Over dessert at a “Mom’s Night In” a couple weeks ago, some friends and I were talking about “mom stuff”, so cooking inevitably came up in the conversation. A lot of my generation doesn’t cook much in general, I get it. It’s a sign of the times, so to speak. But I know there are still some of you who want to cook more for your families, so I thought I’d share with you a little about how I meal plan and what it really looks like on paper. Some of y’all will probably think I’m crazy organized, and others will think I’m not organized enough.
Let me preface this a little. I do not cook every night. I do not cook gourmet food every time I cook, despite what my Instagram account may lead you to believe. ;) I love pretty food. I hate fish and pretty much all seafood except for shrimp, so you’ll never see anything like that on a meal plan of mine. Crazy, I know, for someone who spent more time living in Alaska than anywhere else! My hubby loves all types of fish and seafood, so when we go out to eat, that’s his only chance of eating seafood, unless he cooks it. We eat leftovers, it’s a fact. We don’t mind it and it saves time, money, and reduces wasting recipes that make too much for a family of 3 to eat in one sitting.
My favorite part of the day is when our little family gets around the table at dinner and spends some time to re-group, no matter how awful or awesome our days have been. I grew up in a family who always had dinner together, around a table, and it’s just GOOD for the soul. It’s GOOD for a family. Do it more often, you’ll be so glad you did. And if sharing my meal plans with you will help your family in that department, I’ll be thankful! My goal is to make our home a haven for everyone who enters! I want to make it look pretty, but I want it to be the peaceful place my family wants to come home to. And I want to make them WANT to come to the table (even if it’s only for tasty food in the teenage years!).
I’m super simple, I scribble about 16 main dish recipes (4 per week and sometimes I go in order when cooking, sometimes I don’t) onto a note pad, then organize it into a more legible list that makes better sense, so we don’t have only chicken one week, and only beef the next. I admit, I have a ton of great cookbooks, but I stick with the Internet for meal planning nearly 100% of the time. It’s fast. And all you busy mamas understand.
My husband is gluten-free, so I tweak some of these to fit his dietary needs. I watch my carbs in the evening, so sometimes I’ll skip the noodles or starch in some of the recipes, but I don’t mind. That’s the beauty of meal planning, you can tweak things as you go or all at once. Make it work for you. You can go grocery shopping for all your non-perishables for the month (really make that Costco membership worthwhile!). You typically eat healthier at home than eating out constantly. And the main thing…you don’t have a panic attack at 4:30 PM every afternoon wondering what in the world you’re going to give to your family to eat!
I have links to most of these recipes, but if they’re my own or a family recipe, I’ll try to share it in another post as the weeks goes on. I also make side dishes for most of these, or for Chile Verde, we’ll actually have as tacos or something. My meal plan is kind of a stepping stone, but it takes out the most difficult part…coming up with something to cook every night!
Okay, so here it is! Enjoy!
October Meal Plan
Chicken Piccata – http://merveilleuxsansgluten.wordpress.com/2011/08/23/chicken-piccata/
Ranch Pork Chops in Crockpot – http://www.livinglaughingandloving.com/2012/01/crockpot-ranch-pork-chops-finger-licking-good.html
Beef Stew with Mushrooms – http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2009/11/beef-stew-with-mushrooms/
Orange Chicken – http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2014/09/orange-chicken/
Smothered Steak – Daddy’s Recipe
Chicken Noodle Soup – http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/01/homemade-chicken-and-noodles/
Hawaiian Pulled Pork – http://www.notsodesperatehousewife.com/2013/03/03/3-ingredient-hawaiian-pulled-pork/
Spinach Sausage Frittata – http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/spinach-sausage-frittata-10000001875496/
Chile Verde Pork in Crockpot – http://mjandco-quilting.blogspot.com/2012/04/easy-chile-verde-in-crockpot.html
Black Bean Pumpkin Soup – Nathan’s Recipe
Chicken Stuffed with Apples, Cheddar & Thyme – https://motifbrophy.wordpress.com/2011/03/12/chicken-stuffed-with-apples-cheddar-fresh-thyme/
Spaghetti – Mom’s Recipe
Corn Chowder – http://www.pauladeen.com/chef-jacks-corn-chowder
Savory Cinnamon Chicken – http://www.lifewith4boys.com/2013/01/paleo-savory-cinnamon-slow-cooker.html
Tamale Pie – Daddy’s Recipe (Halloween night tradition…eating it in between giving candy to trick-or-treaters)