Two-Week Meal Plan

meal planning

Happy Monday! I’m going to try something new–doing a two-week meal plan to keep with my goal of shopping less often. I did a big grocery shop on Friday that should give me everything we need for the next two weeks, minus a trip to pick up more milk and produce. So you’ll see a two-week meal plan posted every other Monday, and other Mondays I’ll bring back the Make Money Mondays feature.

If you want to give a two-week meal plan a try, here are some FREE printable planners to help:

  • MoneySavingMom has a 2-week planner that includes space for breakfasts, lunches, and snacks.
  • The Peaceful Mom has a 2-week planner that you can customize by changing the days or typing in your meals (plan out two weeks now, then print it out and use it again another month!).
  • Craft Sew Create has a great planner that includes a shopping list, but it’s only for 1 week at a time (below)

Weekly Menu Plan

Obviously, since we have all the food in the house, I can be flexible about which nights we eat certain meals. I do like to stick to my schedule of using the slow cooker on our busy nights. It’s so nice to walk in the house after Tae Kwon Do and have dinner ready to go. So easy!

Sunday–Herbed Pepper Rub Pork Roast, mashed potatoes and salad
Meatless Monday–“Real” Macaroni & Cheese with broccoli
Tuesday–Slow Cooker Beef & Broccoli with brown rice
Wednesday–Chicken, leftover mashed potatoes and green beans
Thursday–Heart-shaped Homemade Pizza with sausage, mushrooms and olives with salad
Friday–Sausage Lentil Soup and cornbread

Sausage-Lentil-Soup-225x300

Saturday & Sunday–we’ll be out of town visiting the new baby nephew! My kids can’t wait to meet him.
Meatless Monday–Crustless Italian Spinach Pie and Homemade Italian Breadsticks
Tuesday–Chicken Fajitas in the DCB, whole grain tortillas and black beans
Wednesday–Slow Cooker Taco Pie (from More Make it Fast, Cook it Slow)
Thursday–Pineapple Pork Chops with brown rice and green beans
Friday–Corn and Potato Chowder
Saturday–
Baked Ziti (I’ll make two and freeze one)

 

How is your meal planning going?

Linked up to Menu Plan Monday at OrgJunkie.

Meal Planning this Rainy Day

meal planning

Hard to get my meal planning done today–it’s another freezing, rainy day, and the kids are so tired of being stuck inside. I’m writing this with wrestling and a tea party going on behind me since there’s no school today or tomorrow and there’s a collection of friends over.

As focused as I’ve been about packing lunches for school, I get stuck on days like this when I have 4-6 kids to feed. It’s like cooking a whole meal! I’m keeping it frugal with bean burritos with carrots & celery sticks today, then homemade pizzas tomorrow. I’d love some other ideas–please leave a comment below with your favorite frugal home lunch ideas.

I’m heading out of town next weekend to see my new niece or nephew (we don’t know what it is yet!), so I won’t be posting a meal plan next Monday. If you’re looking for more family-tested, frugal recipes, head over to my Recipe Index. I’m leaving my hubby with a couple of meals in the freezer (like taco meat and baked ziti) to keep everyone fed and keep him from spending money at a restaurant or the grocery store.

Crispy Honey Chicken

Here’s the plan for this week:

Sunday–leftover Chicken Tortilla Soup and homemade bread
Meatless Monday–Breakfast for dinner–scrambled eggs, Pumpkin Pancakes, and fruit
Tuesday–Pineapple Pork Chops, brown rice and green beans
Wednesday–Meatball Subs (using frozen meatballs from the freezer and whole wheat hot dog buns) and salad
Thursday–Crispy Honey Chicken Drumsticks, leftover salad and broccoli
Friday–Trying this Pork Moo Shu Slow Cooker recipe–hope it’s good!
Saturday–
Tacos, leftover brown rice, black beans

What are your favorite home lunch ideas?

Linked up to Menu Plan Monday at OrgJunkie.

Meal Planning with a Food Budget

It’s not the end of the month, but I’m at the end of the monthly food budget–how did that happen? It’s a good time to take inventory of what’s on hand and plan meals around that. I took a look in the freezer and found chicken, pork, and ground beef. I want to use up what we have on hand over the next 11 days and only spend money on fresh produce and dairy. That should take me right down to the penny on my monthly food budget. Are you working off a monthly budget? Learn how to set a food budget.

 

Here’s our meal plan for this week:

Sunday–Herb Pork Roast and Spinach & Feta Twice Baked Potatoes
Meatless Monday–Homemade Calzones and Caesar Salad (kids’ choice!)
Tuesday–Slow Cooker Beef Stew, everything’s in a zipper bag in the freezer, so it’s a quick prep!
Wednesday–Stroganoff-Style Chicken, egg noodles, and green beans
Thursday–Spaghetti and Meatballs, salad and broccoli
Friday–Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup (a double batch, so there will be leftovers for weekend lunch)
Saturday–
Vegetarian Baked Ziti (a double batch, so one pan goes in the freezer)

I’m continuing my goal of shopping less/making less trips: I only did one trip to the grocery store and CVS, though I did go back to Costco (shame!). I went with a friend who was checking prices compared to local stores. We lamented together the high price of beef. All the more reason to eat less, I say. My husband doesn’t agree…

Do you stick to a monthly food budget?

Linked up to Menu Plan Monday at OrgJunkie.

Meal Planning with Comfort Food

I’m feeling energized for meal planning with the New Year, and I’ve tried setting some weekly goals to get motivated. We’re still eating lots of veggies, but last week’s plan to use dinner prep time to make food for the freezer was only half successful. I got lazy at the end of the week and was just pleased to get dinner on the table, not taking the time to double up. I may be better off trying to freeze 1-2 meals a week than try to do it all at once like that (I’ll try that this week with my soup recipe). We have crummy weather this week, lots of rain and chilly temps, which makes me want comfort foods like soup, homemade bread, and mac & cheese.

Sausage-Lentil-Soup-225x300

Sunday–Crockpot Beef & Broccoli, brown rice noodles
Meatless Monday–Crustless Italian Spinach Pie, salad, and homemade bread
Tuesday–Baked Pesto Chicken, green beans, and mashed potatoes (I’ll make double)
Wednesday–Chicken Sausage & Lentil Soup and cornbread
Thursday–Balsamic Mushroom Pork and leftover mashed potatoes
Friday–Macaroni & Cheese Casserole and salad
Saturday–
Chicken Fajitas in the DCB, tortillas, brown rice, black beans

I did do better on my goal to shop less–just one trip to the grocery store and one trip to Costco (and I won’t have to do that again for several weeks).  I’m trying to stick to my monthly budget for groceries while going out less, and I’m considering going back to drugstore shopping (either CVS or Rite Aid). I haven’t done it in ages and need to decide whether the time & effort is worth the savings and extra trips.

How are you doing on your meal planning so far in 2013?

Linked up to Menu Plan Monday at OrgJunkie.

Meal Plan for the Freezer


Last week’s goal of eating lots of veggies was successful, and this week I’ve set a new short-term goal: to use my dinner prep time to make food for the freezer. With all the families we know sick with the flu or whathaveyou, it’s inevitable that we’ll end up with something. I like to have some soup and other simple meals ready to go in case I’m incapacitated. If it doesn’t happen, great! We’ll just have dinners ready for busy nights.

I have a few meals I regularly freeze (like ground beef with onions/peppers that I use for tacos, sloppy joes, pasta dishes, etc.), but I need some new ones for the rotation. I picked up a few freezer cookbooks from the library and have some recipes to try out. I got a few my family with like from Once a Month Cooking Family Favorites and will read Don’t Panic–Dinner’s in the Freezer tonight.

Mini Broccoli Quiches

With my freezer goal in mind, each meal we’re having this week is being made as a double-batch so I can freeze the second portion:

Sunday–We had lasagna and salad with neighbors while the Redskins lost :(
Meatless Monday–Mini Broccoli Quiches and salad. Will double the recipe and freeze half.
Tuesday–Slow cooker Chicken, spinach and tomatoes served over angel hair pasta. Will make a zipper bag with same ingredients.
Wednesday–Cashew Chicken (from OAMC Family Favorites) and brown rice. Will make two, bake one and freeze one in a zipper bag.
Thursday–Meatball Sub-Bake and salad. Will make two, bake one and freeze one.
Friday–Super Easy Chicken Soup with cornbread. Will double the recipe and freeze half.
Saturday–
Stuffed Shells (I mix ricotta with pesto), then freeze them on cookie sheets individually. Once frozen, you can store them in a zipper bag, then place in a pan with spaghetti sauce to bake.

Another goal I mentioned last week was only shopping once a week. That was a huge fail–I went four times! I’m aiming to do it this week and the rest of the month. Wish me luck!

 

Linked up to Menu Plan Monday at OrgJunkie.

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Meal Planning in the New Year

Dinner Every Night
As we head into the New Year, I’m personally dealing with some meal planning challenges–maybe you are, too? My ultimate goal is to feed my family healthy meals within our budget ($550/month for our family of five). I’m feeling a little burnt out, however, with coupon shopping, multiple stores, trying to fit cooking around evening activities, cooking when I’m tired or sick, etc. So I’ve spent a little time this week thinking how I want to approach my goal in the New Year. My three big strategies will be:

  1. Utilizing freezer and crockpot cooking to avoid stress between 5-7pm.
  2. Keeping up with what I have on hand in the pantry/freezer so I can shop for groceries only once per week.
  3. Set limits on couponing/multiple stores (I think I’ll set a time limit and only shop once per week, since I’m not willing to give it up completely).

On the short-term, my goal this week is to fill us up with vegetables to counter all the sweets we ate over the holidays, so I chose simple recipes off my Master Meal List that are veggie-heavy:

Tortilla Soup

Sunday–Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup and cornbread
Meatless Monday–Greek Pita Pizzas on whole wheat pita bread
Tuesday–Chicken Sausage sauteed with veggies over angel hair pasta
Wednesday–Slow Cooker Beef Stew and homemade bread
Thursday–Chicken Fajitas in the DCB, wheat tortillas, black beans and brown rice
Friday–
Crustless Italian Spinach Pie and salad
Saturday–
Pork Roast, baked potatoes and green beans

What are your meal planning challenges as we head into the New Year?

 

Linked up to Menu Plan Monday at OrgJunkie.

Meal Plan Monday: Back to Cooking

In early November I took some time when cooking to prep a second meal for the freezer and was able to stock up for busy weeks. Well, we ate all of that, so I’m back to the drawing board! It was a great reminder that it’s worth taking time when you have it to plan ahead. I will think of that a lot while I’m cooking this week…

Here’s my plan for this busy week:

Sunday–Turkey Parmesan Pasta, salad (we didn’t get to it last week)
Meatless Monday–
Crustless Italian Spinach Pie and cornbread
Tuesday–Chicken Fajitas in the DCB, brown rice and black beans
Wednesday–Spinach & Feta Pasta Salad
Thursday–Chicken breasts, broccoli and quinoa
Friday & Saturday–
Heading out of town! Will be eating out both nights.

If you’re looking for simple, family-friendly recipes, check out my Recipe Index. The meals we eat most are on my family’s Master Meal List.

Linked up to Menu Plan Monday at OrgJunkie.

 

Meal Plan Monday: Early December

Welcome to December–are you feeling a little more pressure? You can help yourself out a lot by taking some time each week to make a meal plan if you’re not regularly using one. Just sit down with your calendar, figure out which nights are holiday parties/potlucks (so what will you bring?), late nights at sports and other activities, and which nights allow for some home cooking. That’s what my weeks are like all this month! By planning the week’s meals, I can make just one trip to the store and know I have everything we need. That saves both time and money–since you often spend more than you plan each time to run to the store for “just one thing.”

What other ways do you make December a little easier at your house?

 

Here’s my plan for this busy week:

Sunday–Beef Tacos with fixings, black beans
Monday–
Leftovers from the weekend–pulled pork or chicken soup (we have a late night at TKD)
Tuesday–Meatball subs on whole wheat hot dog buns, salad
Wednesday–Cornmeal Parmesan Chicken (I just dip tenders in milk, then a mixture of cornmeal, Parmesan, and pepper), baked potatoes and broccoli
Thursday–Chicken Caesar Casserole (from the freezer), salad
Friday–
Out to a holiday party, we’re bringing Pizza Pinwheels (recipe will post tomorrow)
Saturday–Turkey Parmesan Pasta, salad

If you’re looking for simple, family-friendly recipes, check out my Recipe Index. The meals we eat most are on my family’s Master Meal List.

Linked up to Menu Plan Monday at OrgJunkie.

 

Meal Plan Monday: Holiday Season

Happy Monday! I’m having a hard time getting back on routine after four days of traveling, eating, kids, visiting, fun, and naps. And it’s a five-day week, so my kids were very hard to get up and out this morning! Yours, too? It feels so funny to me that there’s a whole week of November left after Thanksgiving, and there’s already holiday decoration up all over our neighborhood. I’m definitely not ready!

I am thinking about holiday food, though. I like to keep up with simple, healthy weeknight meals to allow for entertaining, potlucks, parties, and other fun food on the weekends. I’m still using some of the freezer food I prepped in early November; it sure was nice to have meals ready all weekend after our trip to Philly. Budget-wise, I’m using up what’s in the freezer and pantry this week, just buying dairy and fruit.

Here’s the plan:

Sunday–Broccoli Pie (the Mini Broccoli Quiches recipe in a pie plate) and cornbread
Monday–
Meatball Subs (on whole wheat hot dog buns), salad
Tuesday–Greek Chicken (tomatoes, olives, peppers, onions) over quinoa
Wednesday–Pineapple Pork Chops with brown rice and green beans
Thursday–Savory Omelets (spinach & feta cheese) with rosemary potatoes and fruit
Friday–
Super Easy Chicken Soup (I’m going to throw it all in the slow cooker) with leftover rice from Wed.
Saturday–Pulled Pork Sandwiches, sweet potato fries and corn

If you’re looking for simple, family-friendly recipes, check out my Recipe Index. The meals we eat most are on my family’s Master Meal List.

Linked up to Menu Plan Monday at OrgJunkie.