Meal Planning Tips and Tricks

Meal time is always the worst part of my day. Any meal. Any time of the day. HORRIBLE!

I have four people who have no idea what they want to eat, stand with the fridge door wide open saying “What do we have to eat” when the fridge is full, and no one can agree on the same thing.

So I have learned to set out a ton of meats, fish, and chicken during the week and basically whip up either favorites, new dishes, a little gourmet, or a little of “Not sure what this is….but it’s freaking good!”

My tips and tricks are with food….I truly hate food. Food and meals are my demons. But here is how we fish survive in the tank when someone else isn’t feeding us (aka takeout):

  • Casseroles. You can’t go wrong with any sort of casserole type dish. Lasagna, enchiladas, anything that you can make in a single dish and toss in the oven. Plus if it is simple to whip up, dinner and clean up are a breeze.
  • Grill. I personally love to grill. The food has a flavor that cannot be replaced. Plus less energy usage. So when I grill I throw my whole meats on the grill FROZEN, this keeps them nice and juicy and you never (ok hardly ever) have to worry about burning or overcooking where the food is so nasty dry. You can grill anything and everything…give it a whirl! Grill lots of extras too! This way you have extras for the week for dinners, lunch, whatever.
  • Menus. I love a menu, this way everyone in the family can participate in what foods they want to eat during the week and makes meal time a breeze. Especially because if dinner is not served at FIVE O’CLOCK SHARP at my house…..demons invade. Seriously its like that moment where Spike from the Gremlins movie takes over the house. YIKES!
  • The Crock Pot can be your friend. I really hate the crock pot because it is ugly and takes up precious storage space. However, I have created many a meals, very tasty ones at that, in my ugly plug her in machine.
  • Forget the rules. Who says you have to have breakfast at breakfast and dinner for dinner. We call it “Brinner.” Who doesn’t love a belgian waffle smothered in fresh fruit, a side of (turkey) bacon, and maybe some scrambled egg whites for dinner or breakfast! Go nuts!
  • Avoid pre-packaged dinner meals. Like the ones where the rice and everything is in it you just add your own meat. HELLO CALORIES!! HELLO CHEESE TO MY ASS! Yeah I made that same “dinner” with brown rice, fresh cheese, frozen broccoli, and chicken. About 400 less calories than the box dinner and everyone wanted and had seconds! Super easy to do as well.
  • Salads. Yes the dreaded greens! But the greens can be fun I have a great taco salad dish that my kids eat because they are involved in the process. Plus if you tell them they can smother it with ranch…they are total game, oh and it has Doritos (I know shame on me).
  • Colors, lots of colors. I tried to have a lot of color in my food. Part of my OCD I think, but I hate when my food looks tan…..all of it. I love vibrant colors and flavors I am a true food whore about that because I have such odd tastes in food.

I would love to hear what your tricks are when making meals, keeping the family happy, trying not to serve the same old “slop” night in and night out, and what helps you save time? I also have lots of yummy recipes for everything from breakfast to dessert that are super easy peasy and totally fool proof! Quite a few are posted on the blog my sister’s and I share and I hope to post some here real soon. Happy Thursday everyone….and stay tuned! I have some great reviews and fun giveaways!!

9 Replies to “Meal Planning Tips and Tricks”

  1. WOW I will email your advice to my partner who thinks that turning the oven on is hard work. No, that's unfair … getting off the chair to approach the oven is hard work!

  2. I really like your post! I get bored sometimes with the same ole meal so I try to make sure every week that I try one or two new recipes. My kids are very picky. Well all but the baby. She eats pretty much everything. I make them try it. If they don't like it they can have something else. Each one wants something different. So I make sure to ask each boy his choice of dinner at least once a week so they get what they like too. 🙂

  3. Hey now it is hard work…turning anything on can be chore if you don't want to turn it on. LOL

  4. Stacie, I have that same problem….so I always make the favorite…Spaghetti at least once a week so that everyone eats something. Otherwise, yeah I am a short order cook…bologna sandwiches all around.

  5. We rarely sit down together to eat. Most family together time is out at a restaurant. And lately….

    we have been splitting up at fast casual restaurants hogging a couple of tables.

    I like to have a big day in the kitchen every other weekend where I whip up 4 or 5 meals freezing portions to reheat in freezer bags – spaghetti, chili, soups.

    We all eat something different when we are at home for dinner. It drives my mom nuts. She calls me a short order cook. I call her a BITCH!!! Just not to her face.

  6. You wanna hear my easy meals? Chicken nuggets and Easy Mac! I know that's bad but sometimes, especially now that its summer, we are so busy and it stays light so long that we don't pay much attention to the time. I make dinner but usually not until late, well, later than my boys want to eat. So for them on those kind of nights I do the old "go to" meal of chicken nuggets and easy mac. Healthy, right? Oh well, they enjoy it and that's all that matters. And C and I, well if I don't make dinner we scrounge! C's favorite quick meal is cheese crisps. I'm lucky enough to have kids and a husband that don't complain about dinner and that don't care what it is as long as they're fed. But when I do cook, I feel like I cook the same 'ol shit. I'm a big fan of the crockpot too but your brother no likey! I love the tips and tricks though! Gimme some yummy new recipes sister! Love you!

  7. nothing beats the grill! i grill EVERYTHING and i grill all year round. my kids eat nothing, so, even though i have a certificate that pronounces me a "classically trained french chef" i have no fun ideas for family dinners. i can give you recipes for all other kinds of stuff, but not necessarily "family meals." and bathtime is my nightmare time of day.

  8. I hate pre packed foods I never tasted one which is good! and I love menus usually I do a menu for a whole month..I dont always cook by it but most of the time and its so much easier than thinking there and than what to eat!

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