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Easy Meal Planning

August 9, 2021

Easy Meal Planning

Have you tried meal planning?  Let me be honest…if I don’t meal plan dinner just doesn’t happen around here, or we end up having frozen pizza.  I’m not going to complain as I am the biggest pizza fan in the house, but it seems others around here can’t live on frozen pizza alone.

What does meal planning entail?

Good question…there are so many ways to meal plan and some things that work better than others.  I try to keep it simple and flexible as things can change by the hour on the farm.  Here is what works for us:

  • Plan meals for the week
  • Have an easy to use place to post the meals for the week (I used a printed sheet with days of the week, clothes pins, and small pieces of paper with meals printed/written on them)
  • Keep it flexible in case chores run long, you have lots of leftovers (or no leftovers), or you’re just not feeling what’s on the menu for that day
  • Use what we have on hand/in season (right now almost ever meal has zucchini in it)
  • Have ingredients for a couple easy back up meals on hand (this is a life saver)

Plan Meals for the Week

We go to the grocery store on Mondays to pick up the expired produce for our farm animals, so that is the day we do our grocery shopping as well.  I pull the recipes for what I am making that week, add any ingredients to my shopping list that I need to pick up, and we are set.

Easy Weekly Meal Schedule

I printed a free Weekly Meal Planner sheet years ago and slid it into a wall organizer that hangs on the wall in our pantry.  You can search for a free weekly meal planner printable and find a lot of great ones to use.  It could be posted on a cork board or slid into a plastic sheet protector.  Then you can tack the slips of paper with the meals up or use a dry erase marker to write them in.

Keep It Flexible

I take a peek at our schedule for the week to see if there are days where we are busy and I will need to do something in the crock pot or just go with leftovers.  Then I layout the meals accordingly.  If we need to make a quick adjustment mid-week we can.

Use What You Have on Hand

We try to use things that are in season or that we have a lot of.  Almost every meal last week involved zucchini since we have a ton of it in our garden right now.  Most of the time I try to alternate proteins and not make meals that are too similar in a row, so we don’t get burnt out on any one thing.

Easy Back Up Meals

I have a short list of easy go to meals that I keep ingredients on hand for.  They involve ingredients that have a long shelf life and can be picked up when they are on sale.  Spaghetti and Beef Curly Noodle are a couple of our favorites that we always have on hand.

Here is an example of meals for two weeks.  I would also sprinkle in some fish and maybe another chicken meal.

Meal Plan Example for 2 Weeks (Click on the links for some of our favorite recipes below)

Pork Shoulder Roast (1 or 2)  

  • Roast in crock pot and serve with potato and veggie
  • Use leftovers for:
    • Pulled pork sandwiches, buns, chips, raw veggies & dip
    • Jamacian Jerk Pork Stuffed Zucchini (from Prep-Ahead Meals from Scratch by Alea Milham)

Whole Chicken (1 or 2)

Ground Beef (5)

Hamburger Patties (1)

  • Burgers with baked beans and steak fries

Chuck Roast (1)

Ground Pork (1) 

Pork Chops (2 packs of boneless chops)

Total: 11+ meals and lots of leftovers

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