Meal Planning For A Week
Meal planning can seem overwhelming at first but is really as easy as (chicken pot) pie. Here are a few easy tips to get into the habit of regular weekly meal planning.
- Find a window of time. Find a short window of time each week that you can spend time making your menu and grocery list for the week. If possible, go to the store right after you make your list. It may seem overwhelming to dedicate an hour of time, but you will save time every day figuring out the age-old question of “what’s for dinner”.
- Get Organized. Keeping it simple, list out the days of the week on a piece of paper and below each day leave space for the recipe name and main ingredient. By listing the main ingredient needed (usually meat) you can easily see what you need to get out of the freezer each night to prepare for the next day’s meal. Next, make a similar list with food categories in columns at the top: dairy, meat, dry goods, produce, etc. and put each item needed at the store under the appropriate category. This will save you time at the store wandering through the aisles.
- Choose recipes/meals. When thinking about your week, choose meals that fit into your schedule. For example, if Wednesday nights are pretty hectic at home, then opt for a crock-pot meal that is ready when you walk in the door. If you aren’t an experienced chef, stick to recipes with 5 ingredients or less to keep from feeling overwhelmed. Lastly, remember to throw in some basics like spaghetti or tacos which are quick and easy meals that any cooking experience level can make.
- Head to the market. Go to the store right away if possible so you have everything on hand for the week ahead. There’s nothing more frustrating than being in the middle of cooking a meal and realizing you forgot a key ingredient.
By following these tips you will be planning meals for weeks to come and you may even find your grocery bill reduced by going to the store just once per week and only choosing what you need versus what sounds good.
Below are two simple recipes to get your week off to a great start.
World’s Best Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
½ cup Dijon mustard
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt & pepper
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, mix together mustard, syrup, and vinegar.
3. Place chicken breasts into 9×13 greased baking dish. Season with salt & lots of pepper. Pour mustard mixture over chicken. Make sure each breast is coated. No need to marinate.
4. Bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until meat thermometer reads 165 degrees. Exactly how long you should leave it in is based on personal preference and your oven. You do not need to cover the pan with foil.
5. Season with chopped rosemary.
PS: To make this in the slow cooker, combine all ingredients and cook on low for 3-4 hours.
Source: Rachel Schultz
Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork
1 whole large onion
>1 whole pork shoulder (5-7 lbs)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 can (11 oz) chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 cans Dr. Pepper
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Peel the onion and cut it into wedges. Lay them in the bottom of a large dutch oven.
3. Generously salt and pepper the pork roast, then set it on top of the onions in the pan.
4. Pour the can of chipotle peppers over the pork (include the sauce). Pour in both cans of Dr Pepper. Add brown sugar to the juice and stir in.
5. Place lid tightly on pot, then set pot in the oven. Cook for at least six hours, turning roast two or three times during the cooking process. Check meat after six hours; it should be absolutely falling apart (use two forks to test). If it’s not falling apart, return to the oven for another hour.
6. Remove meat from pot and place on a cutting board or other work surface. Use two forks to shred meat, discarding large pieces of fat. Strain as much of the fat off the top of the cooking liquid as you can and discard it. Return the shredded meat to the cooking liquid, and keep warm until ready to serve. (You can also refrigerate the meat and liquid separately, then remove hardened fat once it’s cold. Then heat up the liquid on the stove-top and return the meat to the liquid to warm up.)
7. Serve on warm flour tortillas. Top with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, grated cheese, avocado slices, salsa, and whatever else you’d like.
Source: The Pioneer Woman