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Use Theme Nights and Monthly Meal Planning to Make Dinner Prep Easy

Last week I mentioned that we were going back to theme nights around here. It made my meal planning so easy! I thought up a month’s worth of meals in a matter of minutes. I just turned to the month of meals planning page in Organizing Life as Mom, typed in my choices, and printed it out. Easy peasy.

All through the week, I could just look to the fridge door where my list hangs and know what was the meal plan for the day was. While I didn’t always stick to the plan, at least it wasn’t due to lack of inspiration.

That’s really what the meal plan does — give me direction when I need it.

Here’s the meal plan for this week:

Grilled Marinated Chicken, Green Salad, Quinoa Pilaf

The chicken was part of this month’s freezer cooking, so all I need to do is thaw it in time and let hubs go to work. The salad can be prepped by one of my minions and the pilaf comes together in about 15 minutes since quinoa cooks so quickly. Watch for the Quinoa Pilaf recipe on Good Cheap Eats later this month.

Stuffed Chicken Parmesan, Spaghetti, Steamed Broccoli, and Garlic Focaccia

We have this meal every Valentine’s Day. Chicken Parmesan and Spaghetti was the first meal I ever cooked for FishPapa when we were dating. He gasped in horror when I broke the spaghetti in two. If I can swing it, I’m going to buy the extra long noodles that he used to buy back in the day.

Shrimp Tacos, Pinto Beans and Mexican Rice

I found shrimp for $4 a pound recently so we’ve got a little stash in the freezer. Since shrimp cooks so quickly on the grill, the “heavy lifting” in this dinner is the homemade corn tortillas, but hubs and The Girl like  to do that task, so I just need to cook some Mexican Rice and heat the Pinto Beans.

Date Night – Beans and Rice

The kids will have leftovers while we go out to eat. ;)

Cookbook Night – Pasta with Red Sauce, Salad, Buttermilk Cornbread

This is an easy dinner that hubs can serve the kids while I get a hall pass to work on The Cookbook.

Look at how little FishChick2 was?

Pizza Night

We love making pizza at home. I’m hoping to revisit Matza Pizza, thanks to inspiration from Tammy’s Recipes. It was so delicious when we made it awhile back.

Shredded Beef and Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Steamed Veggies, Popovers

I cooked several batches of Shredded Beef and stored them in the freezer. I also have a batch of mashed potatoes chilling in the deep freeze, so this dinner will be easy. I just need to make a gravy, steam veggies, and stir up some popovers. (Popovers recipe coming soon.)

How ’bout you?

How do YOU create easy meals at your house?

Don’t forget to visit Menu Plan Monday for more ideas!

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Comments

  1. Kathy in Illinois says:

    Little Fishchick2 is SO cute!!!!
    God bless, Kathy in Illinois

  2. theme nights are a great idea! do I have the only kid in the world that hates pizza though! we never have pizza because DH won’t eat it

  3. Looking forward to the quinoa pilaf recipe since I just bought a bag at Costco :)

  4. I have theme nights as well, though they usually revolve around my yoga classes, my son’s soccer practice and my husband’s tutoring schedule. I include two vegetarian nights, two crock-pot nights, 1 breakfast for dinner (usually a frittata or other egg casserole since my DH isn’t a fan of sweet breakfast foods), 1 soup/sandwich night and 1 new recipe night (where i choose a new, never made by us recipe from the huge queue of must-make recipes lingering on my computer and bookshelf. it makes planning out the weekly menu really easy.

  5. AllieZirkle says:

    I was searching online for a quinoa pilaf recipe and it linked to this post. lol too bad you don’t have it posted yet!

    :) Allie

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