Happy Friday everyone! Today I'm going to let you in on a little secret weapon I've been using for over a year.
If you're like me and have a crazy busy schedule with work, kids, life... then you're in for a treat. When it comes to nightly dinner time, who has the energy to come up with something to cook? Often times you'll find yourself going to the grocery store way too many times, spending too much money or eventually find your family eats out a bit too much. When did dinner time become so stressful?
Over a year ago I too was in this same dinner time boat and finally got fed up and TOOK CONTROL! I decided that I needed a plan and a good plan. It is my job and contribution to my family to cook ( you all know I am a bit of a Foodie anyway) not just defrost Stouffer's, but to offer tasty meals that are healthy and easy to make. Easy being the key because at the end of the day, energy levels are low.
Here are a few steps that I take and tools that I use when making my family's Weekly Meal Plan...
1 Hour, 1 Day a Week - Allow yourself at least 1 hour of uninterrupted time a week to put your weekly menu together. This is the first step in taking the stress out of meal time. I personally use Sunday mornings, before anyone is up. Grab my coffee and I'm ready to get to work.
Get Inspired - Since you have to cook, might as well make it something you really want to eat, right? Gather up all of your favorite magazines, recipes and blogs and take a look at what you feel like eating that week. I have a monthly subscription to Taste of Home and Clean Eating Magazines. I find these recipes super easy for weeknights and family friendly. Also since I live in the South, we have Publix grocery stores. These stores offer their own easy weeknight recipes called Publix Aprons. You can access these delicious and easy dinner recipes all online too.
Apps - Not an appetizer, but how about an App to help get you inspired with weekly dinner menus? Hands down my favorite is E meals . For just $5 a month, they send me an email that has 7 complete dinner recipes that are super easy to make. Many plans to choose from to suit your family needs, we are on the Paleo Plan. Plus they have a FREE 2 week trial, check it out here E meals. The app allows you to pull up the plan right from your phone or iPad. I like to print the weekly plans out and write down my favorites onto recipe cards.
Favorite Cookbooks - I have too many cookbooks to count, but when it comes to the ones I go to time and time again for healthy and quick dinner ideas I really love Nom Nom Paleo (fun blog too) Against All Grain and The Paleo Kitchen.
Oldies But Goodies - Have a bunch of family favorite recipes creating a huge paper mess in your kitchen? Why not get them all organized nicely in once place? InkSpot Workshop's NEW Personalized Recipe Box Sets are the perfect addition to your weekly meal planning.
What's Cooking Recipe Box Set from InkSpot Workshop
Write It Down - Now that you have found some recipes and your tummy is rumbling, it's time to get everything down on paper. I designed InkSpot Workshop's NEW Weekly Meal Planning Notepads for myself and now they're for available for pre-sale (delivering in March) now. These are super handy and have 53 pages, to get you through the year.
First I look at my family's schedule and see the type of dinner I should make if any at all. For example, if my son has a football game or practice that lasts late, I should look for a crock pot recipe and dinner will be ready for us all when we walk in the door. If the hubs and I have a date night, dinner will have to be super quick and something I can feed them before we leave or the sitter can handle. It may even be left overs from the night before.
The left side of the Weekly Menu Planner is where I write down "notes" such as practice, date night, etc... as well as the dinners we are going to have each night. I also write down the recipe source and page number for quick reference.
As you write down your menu, be sure to write down the ingredients on the right hand side of the page. Grocery categories are listed for you to make grocery shopping a cinch!
Guess What? You're ALL DONE! Now you have taken some stress out of your week and won't have to make any unnecessary trips to the grocery store. You'll have a tasty, healthy week of dinners planned and all the ingredients right at your fingertips.
I hope you find this helpful! If you have some great dinner time tips, please comment below. Also be sure to subscribe via email (found on the right side of my blog) for my favorite recipes. Bon Appetit.