Making a Meal Plan so it works for you

Thrift Kitchen
Each Thursday I post about ways to be thrifty in the kitchen. To me, it isn’t just about being cheap, it’s about living creatively!

The ArtVend, our Wedding, and vacation have all conspired to bring my excellent meal making and budgeting to a screeching halt. We have been eating out so much. SO much. I’m embarrassed to admit it. Me, the thrifty lady who can cook up a storm.

Everyone has their own way of viewing cooking for your loved ones – some like to, some don’t. For me though, especially because I make so much less than Jason, I feel it’s my job to cook us good food and save us money by doing so. It’s kind of like reverse income. Part of my “income” is how much I can save for us by doing things like cooking, cleaning, gardening, crafting, etc.

Warm fuzzy feelings about loving my family by feeding them well aside, we save money in two ways: actual money saved because we aren’t spending as much to feed us (not super coupon crazy here either, just cooking at home vs eating out) and also money saved on doctor visits because every meal is like a multivitamin.

So after what feels like 18 months straight of not cooking nearly as much as I should, I’m getting right down to it. I’m ready to cook! I’m beyond sick of eating out, no matter how delicious the food.

When I got home from Texas I immediately cleaned out the fridge and went grocery shopping. I took a cue from Average Jane Crafter and posted my meal plan in a public place so Jason could see what we are having for dinner any time for the next week. For me, shopping on Thursday and Monday works well, so my meal plan goes Friday to Sunday and then Monday to Thursday. I like to make room for a veggie/fruit restock before the weekend.

Then I looked at our weekly trends. Jason works out at 5:30 each day, so dinner at 7:15 would be ideal. Lunch at 1pm stepping it back. Then snacks around 11am and 3pm. Breakfast at 8:30 before we start work.

I usually have a meeting or ames group 1t 7pm on Wednesday, so our big meal will be at lunch that day vs dinner. I’ll cue him in on our posted plan which meal I’m cooking and which meal is leftovers.

Rachel and I had a great conversation about easing our way back into cooking on a daily basis, how at first, healthy fixins come second to just getting cookin’. Just make it a habit first, then worry about getting lean and lots of green – though a serving of veggies with every meal is highly recommended.

And that being the case I’m going to spend this week cooking all our favorite least complicated meals. Oh and I really want to try and cook one big meal a day, so anything we don’t eat the next day is going to get packed up in freezer bags for meals later. I’m sure some time over the next 6 months I’ll get into a not wanting to cook funk, so I want to bank this inspired cooking phase for later too!

Here’s what I’m cooking this week:

  • Sauerkraut, Sausage, and Potatoes (recipe post here)
  • Caesar Salad and Salmon with brown rice
  • Tacos with beans and rice on the side (the zatteran’s spanish rice mix is king!) (taco mix recipe here)
  • Stir-fried chicken with broccoli and brown rice
  • Caesar Salad and spaghetti with meat balls
  • Burrito Bowls (link to post)

And then we get to eat out or in once a week. Usually Friday night.

Happy Cooking!
Kristi Roach

4 thoughts on “Making a Meal Plan so it works for you

  1. You might want to check out She has some awesome recipes, and the slow cooker just plain rocks. You could check it out from the library, but I have it right now :)

  2. Oh those potatoes, sausage and sauerkraut look amazing.  Love love love it!

    Also don’t forget to do things like: cook a big pot of beans Monday, have beans and rice Monday, tacos Tuesday, and enchiladas with the remainder of all that Mexican food.  I find that if I plan for leftovers (whoops left my leftovers heating!) it makes it that much easier for me to not succumb to eating out.

    1. Definitely. That’s such a good point. I did get this book about that, and while the concepts were good, I didn’t really like the recipes. I think it’s time I start putting together my own leftover cooking plans :) Today I made the spaghetti and meatballs, but made a triple batch of the meatballs and will freeze about 3/4 of them for later. Hmm, I’ll have to come up with a strategy for next week using the leftovers plan. Maybe I’ll start with a huge batch of chicken. I already am planning on chicken and dumplings, chicken and apple salad sandwiches. Anyway, I’m digressing when I have a post to finish for yesterday :) Where is that dang frame!

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