So, you’re looking at a blank week, and you have an idea of what’s on sale this week and now it’s time to sit down and plan. How do you decide what recipes to use?
Keep it Simple
The best advice I can give you is not to overthink. Keep things simple. One pot meals are awesome, and don’t feel like you have to have elaborate side dishes with every meal. If you must have side dishes, just do something easy like cook a bag of frozen vegetables or throw a loaf of garlic bread in the oven. If you are trying to plan daily 3-course meals that would rival a contestant on America’s Next Top Chef then you will burn out fast.
Mix it Up
Feel free to try some new recipes when you’re planning your week, but make sure to also use some of your “tried and true” recipes/meals that you and your family are comfortable with. This will help keep the stress level low for both you and your family. If you don’t like the new meals, there will only be a couple, and your family won’t start a mutiny because you’re making these “new-fangled-things.” But you never know — you just might find something you all love, and you can add it to your repertoire!
I love going through cookbooks and dog-earing the pages of things I’d like to try. Of course, the digital version of that is to go down a rabbit hole on the internet looking at recipes online and pinning them. Either way, it’s good to have an ongoing list of recipes you’d like to try. That way, when the main ingredients go on sale, you have a perfect opportunity pull something off your list and try something new. I actually like to keep two lists — one of things to try and one with my regular fall-backs. That way when I look at the sales ads, I can pull from both lists and have a good mix for our week.
Sometimes all it takes to get my creative juices flowing is to assign the different days of the week a theme. I’m sure you’ve all heard of “Taco Tuesday”. There’s some comfort in knowing that Tuesday is taken care of if you always have tacos! But you could just as easily do a Crock-Pot Wednesday, or a Souper Saturday. We’ll talk more in depth about Menu themes tomorrow.
For now, I’m hoping that you’re feeling a little less scared of the process of meal planning. Let me know your thoughts!