I know a lot of moms that are way into meal planning—like, they have Binders dedicated to meal-planning. And honestly, I think that is awesome—if you love it, go for it! I’ve never personally been passionate about cooking, though, since having kids, I do cook more from scratch than from not (I do cheat with some mixes now and then, depending on how recently I’ve had a baby). My priorities with recipes are: how healthy the recipe is, how delicious, how quick I can make it (in that order).
I do a variation on meal-planning where I dedicate each day to a different type of food (see chart below). This is just what my family happens to like, you might find there’s some other exciting category that works better for your family.
Variations: stir fry, pad thai, sesame chicken, fried rice, etc.
Variations: tacos, burritos, taco salad, taco soup, Mexican pizza, fajitas, etc.
Variations: calzones, various toppings (we like bbq pizza and Hawaiian pizza). There are homemade crust mixes that are pretty good, but also easy premade crusts you can buy.
|Thursday||Homemade Soup or Salad
During the winter, we have soup, during summer we have salad. There are lots of good soup mixes if you don’t have time to make something from scratch.
Variations: tilapia, salmon, sometimes various other seafood like shrimp. Usually I pair it with some veggies.
This is very broad—sometimes I make baked chicken, fried chicken, seasoned chicken, etc. paired with veggies.
Variations: ravioli, spaghetti, tricolor rotini, etc. a really great easy after-church meal.
For lunches, we eat leftovers, sandwiches, and salads, to keep things simple!
What I’ve liked about this meal planning is that if I don’t have a lot of time, I can resort to old stand-bys for each day (Chinese Monday: stir-fry, Mexican Tuesday: tacos, etc) but when I’m feeling adventurous, I can slip in new recipes that fit in the different categories. The categories are broad enough that I can play around with them (like Chicken Saturday—that’s pretty much wide-open!), but specific enough that I can text my husband to start cooking lunch if I’m running late, and he’ll know what we’re having.
So really this way of “meal planning” takes the planning out of it entirely—which leaves time for you to think about other things, like that poem you’ve been meaning to write.
What are some ways that you save time in the kitchen, when your schedule is hectic?