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easy peasy meal planning

lunch

i don't know about most of you, but this is a truer-than-true statement for me. i'm the kinda gal that likes to discuss what we are having for lunch right about the time we are taking the last few bites of breakfast. am i alone?

you could also say i'm kiiiiiind of a planner. (insert sarcasm here). i love to plan everything and anything. vacations. parties. youth functions. days. hours. minutes. meals.

meal planning is great because it gives me peace of mind concerning things like what my next meal will be, how much work it will take to get it on the table, and how much to budget for it. if the rest of my day is totally crazy and i get absolutely nothing done that i had planned, having a meal plan reminds me that one thing will always go according to plan.

i have tried a few different ways, lengths of time, methods, rotations, etc. and i have finally found one that is EASY and works well for me. here's to hoping it works well for you too!

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{psst - if you pin this post please use this image}

here is the general layout:

each week we have one protein.
each day has a specific theme.

so let's say we are talking week one of the month. our protein will be chicken.

on monday, i throw a bag of frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot with some carrots and frozen chopped onions, a little salt and pepper, and a splash of chicken broth. set it on low for the entire day. when i get home - all of my protein is done for the entire week. i use my kitchen aid mixer to shred the chicken and put it in a big glass bowl with a lid.

the hardest part of my meal for each night is essentially D O N E. all i have to do is throw a few more ingredients together for the meal and add a quick side and voila! dinner!

now i realize that having chicken every night for a week probably sounds lame and boring. here is where the themed nights come in!

monday - american - broccoli chicken and rice
tuesday - italian - three cheese chicken alfredo bake
wednesday - mexican - chicken enchiladas with red sauce
thursday - leftovers
friday - breakfast (for this specific week it is just pancakes and bacon)
saturday - chinese - spicy noodles with chicken and thai peanut sauce
sunday - leftovers for lunch + we have dinner with the youth at church

because it is just the two of us, i can usually split meals in two and freeze half of them for later and still have PLENTY left for lunches and leftover dinners. if you are feeding a small army you will obviously have to adjust portions, etc.

as far as where i get, keep, store and organize my meals - you can thank the pinterest gods for that. i have a meal planning board for each month and when i find a recipe i like i just pin it to that board. i go back later and add the recipe to the coordinating night/week on my calendar.

so that is my brilliant, easy, and simple meal plan. i have been doing it for about four weeks now and i can honestly say i love it. and chris hasn't been bored once with a meal.

at least not that i am aware of... he is a smart man so he may just not be telling me. ;)

thoughts?

7 comments:

  1. Brilliant ideas here! Smart lady, you are... :)

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    1. thanks! :) xoxo ... working out nicely it is! ;)

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  2. Great tips! Cooking the one protein a week is really a great idea! I have never thought about doing that!!
    Here are a couple of things that we have found works in our house:
    We typically take two weekends of a month and make a list of some food ideas that sound appealing. Then we run to the store and pick up the ingredients that we need. Then we come home and cook for about 3-4 hours - and within that time we usually have about 8-9 meals that we can wrap up and freeze. It's very convenient for being able to throw something in the oven that is homemade, or even have a dish to take to someone else that needs it (new babies, sick, etc. etc.)

    The other thing that we do is make a list on our dry erase board of every meal we have in the house - ingredient wise (planning and shopping!), and then we can look at the board and see what we want to eat that night. We noticed that if we could see what we have, we are less likely to go out and grab something because we "have nothing".
    :)

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  3. I love this!! We usually meal plan by month - I take a calendar and write all of our activities on it. With our busiest days obvious, we hit up pinterest for recipes for the month. We normally have one "leftovers" meal that we will eat once or twice and save for lunches and 2 other meals. I make a casserole or crock pot meal on Sunday and Jarrod handles cooking during the week. Pinterest really helps me out because I can see the delicious recipes all in one place. It prevents us from eating the same things each month!

    Thanks for sharing! I love the themes!!

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  4. we meal plan too - because I'm a bit of a planner myself ;) I have a menu board in the kitchen and write down our meals by day for the week. That way everyone knows what to expect. I like going home at the end of the day and knowing what I will be making... not stressing over what I can throw together. It's worked out really well for our family!

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  5. AWESOME!! we just started meal planning to try to lower our weekly grocery bill. We usually spend around $100 which is crazy for 2 people! this week we cut it down to $50. woop woop!!

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