- I go to the store once a week, never a specific day but usually when we are running low on milk and fruit
- Over the weekend Jon and I will go through our weekly schedules. He usually travels 1 night a week, sometimes 2, but sometimes none. I don't plan to make dinner on the nights he is gone and if he returns in the evening, he always picks up takeout for us which is a nice treat.
- We go to community group every Thursday night and have family dinner twice a month. If it is a family dinner night, I prepare my side dish/dessert/etc but if it isn't, we usually eat leftovers.
- Now that we have a baby, we like to go out for lunch rather than dinner since we try to keep a good routine for him. We usually go out to eat 1-2 times a week, mostly on the weekends but some nights when it is spontaneous.
- So if Jon is traveling 1 night, bringing home dinner 1 night, and it is a family dinner week, that leaves 4 nights I need to plan for. I won't cook every night because we love eating leftovers and that frees up time we can spend together in the evening. If I have 4 nights to plan for, I will plan 2 meals.
- I tend to stock up on meat when it goes on sale so I will check my freezer to see what meats we have on hand (chicken breast, ground turkey, Italian sausages, turkey sausage, fish). Then I head over to my Pinterest boards or blog recipe page and browse recipes that A. use the meats we have or B. Look good. I don't always have meat on hand but try to use the weekly ads from the grocery store to get the best deal. I also try to plan a side if I think of something that would go well with the main dish but often times I will just grab a couple of florets of broccoli, a pound of fresh green beans, or carrots to steam alongside dinner.
- I love trying new recipes and try not to make the same thing twice too close together. Since it's been cold lately, we've been loving having soups in the crockpot which are so easy and great for warming up leftovers!
- So once I decide on what I'm making, I go through the ingredients and cross reference what I have in my pantry. Do I have breadcrumbs? Italian seasoning? Sour cream? I also take inventory on our staples- milk, bread, eggs, cheese, cereal, yogurt, lunch meat, etc. I use the Cozi iPhone app to write down my grocery list, it has separate lists for grocery and wholesale (Costco). I organize my list by how I walk through the grocery story. I enter in the produce, walk through the meat and dairy, then hit the dry goods, followed by household/makeup/baby, and end with frozen. That way I am efficient with my time and am not running around the store with a baby.
- And it's as easy as that! If I plan on making XYZ on evening and it requires shredded chicken, I will try to prep and cook the chicken beforehand if I have a free moment during Ford's nap, etc. Last minute dinner prep happens when Jon is off of work and hangs with little man or I set him up in the highchair with a teether.
One of our recent favorites, baked chicken Parmesan
Meal planning shouldn't be daunting! It requires just a few minutes of prep and is worth the time, money, and food savings. If you have any questions about recipes, meal planning, or food prep, feel free to email me!