Meal planning seems to be a universal struggle. We all have to face the dreaded "what's for dinner?" question on a regular basis. That one little question - those three simple words - can be the source of a whole lot of stress for a lot of people. (And I am certainly no exception.)
What should I make for dinner? What ingredients to I need? Am I going to have to run to the grocery store? How am I going to find the time to fix this meal? If I make this, is my family going to eat it? Any of that sound familiar? We all struggle with those same questions.
Everyone handles their meal planning differently. I wish that there was one easy solution for perfect menu planning but unfortunately, what works for one person is probably not going to work for another. Even though I don't have a secret formula for menu planning I can share with you the way that I go about planning the meals that I feed my family each week.
I don't want to deceive you into thinking that menu planning is easy or that it happens automatically. There is an initial time commitment to menu planning but trust me when I tell you - if you take the time to plan well, it will save you LOTS of time in the long run. I normally spend about 30 minutes each week looking over our calendar for the week and trying and figure out what meals are going to work best. I have a weekly schedule of meals that I like to start with and then I go from there.
Monday: Meatless Monday (Usually Fish)
Wednesday: Salad, Soup or Sandwiches
Thursday: Beef or Pork
Friday: Pasta or Pizza
Saturday: Something Grilled
Sunday: Breakfast for dinner night
It rarely ever works out quite that perfectly because there are all kinds of things that get in the way of my dinner plans. Soccer games, practices, weekend trips, dinner time meetings, unexpected catering orders, etc. Let's face it -we're all busy and sometimes we just don't have the time to prepare a fancy meal - or any meal for that matter.
I do my best to cook for more than one meal at a time so that when those dinner interruptions occur, I have something quick that I can serve my family in spite of those obstacles. But inevitably there are those nights when I find myself running out to pick up dinner at 8:00 at night because we're just getting home from a soccer game and everyone is starving and I don't have anything on hand that I could feed my family. (It happens to the best of us my friends. You're not alone.)
So with all of that being said - I can't help but think that there are people out there who need some practical menu planning tips. And by practical I mean, actual menus from real people, living real (busy) lives. So with that in mind, I've decided to publishing my own personal dinner menu AND coordinating grocery list on my blog for the next few weeks.
I have to admit that I feel surprisingly vulnerable by exposing my menus to the world. (Yes, I AM just that awkwardly introverted that even publishing my menu makes me feel exposed and uncomfortable.) I just cant ignore this nagging feeling that I've had lately that there are followers out there who could really benefit from having some really practical menu planning advice.
So without further ado, this is my menu and coordinating grocery list for our week.
Monday: Broiled Salmon with Lemon (A new recipe from Cooking Light that I was supposed to make last week but never got to. It happens.)
Tuesday: Fundraiser Night for Leukemia/Lymphoma Society at Moes (If you happen to live in the Monroe, GA area, stop by Moes between 4:30 and 7:30 to help us raise money for Team Callie.)
Wednesday: Chicken Poblano Tortilla Soup (Hoping the weather cooperates so we're not eating soup in 95 degree weather.) I am using up some leftover roasted chicken that I have for this recipe too.
Thursday: Steak Quesadillas (Dinner will probably be eaten in the car this night so it's something super easy to pack and eat on the run.)
Friday through Sunday: We are doing something special for our 23d wedding anniversary so I'm taking a break from cooking for a few days. (Even I need a break every once in a while.)
Flank Steak Salsa
Chicken (Leftovers) Soy Sauce
Salmon Olive Oil
Poblano Pepper Chicken Broth
Lemon 14.5 ounce can Diced Tomatoes
Onion Whole Wheat Tortillas
Carrots Tortilla Chips
Cilantro Onion Powder
Avocado Refried Beans
Garlic Colby Jack Cheese
I'd like to say that this is going to be an unusually busy week but to be honest - every week on our calendar looks a lot like this. (I wouldn't trade it for anything though.)
Now I am turning this decision over to you, my faithful blog followers (and those of you who stumbled upon my blog by accident), of whether or not to continue this menu publishing adventure. I need your input. Did you find my menus useful, helpful or even the least bit interesting to read? Leave me a comment and let me know.
By the way, if you want to get my weekly menus and grocery lists emailed to you - sign up in the subscribe box in the upper right corner of the blog. It might just be the most useful email that you get all week. :)
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