Meal Planning 101: Make a Two-Week Rotation

Make a two week meal plan and rotate it to make meal planning easier.

One of the things that I’m learning about myself and cooking is that there are several factors that keep my interest in the cooking and meal planning that comes with every day life. Those would include:

  • My children actually eating what I cook.
  • Variety and creativity in the foods I’m making.

The first is hit or miss, as anyone with children will understand. Some days I barely get a base hit. Other days, I hit an out-of-the-park home run.

Sometimes the same meal can receive equally diverse reactions. The kids like lasagne one night and there are no leftovers. The next time I serve lasagne, they turn their noses up at it. Sometimes, you just can’t win.

But, I’m going to hazard a guess that you can name 15 meals your family loves. I can.

  1. Lawnmower Taco
  2. Shrimp Tacos
  3. Chicken Pot Pie
  4. Queso Fundido
  5. BBQ Pork Sandwiches
  6. Roast Chicken with all the Trimmings
  7. Taco Soup
  8. Pot Roast
  9. Meatballs, Mashed Potatoes, and Gravy
  10. Pasta with Red Sauce
  11. Hamburgers on Homemade Buns
  12. Carnitas Soft Tacos
  13. Homemade Pizza
  14. Turkey Baguette Sandwiches (I prefer mine this way.)
  15. Sauerkraut and Pork (Everyone loves this except hubby)

As I was searching for links, I found even more recipes that my family loves, so a fortnight’s worth of meals is not hard to pull off. If you don’t have as long a list, check out ours. I would describe most of my kids as “picky eaters” and yet these are meals that everyone loves.

So, what’s the meal plan?

Make a list of 15 meals and repeat it twice a month. Yes, really. Chances are you won’t be bored having each of your meals twice a month. If you’re worried that you might be, then make two lists and swap them back and forth.

Not only will you have variety in your meal planning, shopping, and cooking, but you’ll also have a guarantee (sort of) that folks will eat what you cook.

What will go on YOUR list of 15 great meals?

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Comments

  1. AllieZirkle says:

    Our meals are so weather dependent. It can be frustrating. Summer means no baking after 12pm because there’s no way to cool the house down enough. Even the crock pot in the house is too hot. Still!

    BBQ chicken salad, sausage & peppers, Sesame chicken, curry, white chili, nacho / taco bar, grilled fish, tandoori, Greek wraps, pizza, fritata (when hubby isn’t home lol)

  2. What an easy simple way to make meal planning easy!! Being a month away from the birth of my 4th child I have just not been in the mood to meal plan let alone cook especially when my kids so readily turn down what I make. But this looks like something tha will actually work!!

  3. When you do it like this, though, that greatly reduces experimentation with new recipes. What fun would that be? I guess it depends on whether food prep is a chore or “me time”. My schedule is so busy that when I have time to cook and play around in the kitchen, that often is my “time to relax” and constantly doing something by rote would be really disappointing. Then again, I don’t plan out a weekly menu. I’ve tried a few times, but my work schedule is very erratic and sometimes literally changes by the hour, so long-term planning actually ends up wasting more food than if I do it just one or two days at a time.

    • @Sandi, for me, keeping this kind of rotation, where I know everyone is pleased, allows me to experiment with side dishes, desserts, or even tweaking the seasonings on the roast or the chicken. Then I know that if they don’t like that experimental salad or vegetable, they’ll like the main dish and not go hungry.

  4. My family at home has shrunk from 5 to 3, so cooking is MUCH easier now, but when my big boys were at home too, I used this method. SO effective and so much easier than 5:00 p.m. meltdowns when everyone is starving.
    Our faves are tacos & nachos, chili, chicken in mushroom gravy, jambalaya, lasagna, and roast in a crockpot. There are other dishes to throw in there, but those will get us through busy times!

  5. I have a suggestion – I definitely use family favorites as our staples – and some of them are crockpot or direct from frozen or mostly from preprepped frozen meals for crazy days

    but

    If you enjoy extending your cooking skills and have a varied schedule choose a day every week or two where you leave it open – make sure you have some protein in mind as a base – but lately I’ve enjoyed trying new recipes on days when I have more free time [so rare!] and our repetoire is expanding as it goes on . . . today I’m making chicken marsala – new for me though we love it at restaurants – and fun to try something new – next week’s menu plan is done and on Friday I will either try a completely new to me recipe that allows for most to be done ahead or I’ll defrost a meatloaf at the last moment LOL – driving from pretty much 3-6pm – but I have all week to think about what I might want to make with what I have on hand!

  6. This would be a great list for most of the year! We do have homemade pizza and homemade chicken nuggets in rotation most often at our house. Here is our menu plan for the week. We rely on the slow cooker a lot! http://bit.ly/V0LfYz

  7. I’m probably going to steal your menu plan and see if it works :-)

    I’ve felt beat-up lately because my kids have NOT been eating what I’ve been making. Ugh. Even things they’ve liked in the past! I do think I’ve been experimenting too much, though. I like to try new foods and new techniques because I get really tired of the same thing over and over. I’ll probably have to let that go for a while until my kids grow out of the picky eating thing.

  8. Michele Davidian says:

    Thank-you ladies for your input on meal planing, it is not a habit for me but Im working on it! It is also nice to hear I’m not the only one who has family members who are not always “thrilled” with my dinner creations:) I really like the 2 week rotation, I’m not gonna over think it and do too many new recipes

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