As I sit down to plan my week o' meals, I thought I'd share a little on Meal Planning 101. The basics are pretty easy. I promise if you take a bit of time up front, you will save TONS of time and money in the long run.
I also think it good to KISS your meal plan. Keep It Simple Stupid or Keep it simple, stupid. I don't feel like it's SUCH a huge task when I just need to fill in the blanks. Each day is a specific type of meal day. Of course you can change it if you feel the need, but this is Plan A. Plan B will happen at some point, and that's okay. I've also tweaked this quite a bit the longer we do it. Look at what your weekly schedule is like and plan around THAT. If you have to take the kids to soccer practice and need some quick and easy, make it panni night or breakfast night. If you are going to be gone all day, use the crock pot. My current version looks like this:
Monday- Vegetarian Meal (grocery store trip during the day)
Tuesday- Fish Night (workout , park day and EZ Lesson day)
Wednesday- Crock Pot (this is mainly because our sitter comes from 3:30-5:30 and I'm usually gone. this will probably change this month)
Thursday- Pasta Dish/or Breakfast for dinner (workout/EZ Lesson/ Farmer's Market?)
Friday- *New!* Pizza Night with homemade pizza dough (Funschool)
Saturday- BBQ or try a new recipe night (workout/EZ Lesson/Farmer's Market?)
Sunday- Batch cook breakfast and dinners (still working on getting this going). Plan out next week's meals.
This seems to work for us. We want to have fish once a week and now we are adding a veg. meal once a week. We tried out the pizza dough in our bread machine and it ROCKED and super easy. Before that I have used pita bread for mini pizzas. The kids love it, but BigBoy said the homemade dough was delicious and he liked it better. Hooray!
I really need to find some great summer recipes. It just gets warmer and we want lighter food (haven't made soup or chili in weeks.) I need to have BigDaddy sustenance and Munchkin approved food that's easy and quick and healthy to boot. Salads will be key. We all like them, just need to make sure BigDaddy has enough to eat.
There are literally a ton of meal planning sites. I found this one a while ago and it was a great basic website to get me started.
Menus 4 Moms
By no means are these meal plans healthy. But it's a good start, just generate some ideas. Sometimes I would see a recipe and then google it for a different version. This site also has a ton of worksheets and print outs to get you in the right mindset of planning out meals. You can also sign up for their weekly menu via email here.
My current favorite places for ideas/recipes:
Roni's Green Lite Bites
and of course, google.
Hope that helps! Now, get on with your planning!