Well October is officially coming to a close. I feel like I should get a t-shirt made that says “I survived October 2012” because it was a crazy busy one. There was so much going on in all areas of my life it is amazing I did not lose my mind. Okay maybe I did for a couple days but I found it quickly and carried on.
In the past, when life got hectic, I typically would find myself overwhelmed throwing my hands in the air and surrendering to my busy life. However, now I am noticing that the chaos of life is not getting the best of me anymore. I attribute a lot of that to the systems and routines I have in place to keep our life in some sort of order each week. Believe me they are not perfect but they do help.
One routine that consistently proves to be useful is creating a weekly menu plan. Without it I am sure I would be stressed out trying desperately to prepare dinner every night. Instead, I know what we are going to eat and 99% of the time I have it made ahead of time. Like I said it might not be perfect but it does help.
However, as useful as menu planning is I still often find it time consuming and a pain to put together. Probably because each week, when I menu plan, I start the process with a pen, paper, about 5 cookbooks, and my computer to look up all the online recipes I have saved. It gets overwhelming fast. Over the few months or so I started to wonder if there was an easier way. To answer this question I have been researching and trying out different menu planning services. I don’t know why I never thought to look into menu planning services before – maybe it has to do with my wonder woman persona. Anyway, I have seen the light and feel that many of these menu planning services have a real purpose in making a busy parents life much easier.
I already talked about my love for the menu planning service emeals but I wanted to find a service that helped me organize my own recipes. I do use Pinterest for ideas and such but have not found it to be real effective in the actual menu planning process. I wanted something more. Well, I am happy to say that I found that in the menu planning service Plan to Eat. I am going to write a more detailed review in the future but for now let me just say that it is fantastic and exactly what I needed. With Plan to Eat you can save all your own recipes as well as recipes from around the web. Then it has a drag and drop menu planner for you to enter the meals you will eat during the week. After that it formulates a grocery list with all the ingredients and also leaves room for you to add or remove ingredients. It is AWESOME! I have been using this for about 2 months now and really love it. They offer a free 30 day trial so test it out and see what you think.
Before we get to my menu plan I just want to do a quick SMK week in review for anyone that missed some of the posts this week.
Apple Peanut Butter Sandwiches – our new favorite after school snack!
Black Bean and Rice Quesadillas – the ULTIMATE pantry meal.
3 Ways to Make Ahead and Freeze Homemade Pizza – because eating pizza is a must!
8 Tips to a Simple Fun Holiday Season – guest post from professional organizer Jennifer Ford Berry.
Alright let’s get to my menu plan. This is the first week in a while that most of meals are not already in the freezer. Therefore, today I will be spending a few hours getting breakfast burritos and dinners prepped for the week.
Here is what we are having.
Make ahead tips
- Every week these burritos go like hotcakes so I will be making a triple batch of burritos today to help get us through the next couple weeks without running out.
Baby spinach salad
Bean and cheese burritos
Yogurt with frozen fruit and homemade granola
Make ahead tips
- Wraps and salad will be made a day or two before and stored in the refrigerator.
- Granola will be made today. I just love the way my house smells when I make this so I can’t wait.
After school snacks
Cheesy Meatloaf Minis – new recipe from my Cooking Light 2012 magazine
Loaded Potato Soup – new recipe from my Cooking Light 2012 magazine
Shrimp in Coconut Curry Sauce – this recipe is from my new Weight Watchers One Pot Cookbook.
Make ahead tips
- Tortilla soup will be made today and stored in the refrigerator because we will be eating that on Monday. I am going to leave the chicken out until I warm it up. For some reason I find chicken to get stringy when left in soup to long.
- Meatloaf will be made today (not baked), flash frozen, and stored in the freezer. I will take out the night before we eat so it is thawed a bit before I cook it.
- I will make the potato soup and store in the refrigerator until we eat. Garnishes will be added the night off.
- Coconut curry sauce will be made today and stored in the refrigerator. Shrimp will be added the night off. I still have rice in the freezer.
- Meatballs will be made today. I am actually going to make a large batch of meatballs to have a stock going in my freezer.
Skinny Mom’s Kitchen participates in Menu Plan Monday hosted by The Organizing Junkie.
What’s on your menu plan this week?