How I Meal Plan

I thought I would take just a minute and share here how we do meal planning in our home. It isn’t anything really fancy and I can’t share a bunch of spectacular, pinnable recipes with you. But I will share what works for us and maybe you could share what works for you too?!

I enjoy cooking and baking but I get tired of making the decisions about what we are going to have each night. And the reality for us is I need to have something planned/prepped ahead of time or dinner time would be cereal and eggs most nights. We work long hours so crock pot meals or things that I can plan in advance are important!

Coming home {late} and having the kids ask what’s for dinner would frustrate and overwhelm me. So several months ago I sat down and made a list of some of their most favorite meals. Every Saturday we will pull the list out and I will ask one or all of the kids to pick a couple of the meals as options for the following week.

Now when I cook, I make big portions. We always have leftovers. So I don’t need 5 meals to plan. Usually 3 gets us through the week. Yes there may be a night we have a pizza or eggs and cereal, let’s be real it happens. And with all the snow days we have had lately, our leftovers have not lasted as long because we are eating them at lunch too. But for a typical week I plan to prep for 3 meals.

Once they have made their choices I will look to see what ingredients I already have to make those meals, and then add the things I don’t to my shopping list. Anything that I can cook/prep in advance I will do on either Saturday afternoon or Sunday afternoon. I like to brown any hamburger or cook any chicken required on those days so they can be stored, either frozen or refrigerated, depending on how quickly in the week we plan to use them.

I also try to have a couple of freezer meals on hand in the event that we change our mind about a meal or {hello snow days for DAYS} and we need some extras. Right now I have a jumbo shells, tator tot hotdish and a spaghetti ham bake frozen meal that we can use.

On Saturday morning I also always make up a large batch of kodiak cake waffles. I started buying their protein packed pancake mix last year at the recommendation of a friend. My kids adapted quickly to the flavor difference, and I liked that the waffles were a much healthier version than the Eggos I had previously purchased. {Here’s a little tip….add a tsp of vanilla per cup of mix to add a little sweetness/flavor}

I make a full 5 cup package each Saturday and then we cut the waffles into 1/4’s and once they have cooled I freeze the pieces in gallon bags. In the mornings the kids pull out the waffles and rewarm them in the toaster! Easy, healthy, filling breakfast and they typically last all week!

This week we are trying to clean out our freezer a little so we are frying up some walleye today that Dominic caught last spring, having pork roast with carrots and potatoes on Sunday, I am frying up the chicken now that will be used to make white bean chicken chili and we also plan to grill hamburgers and pepperjack brats at some point in the week. We fill in where needed with fruit, rice, and various sides. But this type of planning ahead helps relieve some of my stress when it comes to our meal prep and it allows my kids to be actively involved as well!

Last week it seemed like we ate a lot of pasta so we knew we didn’t want any of that this week! On the week Karlena was in change of picking meal choices, she only wanted pizza….so I had to help come up with some ideas that week! It isn’t a perfect system, but it seems to be working overall for us! How to do meal prep each week?

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