If you're like me and have a crazy busy schedule with work, kids going back to school, sports, 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?
Almost two years ago, I too was in this same dinner 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 microwave 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, Cooking Light 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.
Favorite Blogs - We all have our go to blogs for yummy recipes. I like to print out my favorites and have them handy in a folder. Some of my favorite healthy family blogs include My Plant Based Family , Touch.Eat.Love and Feed Me Dearly to name a few.
(fabulous recipes with a heavy dose of swear words, warning!)
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 Personalized Recipe Box Sets are the perfect addition to your weekly meal planning.
Personalized 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 YOU! These are super handy and have 53 weekly pages per pad to get you through the year.
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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.