I don’t blog about recipes. I get bored with the same old meals. But, I do plan our dinners and I’ve figured out the easiest way to do it – plus, I’ve even made a meal plan template to share!
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If I ask for Hubs or #1’s input on meals for the week, I’m usually answered with hot dogs, chicken pot pie, and pizza. Not exactly what I am hoping for. So, rather than getting input, I compile the menu on my own (keeping in mind their favorites).
However, being the one that always drafts the menu can get monotonous. I don’t know how chefs do it. So, I’ve figured out the easiest way to schedule our meals.
Two Week Cycles
If it were up to Hubs, we’d eat the same meals on repeat every day. But, I just can’t do that. And since meal planning sucks, I don’t want to come up with 31 different meals each month either.
For those reasons, I’ve started drafting our menus in two week cycles. Whatever we have the first Monday of the month is exactly what we’re having the third Monday of the month. The same meal is spaced out enough that it won’t make the menu boring, but it also keeps the planning to a minimum.
So, I can be silly and plan themed meals to line up with movie nights, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.
Rather, each day of the week gets a theme, or category, and that’s how I determine what it is we’ll have. My themes go as follows:
- Meatless (or Miscellaneous) Monday: This is an opportunity to get, not only alliteration into our menu, but also vegetables. Usually, I can make this fly about twice a month, which means the alternative Mondays end up being a Miscellaneous meal. Meaning, a meal that I’d love to have or make that just doesn’t fall into any of the other categories. And if you really want to stick to Meatless Monday, you can find some great recipes on Pinterest.
- Taco Tuesday: I mean, c’mon, it has to be Taco Tuesday. On the alternative Tuesday I’ll occasionally throw in nachos, burritos, even breakfast burritos, to mix it up a little.
- Rotisserie Wednesday: Hump day can be an exhausting day, no matter your station in life, so why not make it easy and implement a little store-bought something or other into your meal. We usually opt for a rotisserie chicken. Perfect with mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, or any sort of steamed vegetable. Plus, leftover bits of chicken can double for the next day’s lunch or even a chicken pot pie later in the week.
- Pasta Thursday: Being such an inexpensive meal, pasta has to make the cut each week. And with so many variations, it’s a meal you won’t necessarily get tired of. Week one can have red sauce, while week two has Alfredo. You can even opt for rice noodles.
- Fish (or Pizza) Friday: Friday and fish tend to go hand in hand, even if you’re not Catholic. I remember how the school cafeteria always had fish sandwiches on Fridays, so I guess that’s still ingrained in me. Alternatively, since Friday night is usually movie night in our house, pizza is always an excellent alternative.
- On Saturday we eat out. Who really has the time or desire to home cook a meal every night of the week? And with so many restaurants available, our society isn’t designed for that lifestyle anymore. Check out my post on kid-friendly restaurants, too.
- Slow Cooker Sunday: Sundays are made for hearty, family meals. Bonus points when you can set it and forget it, so I reserve Sunday’s for slow cooker dishes. Not to mention, it makes the house smell great!
And, once you’ve figured out two weeks of these meals, you just repeat.
When you’re officially sick of a meal, swap in something else.
Staying within the constraints of themed days has really helped me be creative with our meals and kept the whole family from getting sick of eating the same old thing.
Meal Plan Template
Can a person really plan without a template? I think not. Thus, I’m sharing my meal planning template with you here. Simply click the gray download button to get your copy.
Use mine, meal for meal, or make your own with my blank template by clicking the gray download button below.
Give it a Try!
Give my meal plan template a try and let me know how it goes. Plus, I’d love to hear any awesome recipes you might have to offer. Remember, even if they don’t fall into any of the themed days, they’ll always fit on Misc. Monday!
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