Do you know what one of the great things about meal planning is? Other than saving time and money, you can use this system at any point in the week, to get on track with meals. For the past five weeks, we’ve been sick and went on two trips, so what’s for dinner has varied. Guess what? It’s okay. Thanks to my husband, I’ve learned to not get overwhelmed when meal plans don’t work out exactly as I wanted.
As a perfectionist, this can be hard. I truly love cooking for my family – cooking brings me joy. I also like the order meal planning brings to my everyday life. When I can’t cook and it’s not planned, I get frustrated. This doesn’t happen much but my point is – plan, but let life happen too. So yeah, life happened for us and I had to let things be. But, now we are getting back to a normal routine and meal planning is in place. I’m sharing what’s for dinner below.
Lasagna + Garlic Bread
This lasagna recipe doesn’t take long but it makes a lot. I also use this lasagna recipe often as well. Because lasagna makes a lot of food for my family of four, I normally cook it when I know we will have time to enjoy it. Of course, we always include cheesy/garlic bread, as well as salad, to go along with this meal. Feel free to use “healthier for you” options when you can. Wheat lasagna noodles, heart-healthy cooking oil, and ground turkey are all simple changes you can make. Company coming over? Lasagna could be a great homemade option to feed two families.
Beef Pot Roast + Mashed Potatoes + Green Beans
For many years now, my husband’s favorite meal that I make is beef pot roast. He loves it with homemade mashed potatoes (that’s the only way I know how to make them) and green beans. It’s normally a meal I reserve for the weekends so I can really cook it with love. However, I have been known to make it mid-week too. But I will then take a shortcut like serve it with rice, which makes me apologize. So, I try to give it the needed time it deserves and fix it just like he likes it. I dredge the roast in flour, brown on all sides, add carrots celery, onions, and garlic. Then I make a gravy (or use two brown gravy packets) and boil (plus add water as needed) until tender. Once the roast starts to get tender (it all depends on the size), I let it simmer. If you don’t have a signature roast recipe – give Ina Garten’s Company Pot Roast a shot. I’ve cooked it many times minus the shallots and brandy (I use red wine instead). Roast is a great Sunday dinner meal that will please the whole family. I hope to capture my recipe one day too.
Chicken Fried Rice
Chicken fried rice is becoming my kid’s favorite meal. I’ll probably have to fix it twice this week (or maybe I did already). It uses only a few ingredients and I can adjust it to the kids liking. You will need soy sauce ( I buy the reduced sodium version) and sesame oil for this recipe. One thing I love about this recipe is how quick it is to make. As long as my rice is ready to go, I can make this meal in under 30 minutes. The one tip I will give you is use leftover rice or make the rice hours in advance. This will save you time, plus remove the moisture from the rice. Because of the sesame oil, soy sauce, and water sauce you add to the rice, you want your rice to be cool and not mushy. I just love that this is a favorite meal for both kids. I always feel like I’m having a Mom win!
Another great thing about meal planning is the ability to schedule in not cooking or getting takeout into your plan. Yes, I said it – plan for takeout! The kids will be with the babysitter while we are away for a day conference so takeout is in order for this day. I’m already planning on ordering pizza for lunch and that will give them (always offer to feed your awesome babysitter too) more than enough to snack on until we return home. Brandon can grab a slice of pizza to-go and I’ll be eating my healthy meal prep meal for lunch and possibly dinner. Whatever you like for takeout will do and pizza always works. Momma has no plans to cook on this day and that’s completely okay.
Healthy Lunch Prep: Sheet Pan Sausage + Veggies
About 3 weeks ago, I started meal prepping one healthy meal per day, for myself. You can read a little about why I’m choosing to do this right here. I’ve bought a few cookbooks, as well as, I’ve been doing research for months now. There is nothing radical I’m doing – just trying to slowly help my body feel better. Nutrition is a great way to heal our bodies from disease so I’m taking it with stride. On Sundays, I cook 5-7 meals that revolve around healthier grains, fresh fish or better meat options, and lots of vegetables. This week, I’ll be trying this Healthy Sheet Pan Sausage and Veggies recipe. In addition, I’ll be adding in brown rice to my meals. I hope to explore more with different grains but have really been enjoying the brown rice switch. So why meal prep?
By meal prepping, I can cook my healthy meal before the week starts and eat it whenever I’d like. When you meal prep, you can make as many meals as you need for the week or just one meal per day. If you work away from home, you can grab it and go. I take all my ingredients from my healthy meal prep and place them in these meal prep containers. What I love about these containers is the ease of use. They can be put in the microwave (buy glass containers if you’d like too) and are dishwasher safe. Also, they really help with portion control. I’ve been using these Good Cook meal prep containers for 3 weeks and think they are great and affordable.
Here’s the general meal plan for the week. As always, I hope to spark a meal idea for one other busy family. If you’re just getting started with meal planning – Download my Free E-Book to help you get started. There is no right or wrong way to get dinner on the table, however, I’ve found that having a system in place helps a ton. If you need more dinner ideas, search “dinner” on the blog.