I have recently started making up two months of meal plans. This has worked really well for our family. I have also made our sides and some bread as well. Here is how I make it happen:
- When I plan this way, I start by printing out two blank calendar pages.
- Then I write in "Pizza Night" on one day (usually Friday's) and then I write "Leftover buffet" on another day. This makes the task not look quite as daunting.
- I try to plan one meal a week to be a good family meal which includes a good meat, some kind of potatoes, vegetable and bread. I put this down on Sunday's but we could have that whatever day is the least busy during the week.
- I then try to decide if I will do some kind of theme for the other days. I often do this so that I don't have chicken two days in a row or something similar two days in a row.
Days of the Week
Then that sparks an idea that I will make Monday's - "Meaty" Monday's. I write that at the top of all of the Monday's.
After that I think that Tuesday's would be a good day for chicken since we are having beef on Monday's. I write chicken above all of the Tuesday's on the calendar.
I decide to put Wednesday's as my "Leftover Buffet" day since we usually go to church on that night and we need something easy. If you rarely have leftovers then you may want this to be a soup and sandwich day or Crock pot day.
Now, for Thursday's, hmmmmmm, I now know I have meatballs to use (from my beef mix) so I think - Italian Thursday's. It is a tough day since my kids do not like pasta but pasta is easy and inexpensive so we do it anyway.
Friday is, of course, my pizza day! We eat it at home or occasionally we order it or go out, either way we have pizza.
Saturday is whatever I want it to be. Last time I seemed to have a pork theme but I don't really have a theme for it. I will just use it to make meals that we like that don't fit the other categories. It might be that we do a grill night for spring/summer and a soup night for fall/winter.
Sunday's - I dream of big Sunday dinners with lots of family and I have tried to make that happen but I think it won't happen until my kids no longer nap. I still plan a big meal on this day because then we just snack around for the other meal of the day.
Now that I have themes and ideas of what I want on each day it makes filling out the meals a little easier. I immediately think about my taco mix that I make. My husband loves it and I can use it for nachos, burritos, quesadillas, tostados or just plain old tacos. This is an easy freezer cooking meal. I know this goes under "Meaty Monday's", so I will fill out the rest of my Monday's. I also look down the row of Monday's and make sure I don't have too many similar meals two weeks in a row. I fill in the other Monday's with easy meals like sloppy joes and such.
I really do try to pick meals based on how much we all like them and then also based on how easy they are to prepare.
Next time I will talk more about how I decide what meals and sides go together, and how I decide what sides and breads to make ahead.
Do you do freezer cooking? If so do you have any good tips to share?