A Week of Meals
Meals for the Week
Make your life easier by planning a week of meals at one time. When you know what you'll be eating, you can plan and shop accordingly to make your busy week easier to handle.
Instead of rushing home from work each night frantic, wondering what you have on hand to cook, spend an hour or so total to plan your meals for the week.
This time doesn't have to be spent all at once. Keeping a notebook in your purse to jot down ideas is a great way to plan. Shop smart, with a list in hand, and be prepared to feed your family all week long.
Photo Source: agastecheg at SXU
7 Days Meal Plan
Plan it, cook it, eat it
When you use a 7 days meal plan, you feel in control of your week. You can adjust your cooking to fit your day if you choose easy recipes that can either be prepared ahead or quickly the same day. When you go out to eat, look at the menu and think about what choices you could make at home.
Begin your meal planning with a list of food staples you normally cook with and have on hand. Add items like eggs, specific fruits and vegetables, cheeses, breads, tortillas, pastas, canned goods like beans, tomatoes, soups, and so on to your shopping list.
Next, jot down all of your family's favorite dishes. Include the simplest things like ham and cheese sandwiches, scrambled eggs, grilled cheese, vegetable beef soup, chicken dishes, hamburgers, tacos--whatever your family's favorite meals are.
Some tips for cooking once and eating twice: cook enough meat (chicken, ground beef, whatever) so you can use if for two meals; bake a dessert in two small pans instead of a large one and freeze one dessert for another day; buy food on sale and freeze it to stretch your grocery budget.
Photo Source: Peggy Hazelwood
Keep a Notebook to Jot Down Meal Ideas - Consider a small notebook for your purse
Keep a notebook in your purse, in the kitchen, on the coffee table, on your bedside table, and anywhere else great ideas strike you. If you're anything like me, if I don't write it down, it's often gone.
Easy Dinner Ideas
Use these meals as starting points
With your list of meals that your family likes to eat, begin planning the evening meal for one week. Start the week on whatever day makes sense for you (Sunday or Monday or another day if you have a "strange" schedule).
Do your grocery shopping for the entire week making sure you buy all of the ingredients you'll need so there's no excuse to cook a meal.
For a meal you need to fix in a hurry, either for your family or drop-in guests, keep the following staples on hand to prepare a meal of sandwiches and sides at the last minute: canned chicken and tuna fish, a extra loaf of bread in the freezer, canned beans, canned fruit like peaches or fruit cocktail, and a brownie or quick bread mix.
Keep reading for menu ideas for every day of the week.
Photo Credit: Peggy Hazelwood
Sunday Night Meal Ideas
Tailor these meals to fit your family
Make Your Own Tacos with Rice and Beans -- Prepare ground beef or chicken, chop fresh tomatoes, shred lettuce, set out shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa, avocado, and any other toppings.
Open a can of black beans or other favorite beans like refried beans. Cook rice and season with chopped green peppers, onions, tomatoes, and Mexican seasoning. Warm soft or hard shell taco shells in the oven for a few minutes, and let everyone make their own tacos.
- Make a taco salad instead of tacos with more lettuce and less taco shell.
- If your family likes casseroles, make a layered taco casserole adding the rice and beans to the dish.
Photo Source: agastecheg
Tortilla Warmers and Taco Holders - Make taco night easy and fun
These handy warmers and holders are great if your family loves tacos. The taco stands keep hard shell tacos upright. The tortilla warmers go from microwave or oven to the table.
Monday Night Menu Planning
It's usually a busy day so use the crock pot
Monday nights can be hard days for busy families. Monday is the first day back to school and work so give yourself a break. Think of some favorite foods your family likes that can be made in the crock pot. A good option is to make soup. Just add the meat, raw vegetables, water, seasonings, etc., turn the crock pot on and your meal will be ready when you get home from work.
Use these ideas for easy crock pot meals:
- Soups, like bean, vegetable beef, chicken and noodle or rice, lentil
Have a cornbread mix on hand that can be mixed in a few minutes and baked in muffin pans for a quick, hot addition to your meal, or serve crackers or crusty rolls. Add some fresh celery and carrot sticks and fruit to balance the meal.
Photo Credit: Peggy Hazelwood
Crock Pots Work Any Day of the Week - Slow cook your dinner meal
Fix Meals While You Work - Crock Pot Meals Ready When You Get Home
- One Dish Crockpot Meals
This collection of one dish crockpot meals is healthy, easy, and delicious; chicken, beef, pork, and meatless slow cooker recipes.
- Crock Pot Recipes - Easy and Delicious
Crock Pot Recipes, that we have tried ourselves. Plus everything you ever wanted to know about Crock Pot Cooking - tips, articles and some good advice.
- All Recipes Crock Pot Dishes
A collection of slow cooker meal recipes.
Tuesday Night Meal Ideas
Serve breakfast for dinner
If your family likes breakfast foods, think about serving breakfast for dinner once in awhile. The only glitch to making breakfast is that it seems like most of the items have to be prepared just before eating. Let everyone pitch in, and breakfast, er, dinner will be ready lickety split!
These are some great choices for your breakfast dinner:
- scrambled eggs or a frittata (add in red and green pepper, onions, mushrooms for more nutrition)
- pancakes or waffles
- bacon, sausage, ham
- hash browns or fried potatoes
- toast, pastries, muffins, bagels, English muffins
- fresh fruit
- decaf coffee, tea, juice, milk
Photo Source: evobrained
Make Breakfast Quick and Easy
Wednesday Day is Hump Day
You're half way there!
Wednesday means it's all downhill. Only two days left till the weekend! Live it up and take the day off from real cooking. Enjoy one of these easy dinner ideas:
- pizza, frozen or take out or if you're ambitious, make your own
- canned soup or chili
- deli fare like prepared barbequed meat or a rotisserie chicken or fried chicken with sides
- family free for all, let everyone eat what they want as long as they eat one piece of fruit and a veggie like a serving or two of these: raw broccoli, carrots, sugar snap peas. Offer dip to sweeten the deal.
Photo source: pixaio
Fun Dips to Keep on Hand - Let everyone indulge a little while eating fruits and veggies
If you want to let everyone fend for themselves, offer these fun dips for fruits and veggies. They'll get some nutritious food plus enjoy eating it!
Thursday Night Meals
Make it ethnic night
Choose your favorite ethnic dish and serve it up on Thursday night (or any night). Some good easy options include the following:
- Italian: spaghetti and meatballs (frozen if you want to make it super easy) or bow tie pasta with pesto sauce, salad, garlic bread
- Chinese: stir fry with marinated (all day while you work) strips of chicken or beef or pork, vegetables like peppers, onions, snap peas, mushrooms, water chestnuts, green beans, etc.
- Mexican: chicken or beef enchiladas, burritos, fajitas, serve with rice and beans and a small cabbage salad
- Greek: gyros, Greek salad with Greek olives and feta cheese served with rolls, Moussaka
- German: franks, sauerkraut, beets
Cookbooks for Even More Meals to Make at Home
Friday Night Menu Planning
Serve fish for a change
Whether it's for religious reasons or not, fish on Friday can be a delicious option. Serve your family's favorites or try one of these fish choices:
- fish sticks, sweet potato fries with cole slaw
- baked salmon, baked sweet potato, steamed broccoli
- shrimp, salad, fruit
- breaded cod, French fries, cole slaw
- tuna salad sandwiches, pasta salad, pickles
- tuna tossed in a salad
Photo Source: ilco
Cookbooks - Meal ideas for when you're stuck
I use the Cooking from the Cupboard cookbook for ideas of what to fix. It has real-food recipes, ones that use things I actually buy like beans and tomatoes and pasta. This cookbook is great to have on hand when you're stuck for new meal ideas.
Meals for a Saturday Night
Cook a little extra for another meal
Saturday can be a hectic day with running errands or relaxing, just depending. With a stocked pantry, you can come up with something to serve your family. Keep frozen foods on hand like these options:
- frozen chicken breasts that can be sliced into thin strips and stir fried or cooked in oil and added with pasta and vegetables
- a roast that can be put in the crock pot Saturday morning and eaten that evening; add potatoes and carrots for a complete meal
- ravioli or tortellini with your favorite pasta sauce, salad and bread
- complete frozen meals like lasagna or a stir fry that are not half bad; try one or two to see what your family likes
- sandwiches with everyone's favorite breads and fillings
Photo Source: lockstockb
More Meals for the Week - Keep looking and you'll discover so many meals
There are so many options to find quick and easy recipes. Try a new one each week. It might just become a family favorite!
- Easy Dinner Recipes
Easy Dinner Recipes We've put together eight weeks worth of easy dinner recipes, complete with the recipes for each dinner main dish and side dish ideas.
- Easy Dinner Ideas with Free Weekly Menus, Recipes and a Printable Grocery List
A busy mom provides favorite easy dinner ideas to help busy families make stress free, homemade dinners.
- Quick Easy Dinner Recipes for Tonight , Easy Dinner Recipes
Want truly quick easy dinner recipes? There are over 100 easy dinner ideas here! As a busy mom, I'm tired of searching for dinner recipes and finding complicated recipes with too many ingredients.
Amazon Affiliate Disclosure
Peggy Hazelwood is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.