I’ve been menu planning for years and years… some of those you can find here on the archives of the blog – (Menu Plan Monday) and some are written down on index cards stashed in my desk and on various pages of my planners from over the years. But I have always found that menu planning saves me in so many ways – it saves my sanity, it saves money, it saves food (waste) and time. It’s a win-win for my family.
When the girls were little it helped me to get a grip on what nights I had time to cook something more involved and what nights were “grab and go” kind of nights due to dance and other extracurricular activities. It still works that way now, even though the girls are practically grown – especially now, actually – because we ALL have busy schedules these days. SuperMan teaches two nights a week, I have a class one night a week, one girl is working, one girl has theater activities several nights a week, both girls babysit, the list goes on and on.
So meal planning helps me because I can plan what I cook around who is doing what on what nights – for example, on the nights I have class I try to do something quick and easy I can either put in the crock pot, Instant Pot or prepare ahead of time. On the nights SuperMan is gone, the girls and I usually opt for something really quick and easy like breakfast for dinner or reinventing leftovers (or even take out). That usually leaves us 4 nights out of 7 that we can potentially have family meals – and one of those is usually an eat out night (Friday, usually).
Lately, thanks to Big Girl’s job, we have been taking advantage of meals from Dream Dinners. I used to use them years and years ago, when the girls were tiny, and we are loving the convenience, variety, and ease that their meals offer. It also helps me with meal planning because they’re prepped and ready to go – waiting in the freezer for us to grab, cook, and enjoy.
This month we added a few extra meals to our rotation since I am still recovering from foot surgery. SuperMan and the girls can very easily cook these dinners – some are just heat and eat, even – and we have healthy, tasty dinners on the table in minutes.
I’m really thankful for the extra ease that Dream Dinners has afforded our family, especially in this busy season. And I’m loving the variety we have available through our meals from there. I’m not stuck rotating the same meals over and over because I can’t think of anything else to cook. I’ve also found the girls are more adventurous with these dinners – they’re willing to try new things they might not have tried before if Mama came up with it on her own!Here’s our plan this week-
- Monday – takeout (we are running errands)
- Tuesday – Taco Tuesday (using leftovers from the delicious fajitas SuperMan made Saturday. We will have fajita taco salads, I think)
- Wednesday – OYO (On Your Own) only Little Bit and I will be home so we will probably eat leftovers or something simple like soup
- Thursday – Mini Meatloaves (Dream Dinners)
- Friday – eat out (probably our usual Friday Night Mexican)
- Saturday – date night?
- Sunday – Grilled Chicken with Honey Butter (Dream Dinners)
Do you meal plan? If you do, how do you approach your meal planning? Do you prep ahead, or make as you go?
If you don’t meal plan, why? Does it seem like too much work?