Simplifying meal planning

I’m one of those people that enjoys cooking. I love to try a new recipe, love to look over the week and see what I can create to eat based on what’s on sale at the grocery store. But with a baby and a toddler at home life can get a little crazy, and cooking becomes a chore rather than a hobby. For those hectic weeks, I came across a great idea for meal planning. Assign a type of food for each day. For example, Wednesday in my house is “new recipe day” where I try something I have never made before. Friday often ends up being a “choose your own adventure.” or leftovers from the week, night since I do most of my cleaning that day and just don’t feel like messing up a freshly cleaned kitchen. here’s a sample from my last couple weeks that is working fairly well:
Sunday: Grill out (and make extra to slip into Monday’s meal)
Monday: Grilled chicken on salad, venison or steak in a soup, or leftover hamburgers or salmon burgers (if we don’t grill Sunday, Monday is often a vegetarian or bean-based meal)
Tuesday: Soup – with extra to freeze or for leftovers another night
Wednesday: new recipe day! Try something using whatever is on sale at my fave grocery sale, or one of the recipes I clip from a magazine, or from my new favorite cookbook, Gourmet Today

Thursday/Friday:  Family Pizza night – or planned over leftovers depending what day the house is cleaned.

Saturday really varies depending on what we are doing over the weekend, but we like start the day with homemade waffles

Narrowing the options makes it a little easier to plan the week.  For example, before shopping for tuesday’s meal, you can pull out a recipe book and look for a soup you would like to try.  Got extra kidney beans, or is ground beef on sale?  Search www.allrecipes.com for kidney beans or beef and soup and see what recipes come up that have rave reviews.    I save the recipes I find to my online recipe box, and then Tuesday just turn on the computer and start cooking!

Happy planning!

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