Making a Meal Plan – It’s Elementary

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. We participate in other affiliate programs as well. For more details, please see our disclosure policy.

Last week on our way to the beach, I quizzed my men about their favorite meals. Shrimp was high on the list. So was steak. I saw that I had to modify my line of questioning, “What’s your favorite cheap meal?” Then I got answers like, “Costco Pizza” — from the Big Man. And, of course, a debate ensued about what a relative term cheap is.

But, at the end, I got what I wanted: a month’s list of meals that will, more or less, please the general population. And, if you notice number 29, FishPapa’s birthday feast will include tri-tip and a skewer of shrimp for each.

Meal planning is an elementary component of home management. It’s really a very logical principle – it gives you inspiration, direction, and helps you head off problems at the pass. For instance, if you have a meal plan, you know when to start preparing dinner. You know what ingredients you need to get at the store ahead of time, bypassing a last minute run which can be stressful or expensive. With a little foresight, mealtime can be pleasant and relaxing.

Meal planning a month at a time has been really helpful. The plan doesn’t always come exactly to fruition, but it’s a good target to have. It also gives me a broad view of my storehouses and I can think about grocery shopping in the big picture. Aside from some fresh produce, refills on milk, and a few packages of meat, I pretty much have all that we need for the month, thanks to my last Costco trip and my stockpile. I’m hoping that it will be a relaxing month. Having done so much planning and shopping, I think my chances are good — at least where food is concerned.

(I must say that adjusting my shopping plan has really eased some pressure. Last night I “did the deals” at CVS — for fun — rather than other motives. And it was just that — fun! )

Here’s this week’s portion of our list of Meal Plans for January.

5. Turkey Tortilla Casserole, beans, and rice
6. Turkey Pot Pie, green salad
7. Potstickers, rice, broccoli
8. Bean burritos
9. Baked Chicken, roasted potatoes, veg
10. Pizza and salad
11. Chicken Quesadillas, Salad, Beans, and Rice

If you don’t have a plan, you should! Look through your cupboards and make a list of what you could cook with what you have. Write those meals down. Stick it on the fridge. Now you have a plan! It’s really pretty easy.

Do you struggle with meal planning? Why? Let us know in the comments section. We’ll put our heads together and help you solve that dilemma.

For more meal planning inspiration, visit I’m an Organizing Junkie every Monday.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe you can get great meals on the table -- and still keep that pretty smile on your face.

Read Newer Post
Read Older Post


  1. Thankful Paul says:

    After all this, there is only one thing to say: Have reverence for God, and obey his commands, because this is all that we were created for. ECCLESIASTES 12:13 TEV

  2. The Pauls' says:

    We have followed menu plans for a few years now in our household. I would be lost without it. It keeps us eating well, balanced, healthy meals and we are not scrambling to figure out what to eat. I find when we scrambled we ended up eating the same things over and over. Because we farm, we have our own beef and used way too much hamburger because it was the quickest to defrost:) So I agree, if you don’t have a meal plan, make one, it will be well worth your time!

  3. Jessica,

    Could you post your recipe for the queso fundido, please? We love queso, so I’m always looking for something new!



  4. JessieLeigh says:

    I love meal planning and plan it down to the smallest detail (seriously- I write down what the day’s snacks will be and my husband actually obeys my words like law :)). I’ve fallen off the wagon with this third pregnancy, but I’m not letting that get me down. It’s too much a part of me and I know I’ll get back in the swing of things! I find that our whole family benefits from having a posted chart for easy reference. There are no surprises and it helps me plan my day!

  5. Shari says:

    My grandmother raised me and I think she was just too tired to let her young grandaughter help in the kitchen–it was just easier for her to do it quickly herself. Point being, when I got married, I was LOST in the kitchen…. I still am in so many ways! I love seeing your meal plans b/c I need to see how others do it and then it inspires me.

    Since my husband just received a 10% pay CUT (b/c of the economy) he wants me to do a weekly meal plan (like in the 1950s) so that we can budget our food more precisely. It may get a little boring, but I am hoping it will work for us for now.

    By the way, I love that you even plan your breakfasts! Too often we have the same boring breakfast every day and that is fine in some ways, but I think it would be a little healthier for my kids if I mixed it up a little. Thanks again! 🙂

  6. Anonymous says:

    You've got a great site here! I'm just starting out with cooking, and I've realized that my biggest problem with cooking isn't figuring how to make the recipes -which can be tough, no doubt- it's figuring out what to cook and what to serve with it. As such, I've been searching everywhere for meal planning ideas (and found your lovely site). I've found plenty of ideas for main dishes and learned about freezer cooking. Do you have any tips on how to pick out coordinating side dishes? I know it might sound odd or basic, but that's the one thing that is still puzzling me. I always seem to pick out sides that don't coordinate or I just skip them entirely. Any general or specific ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thank you! ~Jennifer

Thanks so much for participating in this conversation about "a mom's life."

This is a place where moms can be themselves. Remember that each mother's path looks a little different. Please keep your comments respectful and kind. Reasonable minds will disagree in a nice way.

So let's talk about it, using "our big girl words."

Share Your Thoughts