If you’d like to skip to the menu, just scroll to the bottom of the page. If you’d like to read about the process of making this plan, just keep on reading. Either way, thanks for stopping by 🙂
Back to school. Back to the busy-ness and chaos. Extra curriculars (one of which we drive an hour each way to attend every week…) Fall festivals right around the corner…life is hectic!
And then, my family has the audacity to want to eat! Food! Ugh!
I’ve never been good at meal planning. I know. It should be simple. Pick a meat or main dish, pick a vegetable, pick a starch, and there you go. But alas. I normally don’t even like to think about food unless I’m starving. And then, I’m a moody eater which means that I have to be in the mood for something in particular before I’ll actually want to choose it, take the time and effort to prepare it, and eat it. Then there’s the chopping (ie, torture. Chopping. So. Boring.) And the thawing of food if it’s been in the freezer. (Thawing raw chicken in the microwave…gross!) Needless to say, I think I can see why meal planning has proven to be such a challenge to me.
I’ve tried a few things over the years to help lessen this bane of my existence. I tried signing up for pay services that did all the meal planning for you. All you had to do was take the shopping list, buy the groceries, bring them home and cook them. That didn’t work for numerous reasons: I couldn’t find many of the exotic ingredients in our small-town grocery store, life got in the way so that we didn’t cook every meal which meant we were wasting a lot of food, we didn’t like everything that was on the menus, and I just don’t enjoy cooking and some of those recipes were more than I wanted to do. I tried making a one month menu plan of my own, but that didn’t work because there wasn’t enough of a variety in the rotation and we quickly got burned out on eating the same things so often. But I knew that this year I was going to need a plan in place to help me take care of my family when things got too busy for me to think (or not) about that age-old question: What’s for dinner?
That’s when someone mentioned, why not make a 3 month menu plan?
So that’s what I did. It took some work, but with the help of Pinterest and my best friend, we did it! Here’s how.
First, I sat down with 3 completely blank calendar pages like you’d find for free at DonnaYoung.org. I filled in any days that I knew I wouldn’t have to actually have a plan for, like Friday. That’s always date night for us, so I don’t have to cook. Saturday is leftovers and fend for yourself day, and Sunday we usually go out with family after church or the P will take his turn cooking. (He likes to cook more than I do and is more willing to do something messy…I mean elaborate. 😀 ) So that left me needing to fill in only 4 days a week, for 12 weeks (a total of 36 meal ideas).
I then thought about our weekly schedule. Which nights do we have commitments that would cause us to have to get food in a hurry, and which nights could we relax a bit on? After thinking about that, I could label the general categories that I’d then go back and fill in when I had all of the menu ideas and recipes ready. My categories: 1) crock pot meals, 2) left-overs or…, 3) casseroles, bakes, or one pot meals, and 4) pasta & misc. (Btw, if it ain’t quick and/or simple, it ain’t gonna be on my list…)
All that was left to do was to fill in the recipes under the appropriate night in a way that wouldn’t have us eating too many similar things each week. Here’s how it turned out.
Monday Chili & Grilled Cheese
Tuesday Leftovers or Hot Dogs
Wednesday Honey baked Chicken Tenders, Mashed Potatoes, and Veggies
Thursday Alfredo Pasta & Veggies
Monday Chicken Noodle Soup & Rolls
Tuesday Leftovers or Eggs, toast, & fruit
Wednesday Tater Tot Casserole, Veggies
Thursday Spaghetti, Garlic Bread, Salad
Monday Hot Roast Beef Sandwich, Mashed Potatoes & gravy, Veggies
Tuesday Pigs in a blanket, Baked beans, Veggies
Wednesday Chicken Strip Salad
Thursday Lemon Chicken Pasta
Monday Crock Pot Apples & Pork Chops, Mashed potatoes, Veggies
Tuesday Leftovers or Subs
Wednesday Bar-b-cue chicken, Corn on the Cob, Mashed Potatoes
Thursday Taco salad
Monday Slow cooker chicken & gravy, rice, & veggies
Tuesday Leftovers or Fish & Chips
Wednesday The World’s Best Chicken
Thursday Baked Penne Rigate, Salad, Garlic bread
Monday Vegetable Soup, Rolls
Tuesday Leftovers or Ham
Wednesday Crock pot fried rice & baked teriyaki chicken
Thursday Hamburger Casserole
Monday Beans & Corn bread
Tuesday Leftovers or Pizza & salad
Wednesday Soft shell chicken tacos
Thursday Parmesan garlic noodles & salad or veggies
Monday Creamy potatoes & chicken
Tuesday Leftovers or French toast & fruit
Wednesday Boneless Pork Chops
Thursday Sloppy Joes
Monday Pot Roast & Rolls
Tuesday Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese
Wednesday Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli, & Rice Casserole
Thursday Chicken Wraps
Monday Broccoli & Cheddar Soup
Tuesday Crab Cakes
Wednesday Chicken & Mushroom Soup, Rice, & Veggies
Thursday Rigatoni, Salad, & Garlic Bread
Monday Pork & Sauerkraut, rolls
Tuesday Homemade wedgies
Wednesday Potato Soup
Thursday Fantastic Taco Casserole
Monday Crockpot Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti
Wednesday Potatoes, Chicken, & Green Beans
Thursday Sausage, Egg, & Biscuit Casserole
And that’s it! I hope this is helpful to someone else out there who might have difficulty in the meal planning area of life. So far this has worked very well for us, and I am beyond thankful that I no longer have to struggle each day to figure out what to fix for dinner. It has definitely made life around here much more of the happily ever after we’re striving for 🙂