If you have ever been on pinterest or owned a slow cooker, you have probably considered meal planning. Well, I have both been on pinterest AND own a slow cooker… so I have embarked down the meal planning rabbit hole.
Here are a few things I’ve noticed about that hole:
1. It CAN be cheaper, but isn’t always.
2. It CAN be healthy, but it isn’t always.
3. It CAN be a time saver, but it isn’t always.
Y’all, I don’t meal plan cause I’m on a strict diet or because I have a $4 budget per meal. I meal plan because I like to be prepared, I’m a solo parent, I work full time, and I LOVE TO COOK. So, here is how I do it. I start with a formula. This is what works for me, adjust accordingly depending on your family’s schedule and commitments (I use a note pad similar to this one and keep it on my fridge for the week):
Tuesday: Slow Cooker Meal (I LOVE my slow cooker! It even has a browning function!)
Thursday: Quick Easy/Eat out on the Cheap
Friday: Something NEW!
Sunday: Refrigerator Delight! (basically clean out the fridge and start fresh)
My first and biggest tip: plan on eating leftovers some nights (although, I have ONE friend ::cough cough amy cough cough:: who doesn’t LIKE leftovers… whatever, that’s just more cooking. But I love you, Amy! I promise!), and I plan on eating out one night. I realize you might not eat out, no biggie. I will say this, there is nothing MORE annoying than grocery shopping for the week then ending out one night you didn’t plan for then having extra groceries to figure out… ok, there is a lot more annoying such as political posts on facebook or people who can’t properly navigate four way stop signs. But you get my point.
I really do love incorporating as much new food as possible. I also am typically cooking for myself and a toddler, which means cooking for myself + macaroni and cheese. Whatevs.
What’s on the docket this week, you might be asking?
Monday: Red lentil curry with spinach (I would link to the recipe from pinterest but I can’t find it… will do my best to transcribe and post soon!)
Tuesday: Roasted veggies + hummus
Wednesday: ALL of the leftovers
Thursday: This will most likely NOT be an eat out night because my babysitter just had brain surgery… so it will probably be a “what veggies are going bad? Hurry slice them and put them on pizza crust” night
Friday: Turkey biscuit bake! This isn’t a NEW recipe, but I haven’t made it in ages… so it counts.
Sunday nights are spent reviewing cookbooks for ideas, typically…. Or in this instance blogging and telling you what I do while not doing it, then grocery shopping Monday afternoon before school pick up (or after if I’m feeling brave).
I realize that I have a flexible job and the luxury of taking a quick grocery trip during the day; you probably don’t have that. BUT YOU MIGHT either have a spouse to watch the kids while you grocery shop OR no kids at all! In the end, we all make it work amirite!?!?!?!?
If I’m feeling super bold, I’ll remember to take a photo of my shopping cart to share with you and do a recap of what ACTUALLY went down in the kitchen. In the meanwhile, do you meal prep? Why? Why NOT?! Do you even like to cook? What’s your go to week night meal?!