Friday, November 2, 2012

30-day Challenge: Week 1- Meal Plan

...Setting Up a Weekly Meal Plan
So yesterday we tackled the exciting task of organizing our recipes!!  What a great start to this challenge!  So now we can go ahead and move towards creating a weekly meal plan.  All you need for this project is your computer and a cup of coffee... (decaf for me please!)...or whatever other beverage of choice. :)


What is a Meal Plan? 
A meal plan is an organized schedule of meals to be made in a given week, month, etc.  Inevitably it's a way for busy moms such as myself to successfully utilize my shopping trips to make sure we make and eat everything we purchase.

Why make a Meal Plan? 
Hm...maybe some of these reasons will get you on board.
- Save money at the grocery store since you're only purchasing what you need...and in the correct quantity!
- In turn, you'll be throwing out less waste since there's no extra food in the fridge to go bad. :)
- Avoid the infamous, "What's for dinner?" and "I'm starving"
- Avoid the stress of trying to whip something up last min.
- Spend more time with the family. Having everything planned, prepped and ready to go gives you some extra down time to spend with those you love!

How to make a Meal Plan
Some people are ambitious enough to plan out an entire month!... we're just going to focus on a week. You can google "Meal Plan Template" and find oodles of sheet templates for planning out a weekly meal plan..I'm serious...there are a ton out there!  A couple of my favorite downloads are from Jen @ IHeartOrganizing (Purchase here) and The Project Girl (Download here and here).  I love them because they have the grocery list attached...so as you plan, you can jot down what you need to pick up at the store!  If you're ambitious enough...create your own. (Check out  Microsoft Office online for other templates to play around with!)
For now we'll use the meal planner from The Project Girl.

Sit down with your Organized recipes in the kitchen and go through which ones you'd like to try out for the week pick and choose a couple quick and easy or family favorites.  The ones that you can prep ahead of time or cook while you're gone for the day should be flagged for great meal planner options.  I personally choose to cook 2-3 times a day and leave the other days for leftovers and 1 for going out to eat. 

So for example here's what my week is looking like....

I took into consideration the following: 
Theme it Up!:  Taco Tuesday...Italian Thursday...Pizza Friday... do themes that will help narrow down some choices and give you an opportunity to throw in some family favorites.

Quantity of items: I scheduled english muffin sandwiches for three days a week (Pack of 6...2 made each day).  The carrots will be used up in salad and Beef Roast on Sunday.  

Utilizing leftovers: From the crockpot chicken on Monday...the leftovers will be used to make quesadillas and soup on Tuesday! 

What I have on hand: I tried using recipes I already had the ingredients for!  We have meat stocked in our freezer as well as canned veggies and soup mixes in the pantry. 

Print and Save:  Maybe later on you can revisit this past week's menu...just save it for those "post vacation" weeks to save the hassle of sitting down and planning. :)
Continuing with this week's challenge we'll cover food prep and freezer meals on Tuesday... which make dinner making a breeze! 
Now that you have your grocery list put together, you're ready to get some coupons and save some mad $$$!  The process seems a little crazy at a glance, but trust me, it's super easy!  You'll wonder how you could have paid full price for everyday items before. :)

Get ready for Couponing 101 on Monday!!! 


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{How to Participate}

1) Copy Paste the Button (Right column-->) in a blog post of your own.  Let your followers know you're participating in an awesome challenge and encourage them to join in as well!

2) Dedicate one day a week to blog about your progress... post the link on my page so that I can feature it on my blog!

{Grab a Button and Get Challenged!}

4 comments:

  1. Thanks Kathy, this was really helpful. I am loving the challenges :-)

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    Replies
    1. Oh P.S. do you mind sharing your crockpot whole chicken recipe??

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    2. Will do... on Tuesday! :) Thanks for participating!

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  2. Meal planning makes life so much easier! I need to force myself to do it more often because although it's a pain to sit down and do it, it makes life so much easier.

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