One of my favorite days of the week is Sunday. Sleeping in, going to church, coffee and the newspaper, farmers market, grocery shopping, phone calls with the parents and in-laws, and weekly menu planning!
Along with trying to have a fully stocked pantry, a key to being prepared is planning out our meals for the week. This helps, not only with planning leftovers, but with fewer stops at the grocery store during the week and taking advantage of sales and coupons. We are then well prepared to deal with the week ahead until the next lazy Sunday!
I gather together food magazines, cookbooks, recipes I pinned on Pinterest and make three lists for the week. The first is each day with an l for lunch and d for dinner (breakfast is always oatmeal with raisins and walnuts for both of us), the second is a list of to-dos with each day of the week, and the third is a shopping list. The list usually are scratched out as I move meals around based use of ingredients, accounting for weekly schedules, and altering based on the weather forecast. If it is hot I like to condense my cooking time and either grill outside or try to use the oven for a bunch of meal preparation at once.
Here is my plan for this week so you can get an idea of how I try to plan ahead. I hope you can use these tricks to make better use of your time in the kitchen and to stop asking “what are we having for dinner tonight”?
lunch- leftover black bean burgers from weekend
dinner- steak (on sale), quinoa (from pantry), frozen broccoli (in freezer)
lunch- peanut butter and jelly pitas (pitas made last week and frozen), leftover broccoli from Sunday
dinner- steak tacos (leftover steak from Sunday, make corn tortillas, cook up green peppers), rice and beans (from pantry and cooked and frozen), frozen veggies
lunch- salad/pita for hubby, work meeting for me with lunch provided
dinner- quiona and greens patties (leftover quinoa from Sunday and greens from our garden that we froze), sweet potato salad (leftover sweet potato from last week, other ingredients on hand in pantry or garden minus the green pepper), and frozen veggies
lunch-leftover quinoa patties, sweet potato salad, and veggies
dinner- grilled chicken (bought chicken in bulk and freeze in 2-3 servings), grilled zucchini and squash (bought this week)
lunch- homemade “Chiptole” bowls with leftover grilled chicken from Wednesday and rice and beans from Monday
dinner- turkey Thai lettuce wraps (ingredients on hand: peanut butter, soy sauce, frozen edamame, carrots; bought: ground turkey and lettuce)
lunch- “cobb” salad with leftover lettuce, grilled chicken, bacon from sweet potato salad, and hard boiled eggs
dinner- leftvoer Thai turkey wraps for the hubby, work event for me
apples, bananas, whole pineapple for fruit for the week
bulk tri-colored quinoa to restock the pantry
tea (to restock the fridge)
coffee (to restock our supply)
green peppers (for tacos and sweet potato salad)
cucumbers (for snacks)
squash and zucchini (to go with chicken)
whole romaine lettuce (for salads on Tuesday and Friday and Thai turkey wraps)
peanut butter, soy sauce, oats, milk, orange juice (to restock pantry supplies)
ground turkey (for Thai turkey wraps)
steak (on sale at store- for Sunday dinner and tacos)