Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone create a meal plan for you and prep a grocery list while she’s at it? Try this meal plan on for size.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a grocery list and a list of meals to go along with it? And what if they were varied by protein, budget-friendly, and kid-approved? Well, have I got a surprise for you!
Meal planning can make or break your evening meals. When the witching hour arrives and your kids are starting to cry for food, it can drive ya batty. If you don’t have a plan, you can succomb to fast food or a throw-together meal. After almost 19 years of cooking for myself plus at least one other, I know that it’s much more fun to sit down to a planned, hot tasty meal.
But getting from point A to point B can take work.
Make a meal plan.
I am a big proponent of meal planning. Since I have always loved thinking and talking about food, I have always loved meal planning. I started as a teen living in my parents house and now some 20 years later, I almost always have a list of meals we could make stuck to my refrigerator.
I have finally realized that not everyone is as gaga over meal planning as I am. My own sister doesn’t do it. What?!
While I would love to teach you how to create your own custom meal plans, I’m also happy to help where I can. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all. You have to pick and choose. The most important part of the equation is that you’re sitting down with your family and eating a healthy meal.
Maybe you’re a novice cook and aren’t sure that you can cook a meal at home let alone plan it. I get ya. It’s not easy to learn many new skills at once. So, starting this week, I’m sharing a plan that will help you get started on 5 meals, 1 dessert, 1 bread, and 1 salad that you can make on your own.
That’s five meals that you can stretch however you see fit. Depending on your family size, you might end up having leftovers for two nights. If so, you’ve got a week of dinners covered.
Meal planning with variety
One of my favorite ways to approach meal planning is to do the formula plan. This formula includes a variety of meal types: beans, casserole, soup, meal salad, and meat/starch combo.
Here are the meals for Week 1:
Beans: Jalapeno Chili with toppings
Casserole: Fresh Basil and Garlic Chive Lasagne (add side dish vegetable)
Soup: Cheddar Cheese Soup with Zucchini, Broccoli, and Carrots (add bread)
Meaty: Easy Skillet Pork Chops (add steamed rice, vegetable)
Mealtime Salad/Packable: Tortellini Pasta Salad (toss in leftover vegetables from other meals, add bread)
Bread: Easy Garlic Breadsticks
Salad/Side: Caesar Salad
Dessert: Butternut Squash Brownies
These recipes all work together to be varied and to work together. You can mix them around however you see fit.
To save time, be sure to do meal prep tasks in bulk when you can. For instance, shred cheese for Chili toppings, Lasagna, and Cheddar Cheese soup all at one time if you don’t buy the cheese pre-shredded. Get the grater out once, shred the cheeses, wash the grater once. You’ve saved time and effort in one fell swoop.
This meal plan includes the recipe list, time saving tricks, and a grocery list. You just need to click, print, shop, and cook. Be sure to let me know how this plan works for you and what you’d like to see in future plans!