Omaha Mom contributor Jennie is back with her tips and meal planning tricks! If you missed her first part, click here for her Meal Plan like a Mother (part one).
For Christmas this last year, my sister gifted me a coffee cup. One side reads, “Three Wise Women.” The other side delivers a modern-day truth. If it had been three wise women who journeyed to Bethlehem, they “would have asked for directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, brought useful gifts, and made dinner.”
In that spirit and in continuation of our efforts to ease the “What’s for Dinner?” burden, we’ve included a menu and shopping list printable, because every mom-chef out there really wants someone to just tell her what she needs and maybe help her do it!
I’m a halfway homemade chef. Some meals I make from scratch, but typically I use a combination of convenient starts. I don’t make my own noodles or pasta sauce, but I do chop my own vegetables. I cook my own bacon but rarely batter my own chicken.
Find your balance and embrace it!
Disclaimer: Make It Work For Your Family
This is not one of those guides that undercuts the amount of food you’d normally consume. We’re a family of five, but with a growing teen boy, I plan as if we’re a family of six. We eat healthy-ish. We aim for convenience and flavor. I’m terrible at side dishes. We don’t follow a specific diet plan other than intermittent fasting. We know we’re extremely lucky to have picky eaters, allergies, or food intolerances. Please use our meal plan as a guide and adjust for your family’s particular needs.
- When creating a meal plan, try to use similar or shared ingredients if possible. For example, if I buy a rotisserie chicken, I use the leftovers for soup or quesadillas later in the week. (That is if my growing teen doesn’t polish it off first.)
- When I buy in bulk, I freeze extras for quick starts later, but that’s a post for another day.
- I serve fruit with nearly every meal. I’m not kidding. My kids call me out if I forget the fruit.
- I always have raw carrots, celery, or peppers on hand to accompany meals. Sometimes, you just need a little more crunch and it’s a healthy, free feed option. Plus, said teen boy doesn’t eat cooked vegetables. Period.
- And lastly, but most importantly, if I’m heading to the grocery store and know I won’t have time to cook the next meal before we need to eat it, I pick up something ready-made.
7-day Supper Menu
Saturday: Rotisserie Chicken, macaroni and cheese, fruits and vegetables
Sunday: Hamburgers and tater tots, fruit and vegetables
Monday: Paninis, pasta salad, fruit and vegetables
Tuesday: Spaghetti and meatballs, cheesy bread, fruits and vegetables
Wednesday: Chicken noodle soup with bread, fruit and vegetables
Thursday: Tacos, rice or chips, fruit and vegetables
Friday: Frozen Pizza
Obviously, if you hit the store on Wednesday, have the rotisserie chicken when it’s fresh and modify your schedule just a bit. If you’re good at making side dishes and prefer a broccoli supreme salad with your hamburgers, go for it! Just don’t forget the ingredients. If you don’t consume the copious amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables like we do, again, modify.
Our menu conveniently (or inconveniently) does not have lunches planned on it. Currently, our children go to school in-person and for the most part, eat lunches there. Still add things like milk, cereal, eggs, coffee, and creamer for breakfasts; bread, lunch meat, cheese, yogurt, and pretzels for lunches; granola bars, animal crackers, Cheez-Its, fruit, and trail mix for snacks. Don’t forget the condiments or additional ingredients needed for the above meals (oil for pasta salad, margarine for mac and cheese, etc.)
From the grocery list provided above, lunch options would be: leftover soup, taco salad, sandwiches, bacon-egg-cheese sandwich, or even a panini again because lunch sandwiches don’t have to be boring and paninis aren’t just for supper. Speaking of paninis, here’s my recipe!
If you can’t find the apple cranberry chutney, sub cranberry relish or jam. If cranberry isn’t your flavor, try other fruit chutneys or spreads, like spiced mango.