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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Getting a grip on meal planning.

last nights stir fry with homemade sauce!!
I don't know what it was about meal planning that intimidated me. I've posted about it multiple times, asking for advice, getting suggestions on how you all do your shopping, how often, what you make, etc.! It was all almost overwhelming that I'd end up just going to the store with no real plan but a list full of crap that would hardly last 2 weeks, and spend way too much.

Don't get me wrong, its not like I've gone the last 2.5 years of marriage without ever cooking. It's just been sporadic, unplanned, and somehow a lot of pizza delivery men show up at our door... ?!?! Pretty much everything we made wasn't by following a recipe!

So one day last week at work, I decided to use my lunch break to give it another whirl. I sat down for a full hour, dusted off the digital cobwebs on my Pinterest boards and went to town. I even had my colored sharpies out, you guys! I decided I'd start small and instead of giving myself restrictions based on cost or nutrition, etc., I decided to have no limits and just make it delicious and somewhat easy! This is what I ended up with for next week:

MondaySlow Cooker Cheesy Enchilada Bake...because holy yum.

Tuesday: Lemon Garlic Dump Chicken (probably the easiest looking "recipe" in the world) + glazed carrots for our side.

WednesdayChicken Enchilada Soup OR some new form of stuffed peppers again - because I may want a break from all the chicken I accidentally incorporated ;)

ThursdayOne Pan Balsamic Chicken + Veggies -- I don't know about you but if it only includes ONE PAN? I'm in!!

Friday (and weekend leftovers): Quinoa Chicken Chili - Erin posted about this recipe earlier this week and I immediately knew I needed the recipe. 1) I love quinoa. 2) sounded like there would be lots of leftovers...and with this cold weather lately, its the perfect comfort food to have on hand so we can eat it for weekend lunches!

So now I'm curious to know - what is your FAVORITE meal to cook for yourself/your family?


  1. I feeeeelll you.
    I feel like we eat the same thing every week..
    lasagna/pasta, chicken stir fry, grill out, tacos-repeat. haha
    we need to branch out a little more!!

    Your week sounds yummy!!

  2. I used to try to meal plan but cooking for 1 isn't fun. Pretty much whatever I make lasts me a whole week so it's not necessary. Growing up we would meal plan & I do intend to when it's no longer just me.

  3. The more you do it, the easier it gets. I promise you. You find your go to and things that are easy.

  4. Yum yum! Officially ready for lunch now after reading through those recipes ;) I think I have that Balsamic chicken recipe pinned but I've never made it- good reminder!!

  5. Meal planning took me a few months to get into a groove .. But we saw a huge difference in the money we save so totally worth it.. Some of our favorites include Paired with a salad

    And this one

  6. I'm not sure about quinoa but I may like it if I mix it with all that. We like slow cooker stew with cornbread, homemade breaded tilapia with roasted potatoes, lite version of chicken parmesan and I did a homemade sausage rigatoni last night. Yum!

  7. I love meal planning... it's helpful for so many reasons! If you're ever trying to pinch pennies, you can meal plan and incorporate that week's store flyer... plan your meals around what's on sale! I try to do that often and it's a great way to save money AND a good way to mix up our meals so we're not always eating the same thing!

  8. oh my gosh, i have been trying to get a handle on meal planning for ages! i know it will be easier and save us money (less random trips to the grocery!) but i still struggle with it. it's hard because our schedules are a bit different, so sometimes by the time i get home KC has already eaten dinner. but some of our go to meals are baked chicken tacos, pasta, shrimp scampi, fish and salad, chicken parm with veggies.. we aren't very exciting lol but i find thats what works best!

  9. I wrote a post about my favorite weeknight meals earlier this week. I hope it helps!

  10. I have vowed to get a better grip on meal planning and so far it's been working for me. I just plan my meals for 2-3 weeks at a time and shop for it all at once. I think if you visit the store less you'll see you don't spend as much since impulse purchases can really add up.

  11. Seriously though, it took me a LONG time to get the hang of meal planning, and I'm still working on it. I typically make something that lasts several nights so I really only have to plan 2 or 3 recipes. Lazy, but it works :) A favorite of mine is crockpot chicken tacos. Throw some chicken breasts in the crockpot, dump in a jar of salsa, add in some taco seasoning, and let it cook all day. Shred it up when you're ready to eat and add whatever you want. One of my favorites, and it's healthy!

  12. YUM. That chicken enchilada soup looks divine! And meal planning IS hard! And sometimes even if I have all the ingredients intended for a certain recipe, I'm just not in the mood to cook that meal that particular night. A back up frozen pizza always comes in handy for us on those nights - and at least they're cheaper than delivery! :P

  13. I'm just like you were when it comes to meal planning...I talk about it a lot and have asked for advice about how to do it but then never really followed through. Cooking for one is tough in my opinion because one recipe makes multiple meals for just one person, which is great unless you end up not really wanting to eat that one thing that many times in one week. I think I'm going to adopt your strategy for the first few times, no budget and no restrictions just plan what sounds good and go for it! Hope I'm half as successful as you were.


Thanks for your comments, I read and respond to every single one of them! :) Excited to get to know you!