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Simple Meal Planning Ideas

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Here are just a few Simple Meal Planning Ideas for your family. Meal planning helps you keep your weekly dinner menu on a budget.

Simple Meal Planning Ideas for February 1

So, my friends got together and decided to start sharing some simple meal planning ideas. This is the first of what I hope to a regular series of posts sharing delicious easy family favorite recipes from the three of us. There will be a series of main dishes, some sides which will include soups and side salads, a dessert, and then there’s a bonus recipe. Maybe that’s a drink, an appetizer, or just a bonus fun recipe to share.

Going back to college with these Air Fryer Zebb's Wings.  With a mix of ranch, Buffalo sauce, and crumbled blue these, these wings are packed with flavors.

We figured that since everyone has pretty much been home and cooking at home that y’all might be running out of ideas of what to make. So, we’re making it a little easier for you by sharing some weekly Simple Meal Planning Ideas. I think, at this point in time, we could all use a little help because we’re all sourdough-ed out. Am I right?

Perfectly crispy, melty, and stringy; these Baked Mozzarella Sticks have all the flavors of their fried cousins, but without all the oil and fat.


Why is menu planning important?

First, it easily answers that age old question, “Mom! What’s for dinner?” We’ve had this conversation a few times in my own home. I can’t just show up at the grocery store with no list and no menu and buy groceries for a week. The hubs can. If I don’t write down what we decided to make, then I will have no idea what to cook for the week.

Air Fryer Garlic Butter Ranch Wings.

Meal planning helps you keep your weekly dinner menu on a budget. There are fewer impulse purchases if you have your menu planned out. And hopefully you’ve created your shopping list from that menu. Sometimes, if it’s a new recipe, I even write out the full recipe and then make the shopping list. That way I have 5 meals and one shopping list.

Barbecue Bacon Cheddar Chicken dinner recipes cooked in a cast iron skillet.  It has a lot going on but each ingredient adds a layer of flavor that makes your taste buds sing.

Family meal planning also allows you to reap the benefits of potential sales at your grocery store. There are great ideas by perusing your local grocery store sales flyers. Say they have chicken thighs on sale. And maybe some canned tomato products. Bingo!

Easy Slow Cooker Cacciatore is hearty, rich, and perfect for cold nights!  It has complex flavors from simple ingredients. #NationalSlowCookerMonth

Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

This recipe also provides cooking instructions for a pressure cooker, too. Just in case you forgot to toss everything in the slow cooker that morning, you can cook this delicious dinner in about 40 minutes with natural pressure release for 25 with quick release.

Get the kids involved!

When we were growing up we were involved in the menu planning and the grocery shopping. As we got older, we were involved in prepping and eventually cooking dinner. Now, as a picky eater growing up I wasn’t thrilled with the menu options. So it was fun for me to add my suggestions in input into the dinner menu.

Slow Cooker Tuscan Garlic Chicken is creamy, full of garlic and tomato flavors, and perfect for any night of the week. It’s a recipe that’s on our menu at least once a month.

When you get their input in the meal planning recipes, kids are less inclined to complain about what’s on the menu. Because they helped make the menu.  If they pick a main dish or a side dish it gets them interested in cooking and making dinner.  And they might actually EAT IT!  Especially if they picked it. 

Mini Monster Meatball Sliders are not only fun to make, but fun to eat! Packed with meatballs, cheese, and sauce, these sliders are on the table in no time. #HalloweenTreatsWeek

And it’s easy to do with these Mini Monster Meatball Sliders.  I mean, who says monsters are just for Halloween?  Heck even this big kid loved eating these sliders.  They were super fun and oh so delicious.  

Of course, meal planning ideas for families should include the main dish, a couple of sides, and a dessert. That’s idea in my head. We always had a starch and a vegetable as a side dish. There’s always the debate about corn being a starch or a vegetable.  But putting the corn with tomatoes, onions, and other veggies makes it a veggie side!  And peas. They’re on that borderline list, too. We always had them as a starch, I think. But don’t quote me on that one.  

The importance of meal planning is to make sure you have all your bases covered. Side dishes are something I seem to forget in our weekly meal plan. Or I’ll just put down a vegetable with no idea how I’m going to serve said veg. I really need to work on that and making a menu for meal planning will help me with that. So, expect to see more side dishes on the blog in the near future-ish.

Maple cornbread goes well with soups, stews, chili and chowders.

For all intents and purposes, we are including soups and breads in the side dish category. We are including salads that aren’t a main dish salad, which seems to be almost all I have for salads. I think I have two side salad recipes. But I’m sure that will change, too. I plan on having more and more salads with dinners. So, stay tuned in that category, too.

Chocolate Cupcakes with PB Fluff Buttercream are rich, delicious, and full of fluffernutter flavor. Your kids will rush home from school to devour these delicious cupcakes.

And then there’s dessert!

I’m sure this is the favorite part of dinner for most. It depends on the dessert for me. We have been eating ice cream cones of late. I wish the hubs would be more willing to eat other desserts. He hates baked goods. After one slice of cake it’s too dry. Maybe if I made pies, but I have to be careful what kind of pie. I know chocolate cream or French silk are always a winner. And peanut butter pies. Maybe I’ll make one of those for my birthday. Because it’s a cinch if I don’t make something special he won’t. At least not in the dessert category.

A buttery crust topped with fresh strawberries and a crumble oat topping.

Sorry to be griping about desserts and the hubs, but It’s always a sore spot with me. I mean, who really should be making their own birthday dessert? As an adult, I’ve NEVER had anyone make me dessert for my birthday. Ever. It would be nice. But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about meal planning recipes.

With just 5 ingredients and a little time, you can make Homemade Cherry Turnovers for your family.  They're slightly sweet, extra crunchy and super delicious for breakfast or dessert. #Stonefruit

I’ve been sharing images of the recipes in the list at the bottom of this post. They’re some delicious eats in my menu for meal planning so you best check them out. I’ve listed 5 main dishes recipes, three sides, and three desserts. Plus, a couple of bonus appetizer recipes in there for game day eats. You can’t forget snacks for game watching in your menu!


Meal Planning Ideas Week 1

Simple meal planning ideas for your family.

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