I probably harp on making easy dishes far too much but I honestly don’t know how people with kids have time to make elaborate meals. I assume they either eat out or order in...and while there isn’t anything wrong with either of those, its just logistically difficult with small kids in a restaurant and becomes quite expensive over time.
I don’t necessarily feel like I have anything “revolutionary” to share but am sharing what I have found works for me in hopes that it can be beneficial to you. Sometimes it just takes seeing what someone else does and implementing one or two ideas of their’s to make your own life easier.
Alright, let’s jump in...
Pinterest truly is my “cookbook” and I file almost any recipe I have there. I always make a note on the pin after we eat it on wether or not I enjoyed it in case I stumble across it months later and can’t remember what the consensus was. Even paper recipes, I take a picture of it and upload it to my recipe board.
I know it’s easy to pin a million recipes on Pinterest (and not actually try most of them), but I have found it best to keep two separate boards: one for recipes you’ve tried and one for recipes you want to try. This will save you some time from scrolling through an abundance of options and just stick to the ones you already know and are familiar with. A lot of times the hardest part of meal planning is deciding what to cook and this is an easy way to make it a little simplier...which brings me to my next point: recycle meals.
I know it can be tempting to want to try new things often, but when it comes to feeding your family (especially with small kids who are picky eaters), stick to what is familiar and you know is attainable for you to make. I have a list of about 10-12 meals that Dwight loves and I can pretty much guarantee I can get my kids to eat that I rotate through. Until your family lets you know they are tried of eating the same thing over and over...just keep making it! I like to try something new every two weeks or so...that way if its a flops, ordering pizza is no problem!
I recently heard about the app Favoreats that works in combination with Pinterest to help you meal plan. The best part of it is that it creates a grocery list based on the ingredients needed for each recipe! How amazing is that? I know a lot of people still love a paper grocery list but for me, that’s one more thing I have to keep track of (and that my kids can hijack when I’m not looking and leave it on isle 5 next to the canned peaches!). The app is free and SO easy to use. If you file your recipes via Pinterest like I do, this is a MUST have.
A few things I have found to be easy regular’s on our weekly dinner rotation is tacos (so many ways you can serve tacos!), breakfast for dinner and some sort pasta dish. That means I only need to add two to three additional meals to the calendar depending on how many nights we are eating out or can stretch another night with leftovers. Find those consistent things you can count on for certain nights of the week (Taco Tuesday, Sunday night breakfast and Thursday night pasta).
I’ve broken down our daily meals below for breakfast lunch and dinner in case you need some fresh ideas...
Breakfast: yogurt, yogurt smoothies, cereal, bagels, cinnamon raisin toast, breakfast burrito’s, frozen waffles, frozen pancakes, boiled eggs, fruit, and frozen breakfast sausages. I am admittedly not a morning person so I just can’t sustain cooking breakfast day after day. Yes, I use the microwave to heat up frozen items...I know there are strong feelings about microwaves but we use one.
Lunch: Lunch is practically a large charcuterie board at our house. Lunch meat, cheese, avocado toast, sandwiches, boiled eggs, nuts, fruit, grilled cheese, quesadillas, leftovers, hummus, peanut butter with fruit or crackers. I eat this practically everyday and never tire of it. Dinner is my main meal of the day so I don’t invest a lot of time into lunch. For those of you who pack a lunch, all of this packs well too!
Dinner: Pot Roast, Chicken Pot Pie, Lemon Butter Chicken Thighs, Salad with protein, Taco Salad, Baked Spaghetti, Salmon, Quiche, Pork Chops, Ribs, BBQ Chicken and Beans, TexMex Casserole, Lasagna, Enchiladas, BBQ Pulled Pork and Sheetpan Balsalmic Chicken and Veggies.
Well, that pretty much wraps up how I meal plan! Just to recap:
* Use Pinterest as your cook book
* Split up your recipe boards into ones you’ve tried and ones you want to try.
*Utilize the app Favoreats to make easy grocery lists for you based on your recipe selections.
* Recycle meals that are easy to make and that your family loves to eat.
* Create theme nights that you can count on each week (Taco Tuesday, Pasta Thursday, Breakfast for dinner Sunday’s).
Again, nothing fancy but hopefully this is a good launching pad to get started! Leave a comment below with any questions. As always, I’m more than happy to answer!