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Has the time crunch got you stressed when it comes to meal time?
Well stress no more. We have your back and some simple, easy meal suggestions to help you get started.
Meal planning basics.
Meal planning is not as hard as you think and to make it much easier I suggest using the same calendar you use for your family activities and appointments.
I personally meal plan two weeks at a time but you can plan a week, a month or a few days at a time whatever is easiest for you.
In the beginning take count of what you have in the fridge, the freezer and the pantry. No special shopping or food preparation here.
Day by day write down on your calendar or in your planner what meals you have stock for. Right now we are focusing on dinner meals but you may want to plan breakfast, lunch and dinner.
For example a simple dinner plan might be: Monday – spaghetti, Tuesday – chicken noodle soup and Wednesday might be grilled spinach, cheese and tomato sandwiches. Your options are endless.
The key is to know what you have in the house for ingredients and write your meal ideas down. The night or day before each meal take out anything that needs to be defrosted or prepared.
Tips and ideas that work.
Keep it simple and use what you have. Plan meals you know your family will eat and enjoy. There is no point in spending time and money on food and meals your family won’t eat.
Like I noted before use the same calendar you use for scheduling everything else just make a small note each day with the meal ideas you want to prepare.
Stock your pantry with basics like rice, beans, soup broths, pastas and other foods your family will eat. We keep our freezer stocked with different forms of meats and vegetables for easy meal planning.
Get creative if you have a bunch of leftovers have a buffet style meal. If all you have in the fridge is eggs, cheese a few slices of meat and vegetables plan an omelette or frittata style dinner.
I am big on saving money and keeping it simple. Use what you have, get creative and make mealtime fun.
Two weeks of meal ideas to get you started:
- Chili & Corn Bread
- Breakfast For Dinner
- Pulled Pork & Sides
- Pork Sliders & Salad
- Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese
- Homemade Pizza
- Roast Chicken & Sides
- Homemade Chicken Soup
- Chicken Alfredo & Pasta
- Quiche Or Frittata
- Grilled Chicken Breasts & Your Favorite Side
The meal ideas listed above are based on purchasing ground beef, a roasting chicken, chicken breasts, a pork roast and using pantry staples.
The ideas also work with the cook once use twice idea such as using the pulled pork the next day in sliders or in pulled pork mac and cheese.
We are looking to make meal time simple, easy and less stressful. If these ideas don’t work for you use recipes that do.
I just want to note in our personal family meal plan we allow a couple of days here and there for leftovers, simple soup and sandwich meals and the occasional big family get together style meal.
Items to help you speed up meal time.
You have exactly 45 minutes to get dinner on the table before you start your evening routine or before you need to get to activities. Is there anything that can help you speed up meal time preparations?
Yes! Investing in an Instant Pot can help speed up meal time. You simple put all your ingredients in, set it and dinner is done.
I love using our Instant Pot. Frozen chicken breasts are done in 15 minutes and ready to use in fajitas or chicken salad.
Another great item to help you with meal time is a great meal plan. MyFreezEasy is the one our family uses and they have great meal suggestions.
Meal planning and saving money.
Meal planning can save you hundreds of dollars and help you use what you have in the pantry.
In fact meal planning and skipping the drive thru was one of the first things our family did when we reorganized our financial life.
You can read about the 21 things we stopped buying to save over $1000 a month.
Aside from the monthly savings meal planning takes the stress out of dinner time. I don’t worry anymore about what’s for dinner because I know.
I know I have all the ingredients I need to get dinner on the table in under 30 minutes and my family is eating healthy nutritious meals.
If meal time and planning still has you stressed I suggest you take a look at MyFreezEasy for meal ideas, recipes and more. Their plans are amazing and they even have gluten free options.
It is time to stress less about meal time and spend more time doing what you love.
Have an amazing day,
Saving & Simplicity