Summer is truly over, Kiki started kindergarten, work schedule is back ON, traveling is in a full swing, but this week I am home with no travel on my calendar, which means I am fully engaged in my meal planning. I missed having a Sunday at home to do the necessary mise-en-place and getting things started. This weekend I made a meal plan on my flight back home, bought groceries and got some prep done.
I love to cook and grocery shop, especially when I am kid free. Over the last few years, I’ve learned that my happy place is truly in the kitchen with a glass of wine and some music playing. That being said I do not cook every day, but I definitely cook on the nights when Kiki is with me. The other nights…leftovers!!!
I love sharing our weekly meal plans mostly because I use the blog as my archives and can go back and reference them when I hit those inevitable meal planning ruts. I’ve been trying a couple new recipes lately and thought the beginning of the school year would be a great time to share them so you can add any that look tasty to your line up!
The key to school-night cooking, besides meal planning, a true-and-tried strategy is cooking once-eating twice. Meal prepping is actually fairly simple. Use what you already have on hand and make things simpler for you. Meal-planning is also great for your wallet and for cutting down wasting food. Give it a try and you will see how your week will have so much less stress, and I am all about reducing stress in my life. Most of all, whenever your kids ask you what’s for dinner, you always have an answer!
My ONLY one rule of meal planning is – there should always be a vegetable on the dinner plate that is fresh! The rest are just lessons I have learned over time:
- start with planning two or three meals per week and work up to more as you learn what does and doesn’t work for you and your family
- keep a file of recipes that are your inspiration and over time you will build your tried-and-true favorites
- plan one large batch meal that can be used later in the week as a leftover or build up on another meal
- if you’re lucky enough to have Trader Joe’s, keep a few frozen meals on hand as your back up…you can always load them up with some veggies and protein and in 20 minutes you have a delicious meal
- make casseroles and slow cooker your best friend…they will instantly create flexibility in your weeknight schedule
- most importantly…create shortcuts that work for you!
So here is what we have on the menu this week:
Monday: Meatless Monday – Whole wheat pasta, pesto, peas, grated parmesan and a fried egg
Tuesday: lucky to be invited to dinner at J’s!!!
Wednesday: Kiki is at her dad’s, but I have chicken and avocado salad with lime and cilantro (leftover from our Sunday’s roasted chicken dinner)
Thursday: Cauliflower fried rice
Friday: Grilled Chicken and avocado three bean salad
Saturday: home made pizza and Kiki is in charge of toppings (that she can find in our fridge)
Sunday: Slow cooker healthy chicken tacos
What are your thoughts on meal planning? Any recipe recommendations? I’d love to hear…