I've always resisted weekly meal planning. I've done it before, but I hate feeling so, I don't know, obligated to follow my menu. I hate feeling boxed in. I like the idea of planning out our family's dinners for the week. Sophia returned to school today and I want to feel more organized and less rushed.
Over the weekend I realized that if I don't attempt to start dinner during Jaxson's nap, I won't be able to spend time hanging out with Sophia after school. Instead I would be running around attempting to juggle dinner, homework, and the kids.
So I thumbed through some new cookbooks and picked out some meals for this week. I'm not going to set specific days to cook them but will use it like a buffet menu. I'll decide the night before so I can defrost anything if I need to.
My plan is to either do most of the prep work or most of cooking during when Jaxson naps, about a hour or so. Since I already went grocery shopping before I decided to meal plan, here's my criteria for this week's meals:
- Meals should take no more than 30-45 minutes of active time (prep and cooking)
- If possible, use what's in my pantry or from my CSA. I don't want to go the grocery store and will substitute if I can
- Meals can be partially cooked during naptime and finished afterschool
- And of course they need to be healthy and hopefully kid friendly
- At least one meatless or vegetarian meal (I have mostly chicken in the freezer so I don't want us to grow tired of chicken)
This week's naptime cooking menu (page numbers are for my benefit so I can refer to the recipe):
- From The Naptime Chef by Kelsey Banfield
- Chicken Curry (page 130) with rice and veggies
- Chicken Sausage and Tortellini Soup (page 92)
- Butternut squash and ginger apple cider soup (page 96)
- From Savory Sweet Life by Alice Currah
- Gingerbread Pumpkin Waffles-yay, breakfast for dinner! (page 202)
- Thai marinated chicken skewers (page 86)
- From Parents Need to Eat Too by Debbie Koenig
- Abigail's Super-Simple Cheesy Rice and Beans (page 240)
- My old stand-bys
- Lighter Sesame Chicken from Everyday Food magazine (a hit with the kids) w rice and green beans
- Mac and cheese, from a box but I always doctor it
- Sweep the fridge pasta: pasta with veggies and meat with a butter sauce
Yes, that's more than 7 meals for a week, but I'm a Libra. I like having options. If this week works out, then I'll try to plan out my menu earlier so I can shop for groceries with them in mind.
Do you plan our your meals? I'd love to hear how you do it!
I received the review copies of the above mentioned cookbooks. I pay for my own subscription to Everyday Food magazine. This post contains affiliate links.