A couple years after Jim and I got married, I started meal planning for us. I was inspired by my friends, Audrey and Jana, who always seemed to be on top of their game. To this day, I love running into Audrey at the grocery store – she’s still at it – clipboard and all! With their encouragement, I started meal planning with two goals; to save money on grocery shopping and to learn how to cook a proper dinner. Over the years we have developed a pretty solid family menu based on some of the favorites we sampled when we were just starting out. Meal plans can be intimidating, especially if cooking isn’t really your thing.
I stumbled across THIS wonderful idea a month or so ago for meal planning and it’s a game changer. This approach does most of the thinking for you. In the end, all you have to do is make a decision. Huge shout out to Toni over at A Bowl Full of Lemons for the great idea! Here’s our spin on it.
Jim and I typed up a simple list of all the meals we have cooked and enjoyed in the last six months and made one column for the main dish and another column for the sides. After printing the list, we went through and chose five meals we wanted to eat for the week.
I then used these Post-it flags to highlight our chosen meals. Each color is a different night of the week. Next week, I’ll take off the flags and we’ll start over. Easy, right?!
Typically, I plan the meals and do the shopping and Jim cooks. This was not always the case, but with the girls now, it’s more efficient for me to keep them busy and out of the kitchen while Jim masterfully puts our meals together in record time and with minimal dishes. Does anyone else cook with every single dish, pan and utensil like me? It’s so pathetic — but ahhhh FOODBORNE ILLNESS! I might kill someone! I drive Jim (rightfully) crazy with this.
With the extra daylight and wonderful produce that comes with Summer, I always seem to be more keen on trying new recipes when the weather starts to warm. With the days stretching longer now, I find myself itching to try something new.
So, if you have any go-to meals you don’t see on this list that are somewhat healthy and easy to prepare, drop me a line in the comments! I would love to hear what’s working for you. And If there are any recipes you would like me to share in the list above – please let me know! I’d be happy to.
— In my kitchen —
In case you were looking to source any of the items above, see the links below.
(Those blue plates are melamine – not stone! Perfect for Summer.)
1. Mosaic Design Plate • Target // 2. Lattice Placemat • Bed Bath & Beyond // 3. Hammered Flatware Set • Bed Bath & Beyond // 4. Herringbone Napkins • Anthropologie // 5. Pint Mason Jars • Cost Plus World Market // 6. Blue Artisan Dinner Plates • Target
[Photos by Gagewood]