Meal Planning: Vacation Recovery

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We spent several days away from home last week when we took our first REAL vacation in three years. In fact, I think it was our third real family vacation ever.

Vacation = going someplace exciting and/or relaxing, for which the sole purpose is not to visit relatives. Can often involve restaurants, hotels, airplanes, and rental cars.

While we didn’t fly nor did we rent a car, we did take on a few restaurants and a hotel. We also saw family and friends which was super fun. And we travelled about 800 miles, all told.

Prior to our departure, I gave the refrigerator a thorough cleaning and emptying. So, this week’s eating involves a little freezer diving and eating from the pantry. We’ve got lots of apples, but that’s about it.

We’ve also got our new fall dinner themes to keep things exciting.

Getting Help

Since I was kind of in a daze Friday when we came home after six days on the road, I decided to try out this meal planning service called Plan to Eat to help me pull things together. I quickly plugged in recipes by cutting and pasting their ingredients lists into my account. Then I dragged and dropped them into a weekly grid.

Plan to Eat instantly compiled a shopping list for me. According to their database, I spent “0.3 hours” plugging in recipes, planning where to put them, and printing. Twenty minutes is not bad, and I think I might have spent a lot more time doing this on my own.

When I get my feet back on the ground from vacation, I’m going to tackle planning October’s menus using Plan to Eat. I imagine that once you’ve plugged in your regular go-to recipes, meal planning could be a snap. You can sign up for a free 30 day trial and test it yourself. Let me know how it works for you!

In the meantime, here’s what we’ll be having this week:

Football Food – Hotdogs, Potato Salad, and veggies

Soup, Stew, or ChiliTaco Soup with Cornbread, Green Salad

Meat and TatersRoast Chicken, Stuffed Potatoes, Green Beans

Breakfast for SupperHomemade Turkey Sausage, Pancakes, Fruit

CasserolePoblano Chile Enchiladas, Beans and Rice

PizzaThe Usual

Out to Eat – yet to be determined, but Del Taco’s 39 cent tacos and 49 cent burritos are sounding like a win-win at this point.

What are you eating this week?

Don’t forget to visit I’m an Organizing Junkie for more meal planning inspiration.

About Jessica Fisher

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

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  1. I actually won a year subscription to Plan to Eat from Steady Mom. I’m still inputting, but I really, really like the program. I haven’t utilized the shopping list much because I have one that I keep printed out on the fridge with all of our common needs so people (ie hubby) can circle an item we are out of. Since the season is changing I am focusing on entering a few recipes each night that my family tends to eat during the fall/winter months. More soups, stews, casseroles.

  2. We just got back from two weeks at the beach, so I’m in post-vacation mode this week too! lol I’m menu-planning tomorrow. 🙂

  3. My “monthly planning” saved my bacon since I had (for once 😉 ) wisely planned a simple meal for last night when we returned from the shore and have the rest all laid out… I think planning services are a great idea, though!

  4. Great photo! Looks like it was a great vacation. I really like the new fall dinner themes.

  5. It’s been years since we went away, as a family.

  6. Tracy Jerome says

    I’m just curious how you are managing your pre-cooked (or at least already prepared) meals in plan to eat. I’ve been reading quite a bit at their site, forum, and blog, and I can’t seem to get a handle on how to address that. Obviously I want those meals in my meal planning, but don’t need the recipe or the ingredients since I already prepped them ahead of time. Thanks!

    • Jessica Fisher says

      @Tracy Jerome, there’s a spot on the planning page where you can add notes or events. That’s where I plugged in something that wasn’t a recipe to cook. There’s also an add ingredient function so if there’s something you need to go with the freezer meal, you can add that to the grocery list.

  7. I love Plan to Eat – thanks for putting me on to it. I have been looking everywhere for a menu planning tool that allows you to store recipes, plan and compile shopping lists. I am definately going to subscribe for the next year. I think Plan to Eat will save me at least an hour a week in planning time – maybe even more. Thanks again! Very happy reader! I told my brother about it and he has now subscribed too!

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