I often dream about having a personal chef. In my perfect world, I wouldn't have to grocery shop or cook, and every night a delicious, healthy dinner would magically appear on my table. In this dream I also look like Gisele, but whatever. Although my husband is a great chef, his schedule keeps him from making meals most week nights. Alas, that means it's up to me Monday through Friday.
In the past, I didn't plan ahead, which meant most evenings I was scrambling around, trying to figure out what to do with whatever happened to be in my fridge. And nobody was very happy with what I came up with, including me. One day last fall I decided that weekly meal planning would make life a lot easier.
|This is what my husband makes on the weekends. Or what my imaginary chef would create. My meals do not look like this.|
Every Sunday I sit down with my calendar and my recipes, and I decide what we'll have that week. I usually do a few weeks at a time, then tweak it each Sunday as the schedule fills up. I have a huge binder with family favorites, and recipes that I print from the internet when I see something that looks good.
Recently I discovered emeals.com. This website allows you to choose your meal plan (clean eating, paleo, kid friendly, classic, etc), and then provides a week's worth of recipes. Since my husband is eating low carb, this has helped me find dozens of new dinners. The only drawback is that they charge $29.99 a month.
Each week we have one "salad" night and one "crock pot" night. The crock pot is my best friend, next to my actual best friends. I usually also choose one chicken recipe and one with beef. (As a side note, every year we buy a side of beef from our farmer friends, and I highly recommend it. We know that the meat is hormone and chemical free, and it usually works out to about $1.50/pound, which is so much cheaper than the grocery store. You can contact your local 4H to find out who sells beef in your area). Fridays are for leftovers, if they're not already gone, since I live in a house of men.
After I finalize the meals, I start a grocery list with everything I don't have on hand. There are tons of grocery list printables online, but I like this one from Time Warp Wife because it's simple.
And that's it. Not exciting, not gourmet, but it works for us. At least until that personal chef gets here.
Now, hop on over to R Squared to see what Christy's meal planning looks like!