Today I'm starting a new series on the blog. Whether you have a huge family at home or you live by yourself cooking at home on weeknights after a long day of work isn't always the easiest thing to do. I'm here to make that just a little bit easier!
Every Monday I'll be sharing a new meal plan geared at easy recipes for weeknight meals. While many of the recipes will be for main dishes I'll also be suggesting side dishes and sharing several bonus recipes including desserts, appetizers, a complex weekend meal, or even breakfast ideas.
If you are new to menu planning start with Monday through Friday dinner. Take stock of what you already have in your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator and what you would like to use.
From there I like to pick an entree for each day making sure not to repeat any protein. In my family we usually do one beef recipe, one pork recipe, one chicken recipe, one vegetarian recipe, and one pasta recipe. Of course some weeks we might do chicken or beef twice or have a vegetarian dish twice.
After choosing the entrees I tend to look at the sales ads for the markets that I go too. Most weeks I go to two different grocery stores on Sunday so I always start menu planning Friday night or Saturday morning so I'm ready to go on Sunday.
If there is some good produce on sale I find side dish recipes to go with those then I match the side dish recipes to the main dishes. I try to have a protein, a starch, and a vegetable with every meal. Some dishes are easy as stir fry goes with rice, our Mexican entrees go with rice or refried beans, and soups go with rolls or bread.
After coming up with ideas for all five days I make a grocery list. I also write down what we are having each day so that everyone in my house knows and it's not a surprise to them. Menu planning has saved me so much time at night and has saved me so much money because we rarely have any food go to waste now. I only buy what we are eating for the week or things that can go in the freezer or pantry.
Now, I'm excited to start this week off with a few of my favorite weeknight meals. There's a chicken recipe that kids and adults will love, a hearty pasta ready in no time at all, a pizza recipe that you can tailor to your own tastes, and a decent steak dinner for two in case you are looking for a quiet Valentine's Day at home.
In addition to main dishes for Monday through Friday I'll be including three side dish recipes, three dessert recipes, and a few bonus recipes. This week some of the extra recipes include a fun fondue recipe which can be used as an appetizer or for dinner and a few recipes for Valentine's Day.
Which recipe are you most excited about making? If you make one (or more!) of these recipes don't forget to take a picture and share on social media while tagging me!