I mentioned in my last post that planning out my meals is something that works really well for us right now. To recap: I gathered twelve meals that my family enjoys well enough, and divided them up three per week. So I have four weeks of meals planned out, and on the fifth week I start all over with week one’s meals again.
None of us are foodies or particularly picky, and so far the repetition has been more enjoyable than boring. I like seeing my kids excited about dinner, and trotting out the same well-loved meals over and over means I get to hear a lot of “this is so good!”. And less of “this is not my favorite” (that’s what we taught our kids to say when they don’t like their food).
Without further ado, here are some of our favorites (or a close-enough version I found online):
- Spaghetti and Meatballs (pasta for the kids and spaghetti squash for the adults)
- Broccoli and Cheese Quiche *doubled by adding 2 additional eggs, extra cream, and cheese.
- Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos (I make black beans in the crockpot and freeze them in large batches)
- Shepherds Pie (I top it with sweet potatoes instead of white because- hello- superfood)
- Lasagna Bake
- Beef Stroganoff (I make my own cream-of-whatever soup)
- Chicken Pot Pie (Freeze the filling in large bags, then defrost and top with store-bought pie crust)
- Eggplant Parmesan
- Mexican Lentils and Rice (We eat it as a burrito filling)
I regularly get a bag of frozen Sister Schubert wheat rolls to add to the meal, and roast veggies on the side. Donesies.
I don’t love to cook, but I don’t hate it either. There are usually other things I would prefer to do with my time, so I try to minimize the time I need to be in the kitchen by maximizing the time that I am in there. Does that make sense?
For me this means doubling or tripling almost all of my recipes. If I am going to get out the cutting board and chop onions and carrots for Chicken Pot Pie, I might as well double the recipe and only wash that cutting board once. Next time the meal comes up in our meal rotation, it is waiting for me in the freezer.
The other thing I consider in thinking about meals is how to set us all up for success. By 5:30, we all have lots of factors working against us in the endeavor to enjoy a meal together. My husband has worked a lot of hours. I have too. And sometimes my kids are awesome at that hour and sometimes they are hyper/tired/grouchy/etc. But the goal is to enjoy time together- remember? So I pick meals that will set us up for that, as best as possible. Easy food, that is enjoyed by the majority at the table.
Hope this helps if you have hit a meal-planning wall. It works for us.