Wednesday, May 25, 2016

My Method of Meal Planning and What We Ate Last Week

I thought it would a fun post to share how I plan out my dinners for the week. Menu planning is essential in our family because I don't like the feeling of not knowing what's for dinner and I feel more at ease when I have everything decided for the week; that way when I go grocery shopping I avoid buying unnecessary ingredients and not wasting food is such a rewarding feeling! However, if I'm being honest I don't always have a clear idea what to cook on the weekends, those days are either leftover central or something really simple like a grilled cheese or BLT sandwiches or if my in-laws are free we use it as an opportunity to go on a date!

So here's how my planning usually goes.

  • On a Saturday I’ll take out a notepad and pen, write down: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Sometimes we eat leftovers in between days, so I usually cook 3-4 dinners a week. Leftovers are wonderful and should not be underestimated because as much as I love to cook, life gets busy!!
  •  I seek some inspiration. If I’m having a hard time choosing meals for the week I’ll pick up an issue of Bon Appetit, Every day with Rachael Ray, or Real Simple and check out their recipes. Or I’ll just go onto Pinterest or The Kitchn blog. Sometimes I don’t even use the recipe’s I find but get inspired by the ingredients and flavor profiles.
  • I use meal templates. A meal template is like a formula for a meal. For example: fish or chicken + grain or starchy vegetable + roasted vegetable, homemade pizza + salad, tofu/beans stir fry + grains, etc. I like cooking at least one meatless meal a week to save a little money and because sometimes I need a break from eating meat. I like to use meal templates because they help me stay focused, adapt a well-balanced meal and at the same time be changed based on what we're in the mood for. 
  • and sometimes I’ll ask Michael if he has any requests! :)
  • We typically go grocery shopping on a Sunday afternoon. Most of the time it’s just Whole Foods, sometimes we go to Costco and Whole Foods! My husband is such a trooper and helps keep Lydia entertained while I do my thang. I don’t know where I would be without him;)
  • On Sunday evening I schedule the meals for each day of the week and because I’m a silly girl who thinks I own a cafĂ© I write down the first dinner on our chalkboard wall. 
And that’s it! Hope I can inspire you by sharing what we ate last week based off of my own little method:


Turkey Meatloaf with Batata Fries and Roasted Asparagus

Tuesday and Wednesday:

Pork Chops with Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower and Tostones


Black Bean Burgers with Smoked Gouda Cheese and Sauteed Baby Broccoli with Spinach


Grilled Coconut Lime Honey Shrimp, Mango Salsa, Coconut Rice and Blackberry Margaritas to drink. (A rare Friday that I cooked)

I was feeling ambitious last weekend and actually cooked Saturday evening too, the thing is I didn't photograph any of it. My bad it was a late dinner!! We had roasted Korean glazed chicken wings, leftover coconut rice and mango salsa. And on Sunday we ate leftover wings, only I had to make more rice so I made ginger brown rice and huge kale salad. Deeelish!

How do you plan your meals for the week?

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