I stapled the calendar to the front, and the recipes behind it. I threw the whole thing into a drawer. Before I go to the store each week, all I have to do is pull that out, turn to the right week's worth of recipes, and make my list from the ingredients. How simple is that?? And I am in no way a "fancy" cook, so please don't go thinking I'm spending tons of time in the kitchen each week. :)

To get you started, here is a list of some of the meals we'll be enjoying once every six weeks (that's only twice in three months - talk about variety!):
  • BBQ chicken sandwiches
  • potato soup
  • chicken enchiladas
  • parmesan chicken
  • pizza pockets
  • vegetable soup
  • chicken pot pie
  • tacos
  • spaghetti & meatballs
  • chicken a la king
  • chili & cornbread
  • ravioli
  • french dip sandwiches
  • taco soup
  • chicken cacciatorre
What are your family's favorite meals? Let's share ideas! :)


  1. one of my faves is chicken fajitas... we use red and yellow and orange peppers so it is more sweet... then just toss in a packet of fajita seasoning and water.
    Add some sour cream and cheese and yum!