Why I Meal Plan

Cooking.  Meal planning.  Trying new recipes. Sharing a meal around the table.  These things are life giving for me.  A hobby more than a necessity.  While some find it a chore, I can genuinely say I enjoy it. Grocery shopping however is a different story….but quite a necessary task.

I’m a planner by nature and so it’s only natural that I plan out our family’s meals.  I don’t remember exactly when it started.  When I was single I definitely wasn’t meal planning – more or less just throwing together lots of stir fry with whatever I had in the house. Around the time I got engaged, Pinterest was really beginning to take off.  Now I’m not much of a recipe follower, but I love browsing Pinterest and scouring through cookbooks for inspiration.

Friends who know I’m a faithful meal planner often ask me what I’m making for dinner that night and request tips for getting started with meal planning.  I’m always more than happy to share. For me meal planning does so much more than just gratifying my planning nature.  There are some real, practical reasons that meal planning can enhance your life (I know that sounded dramatic, but I am serious!).

  1. It helps us save time and stress.
  2. It helps us save money.
  3. It helps us eat healthier.
  4. It helps us waste less.

If this resonates with you, check out my weekly meal plans.  You’ll generally find meals that are healthy, frugal, varied and family friendly.  I’d love to see your meal plans as well!  Share them in the comments.


Meal Planning: Week of February 13

Monday: Fish Tacos (one of our favorite quick dinners)
Tuesday: Shrimp, Crab Cakes, Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus
Wednesday: Lo Mein (trying to use up some veggies from the fridge!)
Thursday: Stuffed Peppers
Friday: Chicken Fajitas
Saturday: Dinner Out
Sunday:  Quiche

Meal Planning: Week of Jan 30

Monday: Soup (free from Chick Fil A with our Calendar Cards!)
Tuesday: Honey Lime Chicken Tacos (new recipe – hopefully it will be better than the new recipes I tried last week)
Wednesday: Chicken Fried Cauliflower Rice (our first time trying out Cauliflower rice – any tips for us?)
Thursday: Italian Beef Sandwiches and Kale Salad
Friday: Turkey Burgers
Saturday: Breakfast Burritos (our current favorite quick dinner – we’ll be getting back late from the San Diego zoo for an early celebration of Charlotte’s 2nd birthday!)
Sunday: Superbowl Party!

Meal Planning: Week of Jan 23

Here’s what’s on the menu for this week – check out the link to a couple of new recipes I’m excited to try. #thankyouPinterest

Monday: Sour Cream Chicken Enchilada Skillet and Corn (I’m using the recipe at the link for my inspiration but am putting my own twist on it based on our preferences and what’s in the pantry!)

Tuesday: Meatballs Subs and Green Beans

Wednesday: Family Night at Church (includes dinner)

Thursday: Hawaiian Chicken and and Broccoli

Friday: Sausages and Fries (planned for last Friday night but we had leftovers instead.)

Saturday: Chicken Tortilla Soup

Sunday: Blaze Pizza (one of our favorites!)

Meal Planning: Week of Jan 16

The days when I consistently posted our weekly meal plans on this blog feel like a lifetime ago- I don’t know why I stopped.  I still diligently plan and document (on an Excel spreadsheet that I’ve used since we got married) dinners for every night of the week.  But somehow posting on this blog seems so difficult.

So today, I take my first baby step to start posting them weekly.  Here’s what’s for dinner at our house this week.  Perhaps it will provide you a little inspiration if you’re struggling for ideas.  No beautiful pictures that will make your mouth water or links to all the recipes – after all, this is just me taking a baby step.  Hopefully in the weeks ahead I’ll be able to make it a little fancier.

Monday: Fish Tacos

Tuesday: Eggplant Parmesan

Wednesday: Salmon Ravioli and Sauteed Asparagus

Thursday:  Ranch Pork Chops (Crockpot Meal) and Roasted Broccoli

Friday: Sausages and Fries

Saturday:  Small Group BBQ – I’ll be taking corn salsa (seriously – check out this recipe, it’s so different from what you’re likely imagining).

Sunday: Turkey and Black Bean Chili

What’s for dinner at your house this week?

Recipe: Corn Salsa

We spent part of the holidays with my family in Indiana and my great-aunt brought over this delicious corn salsa that we just couldn’t get enough off.  Upon first glance it’s a pretty odd combination of ingredients – a few of which you may even wrinkle up your nose at. But I’m telling you, it is a MUST try recipe. The flavors and textures are just right and it is so simple to put together.


  • 2 cups of white corn (drained)
  • 2 cups of black eyed peas (rinsed and drained)
  • 1/2 cup green onions (diced)
  • 2 cups celery (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup italian dressing

Mix all together one day ahead of when you plan to serve it.

Serve with scoop tortilla chips.

Meal Planning Monday

Monday: Grilled Chicken Legs with Creole Seasoning and Sauteed Zucchini

Tuesday: White Chicken Enchilada Bake

Wednesday: Teriyaki Pork, Coconut Rice, Roasted Broccoli

Thursday: Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs, Salad

Friday: Small Group Dinner – Shredded BBQ Chicken Sliders and Baked Corn Casserole (and other sides people are bringing)

Saturday: Homemade Pizza

Sunday: BLTs

Recipe Recommendation – Quinoa Chili  – great for vegetarians and meat eaters alike!

Menu Planning Monday

Yes, I know it’s Wednesday today but I started this post back on Monday! Therefore it’s still going to be called Menu Planning Monday.

Monday: Labor Day Cookout/Potluck
Tuesday: Butter Beef, Egg Noodles, Green Beans (one of Than’s VERY favorite meals – and one of the easiest things I could make – WIN WIN!)
Wednesday: Tacos and Mexican Corn Salad
Thursday: Jambalaya and Peas/Carrots
Friday: Quinoa Chili
Saturday: Grilled Chicken Sandwiches and Tator Tots
Sunday: Breakfast for Dinner – Waffles and Sausage Links

Menu Planning Monday

Remember when I used to plan out my menu’s and post them on the blog each week? Yeah I kind of fell off the bandwagon of posting them when Charlotte was born. I kept planning but stopped with the posting. But here I am – inspired once again!

Here’s what’s on the menu for this week:

Monday: Grilled Sirloin with sauteed mushrooms, Roasted Red Potatoes, Peas/Carrots

Tuesday: Stuffed Peppers

Wednesday: Tortellini Bake and Green Beans

Thursday: Pan Fried Pork Chops, Broccoli, Mashed Potatoes

Friday: Nancy’s Pizza (You have no idea how excited I was to find a Groupon for some Chicago style pizza – yum!)

Saturday: Greek Chicken and Tomato/Cucumber Salad

Sunday: Turkey Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries

Recipe Recommendation:

Banana Oatmeal Muffins – On Monday’s I drive down to Long Beach for a work meeting (or meetings) so breakfast on the go is a must. These are delicious and travel well – and by travel well I mean they are easy to eat in the car! Next time I will try these with half wheat and half white flour instead of all white.

What’s for Dinner?

I’ve been failing miserably with keeping up with my weekly menu planning blogs.  The plans are there – they just never make it onto the blog! I should admit, I’m not so great at sticking with them during this pregnancy. There are a lot of days where certain things just don’t sound good. I’ve been on a mission lately to make some freezer meals – mostly as a trial run for when baby arrives. As a substitute for Menu Planning Monday I thought I’d share 5 new recipes we have enjoyed lately at our house.  They are either easy or freezer friendly! And the freezer friendly ones are pretty easy as well! Sorry there are no pictures – for some reason taking pictures of food makes it rather unappetizing to me by the time I actually sit down to eat it…

Stuffed Pepper Soup – I didn’t follow this recipe exactly. I used turkey sausage instead of beef, brown sugar instead of white and also used brown rice. I think it would also be good to substitute quinoa for the rice! It makes a lot and I felt like we were eating it for days. Next time I’d only add the cooked rice to half of it and freeze the other half!
Baked Ziti (Freezer meal) – A new favorite. This was so yummy! Definitely a go-to recipe for us from now on.
Butter Beef -This was totally a hit. We don’t eat a lot of beef, but this just melts in your mouth.  Great to add to the crockpot recipe list!
Chicken Pesto Stuffed Shells (Freezer meal)- Nice option for something different in terms of flavor. You don’t find pesto on our dinner table very often – in fact, I used to dislike it, but it’s growing on me and it’s a good option to mix things up a bit.
Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings – This was probably our least favorite of the meals, though still good. Than isn’t a big dumpling person (it’s a texture thing) and I don’t feel great about cooking with cream of _____ (chicken, mushroom, etc). It’s a tasty meal when you’re in the mood for some comfort food on a cold night. We’d definitely make it again – it just won’t be making a regular appearance in our rotation.
What are some of your favorite crockpot or freezer meals?