Over the last few months, I have made meal planning a priority. I usually do it on Sundays. I look through Pinterest for new recipe ideas with my morning coffee. This way I know I will not be making the same thing over and over again--it seriously feels like that sometimes. There are staples that are always rotated through my menu, like oven-baked chimichangas and grilled ribeye with onion, bleu cheese sauce, but I like to rotate in a few new items, too. And ensure I am not making some kind of mexican dish every night (I love mexican food!).
Last week I had a full week of meals to plan. And thanks to Katie from Keep Calm & Carry on, I discovered Budget Bytes. I spent longer than I want to admit on the site, looking through all of the recipes. Not only are they all budget friendly, but they are super easy and most take less time than you'd expect (which is great when I get home from work and don't feel like doing anything except putting my (swollen) feet up).
Seriously, meal planning has saved me so much time and energy (driving home, wondering... WHAT am I going to make for dinner? Then stopping at the store and getting home later than usual. Oh yeah, and the gym... what's that? I think I forgot where it is...). I do a little prep on Sunday evenings, but nothing that takes too much time. I mostly hard boil eggs (for quick breakfasts) and cut up veggies and fruit so I can easy grab them on my way out the door.
Most of the time is deciding what I want to make over the next week (getting a little variety, or at least trying), making the list and getting to the store. The actual shopping is pretty quick since I know exactly what I need and have a list.
I highly recommend meal planning to save time, stress and money (less eating out!).
Last week's menu:
Monday: Split Pea, Bacon & Potato Soup
This soup turned out super thick. I would recommend having a few extra cups of chicken broth on hand. Otherwise, the flavor was awesome and it was super filling. I paired it with some tortilla chips because I didn't have any gluten free bread on hand. The time to prepare it was a little longer than I would have liked. I'd recommend making this when you have a little extra time (40 minutes or so).
Tuesday: Sausage and Kale Skillet
This was definitely a keeper. I will make this dish again. There were few ingredients, making grocery shopping super easy and the flavor exploded (I didn't use any seasonings, the flavor from the sausage is all you need!).
Wednesday: Husband was out of town, so I ate leftover soup.
Thursday: Chicken Peanut Sauce
I am a big fan of peanut sauce, but this one didn't strike my fancy. There was something missing and I couldn't put my finger on what exactly it was. Salt? Curry? All I know is that I have had better.
Friday: Honey Srirchacha Chicken Thighs (I used chicken breasts)
This recipe was really good, I will definitely make it again. It yields a lot of sauce (I like it saucy!) and the sriracha flavor is strong--I love sriracha!
A couple of things on the menu for this week... Mediterranean quinoa bake and Olive Garden copycat zuppa toscana soup.
Do you meal plan? What are your go-to recipes?