Drum-roll please....My meal plan for four weeks.
Yes, four weeks. I know, you're thinking "how does she do that?". But honestly I find it to be easier than having to figure it out every week. I don't do this because I am super mom. I do it because I am lazy, and I don't like having to do the same work over and over again every week.
I figure it out once, and I'm good for a month. And if I don't feel like doing it again, I can just use the exact same one. It's been a month since we've had these meals, so they will all seem fresh again. Seriously I think you could probably use the same four week meal plan all year long, and maybe just make a few seasonal adjustments (like, I'd take out the soup in the summer and maybe do a salad bar instead, and I'd probably swap the roast chicken for grilled chicken).
We are in the middle of this right now, I'm just a little behind on posting. It's working really well so far and making my life a lot easier. For some reason, printing on colored paper just makes it seem more important.
Rather than bore you with all the lengthy explanation in this post, I wrote a whole other post about the why and how of meal planning for four weeks at a time.
You can read all about it here (or click that image over there ==>>)
But for this post, I thought I'd just cut to the chase and get you straight to what's on my plan. This is an easy meal plan for our busy family. Down below I've got a little more detail on some of the dinners, and you'll find my Pinterest board with links to lots of recipe ideas for the things that are on my plan.
And really I didn't mean what I said above about my longer meal planning post being boring. I think it's all pretty useful information and you should totally read it. I don't want you to just copy my meal plan, I want you to feel really good about making your own. So go for it - and be sure to share it with me!
Now, on to this month's plan:
What about the recipes?
Most of my meals are not following recipes. They are just old standards that I know how to cook and I know everybody likes. If you are just getting started with meal planning, or if you just have a super busy life, then I highly recommend that most of the meals you put on your plan be these kinds of meals. Don't make life harder on yourself than necessary. Cook what you know and love.
But when I do need a recipe I consult Pinterest. I think it's the easiest place to look for lots of good options.
I've put together a Pinterest board for you to follow - this is where I will be posting any recipes I am using for the month, as well as a lot of recipes that I will use for just an idea or a guideline, but maybe not follow exactly.
If you want to follow along with my plan, this should give you a good idea of the kinds of things I'm cooking. If you see something on my plan that I haven't pinned a recipe for, please feel free to ask me for one. I'd be happy to help you find one if I can.
A little more detail about some of the meals on this month's plan:
- The One Pot Macaroni and Cheese is my own recipe. I haven't done a blog post about it yet, but I'm working on it. I did post it on FB and Instagram though, and I've put a link to that on the Pinterest board. I need to get that recipe actually blogged, I think it might be my masterpiece. ;-)
- For ground beef tacos, I actually don't even use taco seasoning most of the time. Just ground beef, browned and seasoned with salt and pepper. Put some meat in a warm corn tortilla and top it with the works. It's simple and wonderful. Also, bonus to keeping it simple - if you brown up a bunch of ground beef and keep the seasoning more generic, then you can use it for another meal. You'll see that I have beef tacos one night, and Asian rice bowls the next night. Simple browned ground beef, reheated with a bit of soy sauce added, makes an awesome addition to a simple rice bowl. But if you really want a taco recipe, I have included a couple of ground beef taco links on my Pinterest board.
- Brat balls are my kids favorite. I think we made this name up. Take raw bratwursts, squeeze them out of the casings into small meatball-sized lumps, and simmer in a pot of simple tomato sauce. It couldn't be easier. It only takes about 15 minutes for them to be fully cooked, but if you let it simmer longer than you really get tons of flavor in the sauce. I like to let them simmer for at least an hour if I can. Do this in your slow cooker if you like.
- For the enchiladas and Mexican pizzas I make my own sauce. I've just found that even the most mild canned for jarred sauces are too spicy for my kids. With with my homemade sauce they devour it up. I make a big batch and freeze it. I'll share that recipe ASAP, but in the mean time I've posted a similar recipe to my Pinterest board.
- The chicken curry I usually make is with a packaged sauce mix. It's one of the very few packaged things I buy. It's an easy weeknight meal. We like a Japanese Golden Curry sauce. You just brown some meat, saute veggies, add the sauce with some broth and coconut milk. It's easy and so good. My secrets: the box says to add water, I use broth and coconut milk instead. And I add a diced up ripe banana. Trust me on this one. It cooks in and dissolves and you'll never know it's there. But it gives a wonderful hint of sweetness and a depth of flavor that you won't be able to identify.
- Pot Sticker soup - think of it like Wonton soup, except its a big time shortcut because I'm using store bought pot stickers instead of wontons.
- Coconut rice: this is just steamed rice with a can of coconut milk used in place of some of the water. I usually cook a lot of rice - three cups rice and 6 cups liquid. So replace and equal amount of that liquid with a can of coconut milk, and add a little salt.
- Salmon burgers are the frozen ones from Costco. Also, a tip: these are great to keep on hand as an easy protein. Crumble one up on your rice bowl, or cut in pieces and put it in your taco or your lettuce wrap.
Let me know if you have any questions!