Sunday, October 27, 2013

Week 43 - meal planning 101

Ever since I started the Healthy Home Revolution (January 2013), I have been posting my weekly meal plan in hopes of helping some of you out there.  I know friends who hate to cook let alone the duty of having to decide what to make for dinner.  I wanted to help by providing lots of ideas.  So far this year, I have posted over 200 times and I venture to guess that at least 140 of those posts are recipes.  Please use this site as a resource.  I only post the recipes that come out good - I do not post things we didn't like.   Want to know how I plan my meals???

Deciding what to have for dinner doesn't have to be intimidating or difficult. Give yourself some guidelines to help you streamline the process and make your week, and dinner time, simpler and less stressful.

Here are my tips for taking the guesswork out of dinner time:

1) Give yourself meal themes!  Themes will help you narrow down the choices and it will be easier to select a recipe for each night of the week.  For example,  make Mondays a meatless night and then plug in a vegetarian recipe each week, your favorites or new ones to try out.  Other themes could be crockpot night, soups & sandwiches (one or the other, sometimes both), pasta night, international night, and/or pizza night. For a while, we were having a Mexican night and an Italian night because those were our favorite types of foods and both very versatile.   Pick themes you know your family will enjoy. 

2) Plan ahead!  Make your weekly menu ahead of time, creating a coordinating grocery list for anything you might need for the chosen recipes and other daily needs for breakfasts/lunch/snacks/etc. This means only one trip to the grocery store and saving yourself time.

3) Get your kids involved!!! Have them help you out as much as possible. They will be more likely to eat it if they make it. It especially helps with something new to them. It also gives you some quality time together.

4) Run it by your partner!  If you take turns cooking, get him/her involved in selecting recipes too.  In my house, I do all the cooking (because I LOVE TO!) and I am blessed with a husband who will eat almost anything.   In fact, he told me to go ahead and plan whatever I want and he will eat it.   So most of the time, he doesn't know what's for dinner until the day of.  If you have a pickier spouse/partner, then make some basic rules for how cooking and meal planning happen in your home (how involved he/she wants to be).  No one wants to spend the time planning and executing a great meal only to have someone complain about it.

 I hope these tips help you get organized at dinner time.  Please let me know if you have any questions or if there are things you would like to see in the future.

Below you will find my weekly meal plan for this week.  I'm experimenting with various meal themes myself, some new to me.  Also, I would like to mention that I truly am so sorry that I haven't been posting recipes over these last couple of weeks.  Between fall festivities, a fiesty toddler who doesn't like to sleep, and the first fall cold that swept through our home, I'm lucky we are all in one piece.  Sometimes its just about survival folks - not about how I made my delicious Mediterranean Chicken (which will be posted later this week - my parents are in town to help with the kids, so I'm hoping to catch up on recipe posts). 

Have a fabulous week and Happy Halloween!

Week 43 - October 26, 2013

Sunday - leftovers

Monday -  (Meatless Monday) Roasted Fall Vegetables with Arugula and Lentils

Tuesday - (International Night) Beef and Broccoli with Vegetable Fried Rice

Wednesday - (Chicken Creation)  Baked Artichoke Chicken with whole wheat couscous and salad

Thursday - (Soup & Salad) Kielbasa, Kale, and Potato Soup

Friday - (family movie night)  Mini Pizza Bagels

Saturday - (Chef's Choice) Beer Braised Short Ribs with Glazed Carrots, Celery Root Puree, Sauteed Greens

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