I’ve decided never to write a meal plan again.

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I’ve decided never to write a meal plan again.

April Fool!

That statement is as preposterous as serving this for breakfast every day. (It’s really a cake! Loaded with sugar, I might add.)

But seriously, a meal plan is necessary to making our days run more smoothly. In fact, if I spend a few minutes to make sure that I have  all three meals (plus snacks) planned out, the day goes very nice.

If I bust out and do some freezer cooking, well, we might get to eat in a reasonable amount of time, too. With hockey occupying three nights and one morning out of the week, I have to be on my toes.

I spent about ten minutes drafting out a meal plan for the month of April. It wasn’t hard since I follow certainly formulas. Every week to ten days we have pizza, pasta, soup, and mexican food. Those repeat in a cycle with other items rotating in.

Here’s the plan for the month:

1. Breakfast for Supper

2. Lawnmower Taco, Salad

3. Pasta Night, Vegetable, Cornbread

4. Soup Night, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

5. Mexibar – with Cheese Enchiladas, Rice, Beans, Salad, Toppings

6. Pizza Night

7. Slow Cooker Carnitas, Rice, Beans, Corn Tortillas, Salad or Veggie Dippers

8. Ham, Scalloped Potatoes, Vegetable, Biscuits

9. Grilled Chicken, Rice Pilaf, Vegetable

10. Beans and Rice

11. Breakfast for Supper

12. Paso Mom Tacos

13. Pizza NightVeggie Dippers

14. Pasta Night, Salad or Veg, Drop Biscuits

15. Chicken Pot Pie, Layered Fruit Salad

16. Mexibar – with Cheese Enchiladas, Rice, Beans, Salad, Toppings

17. Soup Night, Herb and Cheese Biscuits

18. Grilled Chicken, Quinoa Pilaf, Vegetable

19. Beans and Rice

20. Pizza NightVeggie Dippers

21. Breakfast for Supper

22. Hot Dogs on Homemade Buns, Sunshine Cole Slaw, Veggie Tray

23. Meatballs and Mashed Potatoes, Veg, Cornbread

24. Beans and RiceCorn Tortillas, and Toppings

25. Pasta Night, Salad or Veg, Drop Biscuits

26. Mexibar – with Cheese Enchiladas, Rice, Beans, Salad, Toppings

27. Pizza Night, Green Salad

28. Soup Night, good bread

29. Chicken Pot PieLayered Fruit Salad

30. Chef’s Choice

What’s cooking at your house this week?

For more meal planning inspiration, visit Menu Plan Monday each week.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe great meals don't have to be complicated or expensive. There's a better way, and it won't take all afternoon.

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  1. Stacy says:

    I always feel so intimidated by making a meal plan. I feel like I can’t come up with that many ideas that I can commit to wanting to make. Or I don’t have all of the ingredients, or…it will take too long to figure it out. I don’t know why I can’t get over this obstacle of resistance, but I have never made this a habit. I can see that it would be a stress reliever because I would know what to do without having to come up with it that day, but sitting down to figure it all out feels like a big chore, and not one I feel talented at doing. Anyway, that’s my confession. I admire how organized you seem to be with all of it, but I fall way short of that bar. 🙂

    • Ashley says:

      I’m a newbie to this meal planning life. I usually just plan for the week. One week at a time seems more manageable for me and not so overwhelming. I have found that the weeks that I do plan are so much easier. Even if something comes up, I can easily save the meal for a different night or for the next week.
      Try just a week at a time, or even a few days at a time. It really does help!

    • Jessica says:

      @Stacy, well, thank goodness that my bar is not yours! 🙂 You gotta do what works for YOU.

      But, I am curious. If you don’t make a meal plan, what do you do? When do you decide what’s for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? And how do you decide what to put on your grocery list? Those answers might help you a lot. And we can help you — if you want.

      • Stacy says:

        @Jessica, Well, I guess we eat pretty simply because I just buy what we normally like, then I make sure to use it all up. I guess it’s backward, really. If I don’t have an ingredient, I make something else or I make it another way. I don’t waste food except that I may have things in the cupboards that are not getting used up quickly.

        • Jessica says:

          @Stacy, I did it that way for years. Unfortunately, I ended up wasting a lot of food because I would forget what I had bought. If your way works for you, then I don’t think you have to have a meal plan.

          Can you believe I just said that? 😉 But, it’s true. If meals are happening and your bills fit your budget, then I don’t think you “have to” change anything.

          My kids look forward to meals. And I save money by planning in advance — and not wasting food.

    • Kelly says:

      @Stacy, I made what I call a menu framework, that covers the basics and then I can fill in the details. I’ll use dinner for my example. Monday is chicken, Tuesday is soup, Weds is beef, Thurs fish, Fri is ethnic, Sat is pizza or a roast and Sun in leftovers. Having that much in place makes it easier for me to fill in the details as I go. When I see a really cool pizza idea, I can pencil it in for the next Saturday pizza night. It helps me to avoid the “some day I want to try this recipe” mentailty and instead I actually plan and prepare it.

      I agree with Jessica though-if what you’re doing works, don’t change it.

  2. You almost had me for a moment! I have to admit that my plan for the week is weak, weak, weak. However, weak as it is I do think it’s better to have some kind of inclination as to what I’m going to put on the table.

    Here’s our plan.


  3. I hear you on the meal plan–I like to plan my meals in front of my favorite television program–seems to make it less of a “chore”. The last couple of weeks I tried to “wing it” and go from memory and I learned the hard way by having to make multiple trips to the store. That taught me that it really is worth it to take the few minutes just to write it down. Great inspiration here–thanks!

  4. Nice plan. I saw your title and thought – YAY! Because I still haven’t done my plan for the week…ah well. Guess I am not given a reprieve. My plan might just be the same from last week though. I did a horrible job staying on plan. One unplanned thing after another just got in my way.

  5. Yeah…you scared me, too. Glad you were joking. 🙂
    A couple months ago I took on the giant task of making a month-long meal plan. And actually it wasn’t as hard as I thought, because I just had to make a list of every meal I make, and then choose my 31 favorites. (That might’ve been the hardest part.) Then they all got numbered, being rotated by hamburger, chicken, and other, and then when we get paid every two weeks, my meal plan is already made. It’s still a work in progress, but eventually I will have my shopping lists all pre-made, too, because it’s all the same food each of those two bi-monthly segments. I’m still a little nervous that it’ll get monotonous, but it’s a meal only once every month, so I don’t think it will. And even though they’re numbered, I feel free to switch them around within each week/two weeks, or try something else if I find something new. It’s still flexible but it allows me the freedom from grocery shopping and meal planning stress. 🙂

    • Jessica says:

      I used to have three 2-week rotations with shopping lists. I haven’t done that in a long time. But, I found it really helpful. Now, I write a new plan each month because we like different things in different seasons, but planning long term is really helpful.

  6. This week I’m keeping it simple by stretching a Rotisserie Chicken over a bunch of meals. I’m also experimenting with making Quinoa Nuggets.


  7. Sandi says:

    I made that lawnmower taco tonight. I added a can of refried beans as a layer to stretch it out a bit. I actually made two pans, one to cook tonight and one I froze for later. On the one for tonight, I added some leftover brown rice. It was very filling. The kid quite enjoyed it, and said thanks for the suggestion.

    • Jessica says:

      @Sandi, it’s one of my kids’ very favorite meals.

      • Sandi says:

        @Jessica, I did think that once the dish was baked, the tortilla chips no longer tasted like chips. I would think if you did not have chips, you could just dice some regular tortillas and use them with equal success.

        • Jessica says:

          @Sandi, yes. It’s a good way to use up stale chips, too.

  8. Lea Ann says:

    I made your sunshine coleslaw last weekend and we loved it. My son who usually won’t eat any coleslaw thought it was great (especially when I said that the kids of the mom that provided it on her blog loved it).


  9. I can’t do a monthly plan but do weekly trying to make sure we enough variety. Sunday is usually grill night with turkey burger, beef burgers, Wednesday for some reason is an easy night it maybe some soup with sandwiches or some easy chili thrown in the crockpot. Sunday night is homemade pizza night. Frugal meal planning for the last 8 years has really helped.

  10. Mindy says:

    Well, you certainly got my attention with that title 😀 All I could come up with, was that you had done a HUGE freezer session and were just going to start pulling out random “surprise” dinners…I do monthly plans, because our menu changes based on season and what I find on Pinterest, LOL. One thing that has really helped is saving my past menus. When I did our plan for May, I pulled out my May menu from last year and found some recipes we loved but have fallen out of rotation. I replaced some with new recipes, I’ve found, but for the most part I’m just using a combo of May 2010 and May 2011.

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