I have been making a weekly meal plan for many years now, and have finally decided to post my meal plan on my blog each week! I will do my best to post the meal plan for the following week on Saturday or Sunday, but occasionally a crazy week may prevent me from doing so. I’m sure you’ll understand. Whenever possible, I’ll link to the recipes if they can be found on my blog or elsewhere online.
In my kitchen, I keep a small notebook to record each week’s plan. It’s nice to be able to look back through the notebook to get ideas from past weeks. (I’ll also put notes on the pages ahead when I think of ideas for the upcoming weeks, or when I need to remember to eat that casserole that I stuck in the freezer!) One of the best things about having a plan for the week is that it allows you to then make a grocery list and only shop once for the week.
I find meal ideas in a variety of places. Most often I find recipes in magazines, cookbooks, and on the blogs I read. I also have a set of tried-and-true favorites in my recipe binder. At any given time, I have many, many recipes in my “want to try” file. Some of these recipes are starred in my Google reader, and I keep those that are paper copies in a large Ziploc baggie. (I also have a manila file folder of those that I really want to try soon- I know, I’m a bit of an organizing nut!)
When I’m planning for the week I take the following into account:
- What is our schedule like each day? On worknights or other busy nights, I plan faster, easier meals. I enjoy cooking more complex/time-consuming recipes on my days off.
- I try to include a variety of foods each week. For example, if we’re having chicken one night, maybe the next night we’ll have pasta or beef. I try to include at least one vegetarian meal each week, for both budget and health reasons.
- We usually have at least one “leftovers” night each week. I love those nights when I don’t have to cook, but still have a healthy meal prepared for my family.
- While I’m not always good at this, I do try to check which ingredients we have on hand in the pantry, fridge, or freezer and incorporate those into the meal plan. For example, if I purchased goat cheese for a meal one week, I might try to make good use of the cheese that’s left in a meal the next week.
And here it is…this week’s meal plan!
Tuesday: Spinoccoli Pizza, green salad
Thursday: Chicken Sausage Sandwiches
Friday: Pasta with chicken sausage and vegetables, green salad
Saturday: Family holiday celebration
Treats/Baking: Cherry Cream Cheese Cookies