Meals seem to be one of those things I either have to plan to the level of a secret invasion, or the just don’t seem to come together. I find myself either having a plan to fall on or having our weekly meal routine fall apart before it begins. We then wind up ordering take out or going through a drive through and you can write off options that would be reasonably healthy. We eat entirely too many calories and find ourselves feeling over stuffed and in a fast food coma. Yuck! Once in a while is ok, we all get there, but let’s be real, it isn’t good for our waists or our wallets. Seriously, I had my children later in life than most, and things don’t completely go back from whence they come to begin with. I don’t need any more calories than necessary.
So, my entrée plans are below. I have some picky eaters on my hands – Papa Bear is a meat-e-tarian, I’m more of the vegetarian, and teeny and tiny tend to lean towards meat and very specific sides category. Teeny and tiny love apples in any form, green beans, English peas, and beans. Tiny also loves salad – but only crunchy lettuce, not the spinach that is the ONLY green leaf Papa Bear will touch. Now you know why I plan! They drive me nuts with all the preferences, but we have to eat. So, make life a little easier, I try to bulk cook and prep on the weekends. Based on my previous posts on organizing laundry, prepping our lunches for the week, and getting ready for work trips, you guys are going to think I don’t do anything on the weekends other than fold, wrap and cook. Well, you’re right! I do devote a few hours on the weekend to doing a few chores that will make the rest of my week run a little smoother.
Life is all about choices and balance. I spend a little of my weekend getting little tasks done so that when the chaos of the week hits, I have everything I need to make sure the kids are clean, match (the refugee look is so last decade) and eat balanced meals that contain whole ingredients. On the plans below, you will see a little asterisk (*) beside at least two meals per week. Those are the ones that I either put into a Ziploc bag in advance, or made a double batch of so that I could freeze half and have a pre made jewel to help during the week. I do keep the weekends a little looser so that the kids can have some input into the meals, and we do tend try and take advantage of sales and coupons when I shop each week. I also ahead and buy any items that find on special. If I find chicken breasts, ground beef, or other more costly products on sale, I get enough to last me for a month. Sale cycles at our local grocery stores tend to operate on 4 to 6 week cycles. I try to get enough on sale so that I don’t pay retail for it in a pinch. If I have enough in the fridge or freezer to last at least a month at any given time, I can go ahead and plan my monthly entrée plan a bit easier using what is already in my freezer. I then shop based on sales and what is running low so that I am replenishing rather than constantly wondering what to have. Since I only plan 5 meals a week this way, we still have flexibility to eat out once in a while or have something that Papa Bear, Teeny or Tiny happens to want on the fly.
*Chicken Orzo Pasta, Pizza, Leftovers, *Enchilada Pasta, *Lasagna
*Stuffed Shells, Chili, Chili Baked Potatoes, *Chicken Tacos, Chicken Quesadillas
English Pea Casserole, Naan Pizza, Valentine’s Meal (yes, it will be themed!), Sloppy Joes, Pancakes and Bacon
Spaghetti and Meatballs, *Hamburgers, Shepard’s Pie, *Vegi Soup, Left Overs
Crescent Dogs, Sausage and Rice, *Roasted Chicken with Tomato Pesto Pasta, Pork Chops, Left Overs