After almost 6 years of marriage and the arrival of our second child, I have decided to re-vamp our weekly dinner menu. Lately I have been asking my husband, “what would you like for dinner”. And exhausted from the day I would unenthusiastically start a quick but typical dinner. This has brought not the best nutrition and many repeating meals. Plus just plain boring. Here are my top 3 reasons for changing things up.

  1. Less stress to have meals planned out and to have shopped (and hopefully, prepped them).
  2. Better nutrition for everyone.
  3. Save Money (Hopefully)

Where to begin. I made a list of everything I could of that we regularly eat, then everything that we like to eat, then everything I have been wanting to make bust haven’t in a long time and some that I have never made and finally looked through cook books for inspirations. Eventually I had a long list and could sit down and plan out my meals. I had enough for more than 30 days but decided to keep things simple to start off with and made a plan for 2 weeks worth of plans. I usually shop every week so at least this may save me one trip to the grocery store. (Except for milk, we go through more milk than I can fit in my fridge and I’m not into freezing milk.)

Now after collecting ideas, and filling in my meal planner for the next few weeks I sat down for more planning. I wrote each dinner recipe on index cards. Ingredients and amounts on one side and directions on the other. That was time consuming but will help save me time later when making my grocery list, prep list and at dinner time.

Plan plan plan. Now I was able to lay out the ingredients easily to make my shopping list. Once that was completed I made my prep list. I actually made these almost simultaneously. When making my ingredients list I added a check next to each ingredient so I would know exactly how much I needed. ie. Cheese III (cheese 3 C) and Eggs IIII (eggs 4 lg) etc etc. That made it easy to help my prep list. Some people premake all their meals, freeze them, and only have to throw them in the oven come dinner time. I didn’t pick recipes that I felt would work well for that so maybe in the future I’ll go there but right now I just wanted to do a mass prep. So when I put all the groceries away I could grate 3 C of cheese, brown the ground beef for the week, etc etc. And so the week began.

Note to self…buy more storage containers and freezer bags.