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

Meal Planning Revisited (Free Printable)

With the determination to get ORGANISED, as one of my goals for 2013, I have begun to think about meal planning and the real need for it in our family. When I do it, the week is so much smoother. I have not got back into it due to school holidays and the fact we are STILL waiting on our new fridge. Our others are so old and small that there is really no space to be organised, if that makes sense. My parents are here for a visit next week, for 12 days, so meal planning will have to wait.

I have, however, been busy playing around with some ideas so I can get straight into it. I have made some templates and am going to try something different for a month and see how it goes. As well as dinner, I am going to attempt to plan lunches for school and Kindy as well. I work as a Learning Support Coordinator at a high school,  3 days a week and am looking at starting to teach Speech and Drama lessons again, one afternoon a week. Busy, busy, means extra planning. I will let you know how it goes. For now, please feel free to print off the template below.

HOW TO USE THE TEMPLATE

1. Write in the days of the week (Your Day 1 might be Friday, depending on when you shop)

2. Look at your Family Planner and note down any activities for the week. Include nights when someone will be home late and will need dinner kept or no dinner at all. This helps decide what type of meal you will have. For example: We get home at 5.30pm on a Wednesday from tennis and my kids are 6pm eaters. I either have to cook something the night before or plan to have BBQ chicken from the supermarket and ready to go vegetables. This might also determine some lunches.

3. Now fill in your choices for dinner. Do this first as you might be able to use leftovers for school lunches. My daughter doesn’t mind cold pasta with cheese and peas and sauce, for lunch so whenever I cook pasta for dinner, I will do extra. If Rogey Bear is at Day Care, they heat up food if need so I kill 2 bids with one stone.

4. Now fill in the plan for lunches. This is going to be interesting.

5. Have your shopping list ready. Remember to check your cupboard so you don’t buy something you already have.

 

When planning dinners, you obviously have to take your family’s tastes into account. I do not cook two different meals as my kids know that dinner is dinner. There are times I am accommodating to them though. Our son is not the best vegetable eater and raw vegetables are a definite no. Therefore salad can be difficult. Our daughter loves raw capsicum and carrots so she is half way there.

On the nights I plan fish and salad, I might have to deviate. We all eat the fish. Hubby and I will have salad. Gabby will have the carrot, cucumber, capsicum, grated cheese and 1 or 2 small pieces of lettuce. Rogan will have the cheese. To help dinner along I give him a fruit salad and a small bread roll or I will whip up some frozen vegetables.

This meal type is only ever once a week as it is too hard doing it other times.

PRINT out the PDF below and have a go.

meal planner 7

Happy planning

Paula

 

Meal Plan

I felt so good being organised last week, so here is this week's meal plan.

 

BAKED GOODIES for the Lunch Box

Mini Banana, Sultana and Oat Bran Muffins

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Zucchini Slice (Make on Tuesday)

 

SATURDAY

Pizza night – Take Away

 

SUNDAY

Homemade Chicken and Leek Pie

Rice Pudding

 

MONDAY

Fish and Sweet Potato Fries with Beans

Daddy's dessert

 

TUESDAY

Beef Stroganof and mash potaotoes

Yoghurt and fruit

 

WEDNESDAY

1/2 Price Fish and Calamari with salad

(We have a yummy fish shop that does half price Wednesdays)

Homemade custard

 

THURSDAY

Tuna Pasta Bake

Yoghurt and fruit

 

FRIDAY

Kids Finger Food Friday

Adults – Bbq Chicken Salad

 

Have a great week.

Paula  heart

 

 

Meal Plans

I have been a little slack over the last couple of months, with meal planning. I have noticed how different and overwhelming it can be not to be organised. So I have decided to get back to it. Our weeks are about to become hectic again with school and me being back at work and I need to fix the stress a little. I have created yet another Meal Plan template that should work for us. I am in the process of completing a number of different ones for you to download for free. They should be up and running this week.

This week I planned from Saturday as it fitted in with when I could do the shop. Here it is.

 

SATURDAY

Chicken kebabs and fried rice (simple quick recipe to follow)

Chocolate Self Saucing pudding with cream

SUNDAY

Roast beef, pumpkin, potatoes and beans

Ice cream with mixed fruit

MONDAY (I will be home late from a staff PD)

Fish and salad (pasta added for the kidlets)

Yoghurt and fruit if still hungry

TUESDAY

Chicken casserole with sweet potato mash (Thermomix recipe) and pea mix

Rice pudding (Thermomix recipe)

Today I will cook tomorrow night's dinner.

WEDNESDAY (Home at 5.30pmish, after tennis lessons)

Shepherd's pie (Thermomix mince recipe) with sweet potato mash on top (made a double batch last night)

Yoghurt and fruit

THURSDAY

Tuna pasta bake

Fruity Dream dessert (Thermomix recipe)

FRIDAY

Finger Food Friday for kids

Chicken salad for us

GOODIES FOR LUNCH BOXES

Anzac biscuits (Thermomix recipe)

Savoury Muffins

Snickerdoodles (Thermomix recipe)

 

Have a great week.

Paula heart