Friday, May 28, 2010

Weekly Meal Plan

I don't know if I'll post this weekly or not (I don't want to set myself up for failure by saying I will), but for this week at least, I'll share with you my weekly meal plan.

Dinner time used to stress me out. I hated trying to figure out what to make with the random ingredients we had on hand. I hated the stress of trying to get dinner on the table without a plan in place. I was the queen of shopping once a month, then having to make a whole bunch of random mid-week trips to pick up the one item I needed to complete a meal. I was also the queen of easy/convenient/frozen/already prepared foods (full of all sorts of nasty chemicals, preservatives and such).

Several years ago I accidentally discovered something very freeing. At that time we had changed our work schedules around a bit so I could work on Friday's, Rob's day off. Rob decided that one way he could help me cope with working part-time (having two very young kids at home) was to do the grocery shopping. It's a 'chore' that he really enjoys doing, and I was so happy to let him take that one over!

But, in order for him to know what to get at the store I had to provide him with a list before I went to work. In order to have a list I needed to have a meal plan. I could no longer stare at the shelves until something popped out at me. Then I'd have to back track to the side of the store I just came from to get a complimentary ingredient. Then I would repeat this processes until my cart was full, my tummy was empty or my legs started twitching.

But now, now I have a plan. I fold a piece of paper in half (hot-dog style). I write the days Friday-Thursday down the column on one side, leaving some spaces between each day. As I begin to pair a meal with each day (depending on what our upcoming weekly schedule looks like), I write it down and write any necessary ingredients for that meal on the right-hand column.

When I'm done I tear it half, put the meal plan on my fridge and send the shopping list with Rob.

And for the next week I know what 6 meals I have on hand (Wednesday's are "Daddy Day" since I work well into the evening and he's on his own to plan and make dinner), and I have it posted where I see it often to remind me when I need to prep things, or to give me an idea of what time I should start dinner. I have a day planned for each meal, but I often switch around the days I actually cook them for any number of reasons.

Anyway, here's my plan for this week:

Grilled Sandwiches and chips

Chili and Corn Bread (a huge batch, so I can freeze some for later)

Nachos (utilizing some of the previous days chili, and a huge quantity of tortilla chips we have on hand that need consumed)

Enchiladas (A double batch, giving me plenty to freeze. These are great for taking to people who need a meal. This utilizes some black beans that need consumed, and I'll probably serve it with tortilla chips because really, I have a ton left over from our small group dinner last week.)

Sour Cream Pancakes and Fruit Salad

Homemade Creamy Chicken Soup (utilizing some frozen chopped onions and shredded chicken I have in the freezer left-over from a previous freezer meal marathon that needs consumed), and homemade buttermilk potato rolls.

Bonus: Chicken Rice Wraps. I made these once before and I stick them in the freezer. They are perfect for Rob to grab and have for lunch at work. This utilizes some of the huge amount of salsa we have left-over from the small group dinner.

I decided to go freezer meal crazy this week because most of our regular evening activities have now ended and I have a little more time on my hands to prep meals right now. We also have a little margin in our grocery budget this week that allows us to intentionally spend a little more than usual.

Now you know what we'll be eating this week, and how I plan my meals. Before you think too highly of me, you should note that this is one random area of my life that is actually currently organized. Oh, that and my budget. And my closet. And my husband. But everything else... not so much. So please, hold the applause. Remember, I'm a Real Life Pastor's Wife... keeping it real!


becca said...

This is so me.
Jacob likes doing the shopping too.
I have been planning out a week of meals for about 3 weeks (one of the FlyLady steps I have avoided for a LONG time) and it is so much more peaceful!!!
This and picking out clothes the night before actually get me giddy about what we're doing the next day... kind of nerdy, but makes me so free.

T & K said...

It's amazing how much less hectic the hour leading up to dinner time is when I know (and have actually thawed) what we're having for dinner and am not cranky and hungry trying to find something to put together!