Meal Planning

I am once again trying to get on top of things before the busy school year begins. There are so many areas to be organised in otherwise I feel like I am drowning. I confess I am a bit of a planner junkie and always feel so much better when I have a list or a planner in hand.

The first Planner I have updated and would like to share with you is a Weekly Meal Planner. I like to plan dinners for the week, so if everything goes to plan we know what is happening. On the odd occasion we might end up eating something different but I find it frustrating to be thinking about what we will have for dinner, on the day, and then having to shop for items. I am using a weekly planner to start with but would like to progress to a fortnightly one. I like to shop kid free (for the big one) so I will be doing the weekly shop, on a Wednesday. This suits us as I work on a Monday and Tuesday, kids activities on a Saturday and other plans for Thursdays and Fridays. Hence, our meal plan for the week, will start on a Thursday. I will race to the shops on a Saturday, after swimming lessons, to get any fresh food that might be needed, as well as bread and milk.

HOW TO MEAL PLAN

1. Sit down with your family planner (so you have an idea of who is where during the week) and your new free Meal Planner sheet.

2. Note the days when you will be late home from work or a kids activity, as well as times when someone might not be home at all.’Choose meals that will be prepared beforehand or are quick and easy to put together. This makes deciding between cooking or take away easy. Obviously choose the former.

3. Now plan the rest of your meals. I try to alternate with red meat, chicken, fish and vegetarian. We try to eat fish at least twice a week and vegetarian once.

4. Remember to check your fridge, freezer and pantry for food you may have and base a meal around this. Maybe make this a focus for one of the meals. Also check the fresh fruit and vegetables so you don’t buy too much. We waste so much food and should try to cut back on this.

5. After checking what ingredients you need for the grocery list, confirm you don’t already have this. Last year I kept finding I had doubled up on spices which was such a waste of money.

6. On the Meal Plan, I have included a space to add some baking for the week. I like to do this for the kidlets (and husband) so we buy less processed food.

Now, download the free Meal Plan sheet and print it off as many times as you like. This is for personal use only and can be shared with as many people as you want. It is not to be used for commercial use, without permission. Click on the snapshot below and it will take you to a PDF instantly.

Meal plan snapshot

Meal Planning (What’s in the fridge?)

The fridge and pantry have starting looking a little full. This week I decided to plan my meals around what I could find hiding in there. I still had to buy other ingredients to make the meals but I tried to make sure every meal contained some items that were in the fridge and/or pantry. Below is how I went about this little challenge:

MONDAY

Home made pizzas – pizza bases and toppings bought but pizza sauce and cheese already on hand

TUESDAY (Daddy out for dinner with work – Mummy tired)

Kids – Chicken schnitzel (if freezer), baked potato (in pantry) and peas (in freezer)

Mummy – Nachos (Ccs, salsa, sour cream and grated cheese – all leftovers from mum’s night)

WEDNESDAY (Sport afternoon so we get home late)

Kids – pasta, sauce and cheese (already in the house)

Us – Tuna and salad (in the house already – help yourself)

THURSDAY

Slow cooker sausage casserole

(sauce bought, remainder in the house already)

(Potatoes bought for the mash potato)

FRIDAY

Finger food freezer Friday

Kids – party pies and oven chips

Us – Take your pick

SATURDAY

Satay mince – Lettuce Tacos  (Recipe to follow)  Lettuce tacos

(Bought lettuce and cabbage)

Dessert – Brown sugar bananas and cream (Recipe to follow) Brown sugared desserts

SUNDAY

Kids – Tuna spaghetti

Us – Creamy salmon pasta (Recipe to follow)

(Bought spaghetti and cream)

Meal Planning (Free printable)

 

fortnightly meal plan

 

Time to get organised and back into it. I have been a little off track lately. Things have run very smoothly this week due to planning our meals.

Click on the picture above to download your free meal planning sheet.

Below is our Meal Plan for this fortnight.

WEEK ONE

BAKING – Banana bread

MONDAY

Chicken and Rice Stroganoff (quick cheats version – ready in 15 minutes or less – recipe to follow)

TUESDAY

Oven fish, roast pumpkin, peas and garlic bread

Mummy and Daddy are having salad instead of vegetables

Cook bolognaise for tomorrow (Thermomix)

WEDNESDAY

Pasta Bolognaise

Dessert – ice cream, mini sponges and pretzels

THURSDAY

Vegetarian chinese style fried rice with a fried egg on top

FRIDAY

Freezer Finger Food for the Kids – Party pies and chips

Mummy and Daddy – Whatever we feel like on the night

SATURDAY

Chicken Paella with Quinoa (Experiment as I have never used quinoa before)

Dessert Night – Chocolate Fondant Puddings with vanilla ice cream

SUNDAY

Fish and calamari – take away

WEEK TWO

BAKING – Zucchini and cheese muffins (freeze)

Snickerdoodle biscuits (Thermomix recipe)

MONDAY

Veal and vegetables (Thermomix style)

TUESDAY

Lemon Tuna Pasta Pie

WEDNESDAY

Carrot, zucchini and bacon slice with baked potato

THURSDAY

Chiken and Cashew with rice noodles (Thermomix recipe)

FRIDAY

Freezer Finger Food for the Kids – mini pizzas

Mummy and Daddy – Whatever we feel like on the night

SATURDAY

Meatball subs

Dessert – To be chosen by the kidlets

SUNDAY

Baked Fish Pie

Weekly Planning

How do you go planning your week. Yesterday my husband and I briefly discussed the coming week and what is on. I then fill out the weekly planner and do the meal plans. When doing the weekly planner, I refer back to our calendar and family planner for the month. I wasn’t very good at this during the holidays but we are back into the swing of things.

Below is a free printable for February, from my 2013 free Calendar.
February

When Meal Planning, I first write down all the activities for the week. Then I will plan the dinners around this. Finally, I am now including a basic plan for the School and Kindy lunches. This helps so I can plan leftovers or cook extra to cater for these.

Below is a copy of the Meal Plan template I am using this week. Click on it to download it for free and print it out ready for use.

Untitled

Happy planning

Paula