I really enjoy cooking from scratch. There is something exciting about trying new recipes and flavors, and something therapeutic about chopping vegetables and creating something wonderful from a few simple ingredients. However, there are times when I get burned out in the kitchen, and I will just admit it…a little bit lazy. The biggest thing that contributes to my burn out is the dreaded chore of MENU PLANNING. For how much I like to cook, I despise the menu planning process. Perhaps that is because it takes me so long. I don’t just sit down and quickly scribble down a few things on a piece of paper and call it good. I scroll through hundreds of recipes from my favorite cooking sites until I find those that look simple, delicious, and worth trying. We seldom eat the same thing more often than once a month, and I like it that way most of the time. But lately I have not been planning anything at all because I don’t want to spend the time to do that. Instead, I fly by the seat of my pants at the grocery store, picking up what I think looks good without a plan for how I am going to use it. The result…drawers of produce that goes bad before we eat them, and the same mediocre dishes that can be thrown together in 15 minutes or less on the table night after night. My healthy eating goes out the window unless I have a plan, but I hate to plan because it takes me WAY too long.
There has to be an easier way to do this, and I think I might have found an option that will work.
Starting in April, I am going to simplify my weekly menu considerably. Each week is going to look like this:
This way I know what we will be eating without really even thinking about it, which will save me a TON of time. It allows for some variety with the same basic plan each week, and I think I am going to LOVE the simplicity. I didn’t plan anything for Friday and Saturday because those two days are somewhat unpredictable. Greg and I usually go out one night and let the kids fend for themselves (I know, we are MEAN…), and the kids often have friends over here for pizza and “hanging out” on the weekends as well. I will probably switch up the categories a little bit next month, but I am excited to try this out and see how it works. It has to work better than what I am doing now…that is for sure.
If you are interested in doing something like this yourself, here are a few great recipes in each category for you to try. They will be making an appearance on my table for sure.
Crock Pot Chicken
1. The Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot – 100 Days of Real Food
2. Fauxtisserie Chicken – Our Best Bites
1. Smothered Sweet Pork Burritos – Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
2. Slow Cooker Refried Beans – Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
3. Creamy Green Chili Enchiladas – Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
4. The Best Ground Beef Tacos – Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
5. Sweet and Spicy Slow Cooker Chicken – Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
1. Black Bean and Mango Salad Jars – Our Best Bites
2. Grilled Chicken and Berry Salad – Our Best Bites
3. Southwestern Pasta Salad – Our Best Bites
4. Asian Cabbage Salad – Our Best Bites
5. Chopped Thai Crunch Salad – Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
2. Creamy Garlic Alfredo Sauce – Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
3. Skillet Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta with Broccoli – Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
4. Fusilli alla Caprese – Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
For the Grill
1. Lemon Garlic Herb Rubbed Chicken – Our Best Bites
2. Caribbean Rubbed Pork Chops With Mango Salsa – Our Best Bites
3. Fire Roasted Artichokes – Our Best Bites
4. Italian Burgers – Our Best Bites
5. Grilled Chicken and Veggie Skewers – Our Best Bites
There you have it, friends…a few (mostly) simple recipes that will make meal planning easier and dinnertime more enjoyable. At least that is what I am hoping for…