One of my passions aside from creating pretty things for you to decorate your ears with ;) is menu planning! Actually, I HATE menu planning - so I've developed a routine that keeps it as easy as possible. To read on about my process, scroll beyond the menu plan graphic & recipe links. If you're just here for the plan, here it is without futher fuss:
Monday: No recipe link for this. We use refrigerated cheese ravioli, cooked per the package directions and top with jarred marinara. Simple, easy, and a crowd pleaser for us!
Tuesday: our youngests elementary school is doing a fundraiser night out, so we'll be getting pizza & supporting the 5th grade graduation fund!
Wednesday: Grilled Bourbon Chicken. This has such a delcious marinade! I plan to serve it with baked beans and a salad.
Thursday: Lasagna Soup. So hearty and filling - we usually don't have any left for the next day (but does reheat beautifully!). I plan to serve this with garlic toast and a cesar salad.
Friday: Normally we do an eat out night on Friday's, but since we're dining out on Tuesday, we're having the Drunken Noodles I planned for Sunday but didn't end up making. The recipe calls for shrimp, but I'm subbing chicken instead. Since this is full of veggies already, I'm not planning any sides with it.
Saturday: Hawaiian Chicken Kebabs. Truth be told, I don't follow a recipe for this (but linked one that's super similar for you). Load up skewers with chunks of veggies, fruits, and meat. We always do peppers, onions, mushrooms, pineapple, & marachino cherries layered with chicken that's been brushed with Kikkoman's Baste & Glaze for some yummy flavor. Serve with rice!
Sunday: I try to keep things easy on Sunday, as there's usually a dinner planned in the week earlier we didn't make and have it Sunday instead. Sunday's plan is breakfast for dinner - which will likely be homemade breakfast burritos!
That's the menu plan for the week! If you'd like ideas, tips, and other resources on how to start planning your own weekly menu - please keep scrolling!
Ok, so this process of mine is always evolving as I find new ways to save a little time or just streamline the process. Here's how I currently menu plan!
- I saw a "hack" on TikTok claiming to never have to think of a plan again and I was floored. I opened up Google Calender and started planning a base meal idea for each day of the week and set it to repeat every 12 weeks - except for Friday's which I plan "dinner out" as repeating every Friday.
- I edited a few meals, based on our traditions and taking into weather considerations here in Florida. For example: we have lasagana pretty much every Christmas Eve, so I just removed whatever was auto scheduled per the 12 weeks above and replaced it with "lasagna" to repeat "annually on December 24th". I also know I can count on chillier weather from about mid-December through mid-January here, so I loaded up those weeks with our meatloaf, stew, pot roast, etc. Literally no one wants to cook (or eat!!) a pot roast when it's 97 with 100% humidity.
- I try to keep some "themed" days in mind when scheduling meals, to try to eliminate too many similar meals in a row. For example, I try to do a meatless dinner on Mondays, a Mexicana style dinner on Tuesday's, something slow cooker or pressure cooker on Saturdays (those are usually hockey games and soccer games, so it's nice to get something going Saturday morning and have it ready when we're tired from sportsing all day).
- Once I have all my meals set up in Google Calendar (in perpetutity, thanks to that hack!!), I start building my actual meal plan in Plan To Eat (this is a referral link - if you end up signing up for Plan To Eat with my link, you'll save 20% off your first year and I will receive 20% commission on all future subscription payments). This is a paid subscription, but I've found it to be really helpful so far! It has an amazing widget you can install in your browser that will snap a recipe from whatever website, pull in the link, photo, ingredients, and directions with just a few simple clicks. From there, I can enter in our planned dinners and come up with sides, add snacks, lunches, breakfasts, etc. It'll auto build a grocery list for me, based on the date criteria I enter. It has an app as well that updates immediately when you add an item or take something off.
- Remember to BE FLEXIBLE. Don't feel like enchiladas on Tuesday afterall? I rearrange my menu on the fly - okay, let's have Saturday's burgers tonight and save enchiladas for later... or just replace it with something for next week.
That's pretty much it! I hope you found this helpful!
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