I am SO SO SO SO excited about today. We’re still talking all things meal planning, but today it’s not me rambling at you, it’s CARI FAYE! Cari Faye, of not-cooking fame! She’s sharing some insight on her own meal planning process, which is vastly different from mine. Because, again, say it with me now, there is no right way to meal plan! I plan every week. Cari Faye plans by the month.
As someone who is a picky eater (scratch that – I have a discriminating palate), meal planning is an easy task. There are only so many things I’m willing to eat, and even fewer things I’m willing to spend time in the kitchen preparing/cooking/etc. Our weeks usually go as follows – Sunday night through Wednesday night is home cooked meals. Thursday night is some grab bag assortment of stuff from the freezer (I’m talking frozen ravioli, bagel bites, chicken nuggets – total kid food) and the Friday night and Saturday night are reserved for carry out. Home cooked meals for 4 nights equates to 2 different meals with leftovers for 2 nights. As someone who finds cooking to be a total chore, this makes it more manageable by only cooking every other night.
2 different meals = 1 meal of chicken and 1 meal of beef. My beef recipes include meatloaf and meatballs. My chicken recipes include gourmet things like shake and bake and corn flake chicken. There’s 2 weeks worth of dinners right there. The third week is usually baked ziti week – a meal that lasts for 3 nights instead of 2 (score!!) and my husband’s favorite. That week we have an extra night of carry out (my favorite). And then we start back over again in week 4.
In the summer, we get to rotate in things like hamburgers and grilled chicken, which I love because it’s tasty AND I don’t do the grilling (although this means I’m the one cleaning dishes; everything in life is a trade off). In the winter, the slow cooker is used ALL. THE. TIME. BBQ chicken, coke chicken, any chicken recipe I can find. Yes, the only thing I cook in my slow cooker is chicken (told you I had a discriminating palate).
After giving birth to our daughter and going back to work full time, I decided I really did not even want to spend 2 nights a week cooking dinner. I now take 1 weekend a month and spend a day preparing enough meals to put in the freezer to last for a month. This seems to be working well. While defrosting meatballs and microwaving them isn’t quite as tasty as the freshly cooked version, it’s so much easier for us right now. And easy = winning.