Coffee and Things

A mom with a cup of Joe, hoping to help you as I go….

Hello and happy Sunday evening!!

Sunday is usually the day that I sit down and plan out my dinner menu for the week. In keeping it simple, I try to do the same theme but not necessarily the same dishes all the time. I have learned in my 18 years of being a Mom that 1) less is more and 2) keep it simple. Trying fancy, long listed recipes is more of a headache that it is worth, because all gets lost on my kiddos. I spend all this time in the kitchen trying new recipes that sure, I or my husband might like, but 8 times out of 10 my kids don’t eat it or like it. It’s not the recipes that matter, but that we sit together and eat healthy foods together and build those relationships. So, years ago I decided that we will keep things simple and maybe try out a new recipe here and there and do it together! So here is how I plan my weekly menus:

Meatless/Marinara Monday – meaning I will do a meatless meal or an Italian inspired meal. I like to incorporate meatless Monday because I have a family of six and stretching out our meat consumption is necessary both from a health perspecitve and a monetary perespective. Meat is just plain expensive!!! Here are some examples of kid friendly meatless meals but I am sure you could do a pinterest search that is catered to your liking! Meatless ideas: cheese ravioli with spaghetti sauce and salad on the side, baked potato bar, or how bout good ole’ grilled cheese and fruit salad! Marinara Monday ideas is where the sky is the limit! Good ole spaghetti with meat sauce or my family favorite from thisgrandmaisfun is sure to be a winner!

Taco Tuesday – and it doesn’t have to be tacos EVERY.SINGLE Tuesday! That will get old quite fast…I know! We did it for a while. The good news is, I switched it to Mexican or Spanished inspired recipes. Tacos, lettuce wraps, enchiladas, fajitas (you can do make ahead crockpot fajitas) quesadillas, tortilla soup. Throw chicken breast in the crockpot with your fave salsa or canned tomatoes/taco seasoning on top and voila! Chicken tacos by dinnertime! (just don’t over cook it – seriously only 3-4 hours tops on high in the crock, otherwise it will get dried out)

Waffle Wednesday – Breakfast for the win! Waffles, Pancakes and bacon/turkey bacon/sausage, biscuits and gravy, eggs and toast, egg bake, oatmeal bakes, homemade breakfast pizza (which is a HUGE winner at our house) etc….the point is to make your favorite breakfast foods! And I always serve fruit on the side this day!

Take a break Thursday – I love this day! LOL Leftovers or fend for yourself. It’s okay to not cook every.loving night! Cereal, sandwiches, whatever. Give yourself a break to recharge…unless you really want to cook a meal! If budget allows – get some take out and have a picnic.

Fun Friday – we love this night because we will either grill out or have pizza night! We will either make our own pizzas, do frozen and doctor them up a bit OR get takeout pizza. We also love doing homemade french bread pizzas. Those are so delicious!!!

Souper Sandwich Saturday and Sunday – I don’t know about you, but our weekends are pretty precious around here. So during the cold months, I reserve these days for crockpot soups and easy sandwiches. Once in a while I will do a big Sunday dinner (like chicken and potatoes or one pan chicken or a roast in the crock) but more often than not, we do sandwiches and I will make a couple of soups for the weekend. I will make big enough batches to have some leftovers for lunches for the upcoming week, too. Some of our faves are cheeseburger soup, chili, chicken noodle soups/dumplings, copy cat Olive Garden Pasta Fajiole. Good old hearty, filling soups! Summer months have us feeling like BLT’s, panini sandwiches, crispy or grilled chicken sandwiches and pasta salads!

The whole premise is keeping it simple and with things that you know your family will eat! And also, lowering your grocery budget, which also equals less waste. Once or twice a year we do a big Chinese spread, complete with homemade cream cheese wontons. And as delicious as they all end up, it’s a lot of work to make a big chinese meal, so that is why we only do it a couple times a year! Hours to make, minutes to eat and hours to clean up. LOL

What are some of your favorite dinner ideas? Because believe it or not, even with this “plan” I sometimes get in a rut too! I hope you have had a great Sunday!

Blessings, Tanya <3

6 thoughts on “Easy Meal Planning

  1. Thank you for making my meal planning so much easier this week. We already do taco Tuesday and leftovers on another day. Friday is typically take out to support a local restaurant. I’m going to give Marinara Monday a try.

    1. I love the idea of supporting local businesses! Especially with what’s been going on in the world lately! I think this Friday we will do our take out to support local as well! <3

  2. Love breakfast for dinner! Pancakes, waffles with yogurt & fruit (or better yet homemade raspberry rhubarb sauce), and my husbands favorite – biscuits & sausage gravy!

    Oh no, know I’m hungry!

    1. mmmm.raspberry rhubarb! My mom and grandmother both make strawberry rhubarb jam. I love it! I like homemade strawberry jam but it often is too sweet for me, so the rhubarb tends to balance it out a bit and I love it!

  3. The idea of planned menus is so important for your family, your food lifestyle, and your budget. I follow keto – Whole foods lifestyle and encourage my tribe to find the simple recipes that your family will enjoy and stay with those most of the time. Of course, being a chef I do tend to explore and make new dishes all the time but meal planning is a big part of that as well. I also include wild-caught fish on the menu a couple of times a week. Your advice is very good and everyone can use the idea to help them prepare for the week ahead. At this time in the world, by planning ahead they can limit their trips to the grocery stores/farmers markets and that is a good thing.

    1. yes absolutely! I really try to include fresh ingredients,fruits/veggies healthy grains, etc..I think the key, like you said, is that no matter what eating plan you follow: keto, whole foods, vegan, etc…that using a framework similar to this really helps! We love to eat wild caught fish but I am so hesitant to make it often, because I am afraid of undercooking it/overcooking it – basically ruining it. haha!

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