Welcome back to my series on meal planning, dear readers. No need to have been following along from the beginning, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least point you toward my original meal planning post, if you’re so inclined.
I’m going to say something completely crazy. There is no right way to meal plan. There is no one way to meal plan. If there was, we wouldn’t all feel the need to write zillions of blog posts and make oodles of cute printables about it. But rather than give you a bunch of vague guidelines and tell you to adapt them, I want to get specific in terms of some different approaches to planning ahead. First up, me! I plan a week at a time.
I have a pretty set weekly schedule. Gooplet and I do more or less the same activities on the same days. And I have a similar evening schedule from week to week as well. I used to make one weekend stop at the grocery store to cover us for 7 whole days, but now that there are 3 of us eating, instead of just 2, I’m there all the time. I’m not in a groove yet, and I doubt I will be as the little one keeps growing and eating more.
Let me walk you through this week, a totally crazy one in terms of life-happenings. Stay tuned for more weeks’ plans, and a closer look at how I figure out what to fill in each dinner slot.
Most Mondays, I’m home for dinner, but I’m not home right beforehand to prep it. I was going to ask my husband to grill some pork (pre-marinated) from Trader Joes, but we scrapped that idea when we realized how late he’d have to grill because of his own schedule, so he ate leftovers from a slow cooker meal last week, and I grazed on whatever I could find before heading out the door again.
This Tuesday I’m gone before dinner even happens, so my husband is left to fend for himself again. He’ll likely have more leftovers. All this eating what’s already there is working in my favor, as I hope to wipe down our fridge this week – it needs it! But I am nervous that after today we won’t have much of anything left.
Wednesday I’m gone before dinner, but will be home to eat it. During naptime, I’ll prep Parmesan Ranch Chicken, and stick it in the fridge for my husband to bake later. He’ll probably cook rice to go with it, and we’ll steam some broccoli.
The fate of my Thursday evening is still up in the air. I know I have a couple of possible plans, but haven’t quite worked out the kinks to know my schedule. This is a perfect slow cooker day. I’ll make cassoulet, but probably sub out the pork ribs and add carrots instead.
By Friday, we’re almost always exhausted from the rest of the week, and we’ve got a kids’ baseball game to go to right around dinner time. This means one of us will put Gooplet to bed, and another will stick something from the Trader Joe’s freezer section in the oven. Potstickers are sounding good. I could do a whole post on what Trader Joe’s frozen foods that are always on hand in this house.
Saturday feels so far away right now! I’m pulled in 3 directions this week and will likely be out from 9-6 that day. I need something that will be ready when I walk in the door. Another slow cooker day! Looking at this slow cooker chicken barbecue, which is a recipe Cari Faye shared.
Sunday. Ahhhhh, Sunday. I don’t know. It’s my husband’s job to grill something, and I will gladly purchase whatever meat he wants.
If that seems complicated, it’s because life is complicated and we have a lot going on this week. They secret to this week, though, is that almost everything is make ahead. And the two slow-cooker nights are practically no prep nights. Make meal planning work for you!