Today, a little departure from decorating and DIY. Funnily enough, when I started My Fabuless Life, menu-planning was going to be one of the first things I posted about. I’ve been doing a two week menu plan for basically ever. So, I don’t really know what happened, but DIY and decorating sort of took over, and talking about it here never really happened. BUT, it’s something that I’ve grown pretty passionate about over the years because when my husband and I started saving to buy a house, this was honestly our BIGGEST budget-changer. It seems like such a small thing, but it’s pretty astounding how quickly eating out even just a couple of nights a week can add up (both on the wallet and your butt), and how much easier it is to avoid eating out when you’ve won the simple battle of just knowing what you’re going to eat every night (followed by battle #2: remembering to thaw the chicken–#StoryOfMyLife).
Over the past few years, between having a baby–who turned into a child that’s a very picky eater, and unconventional work schedules, and just some flat out laziness on my part, the menu planning has kind of fallen by the wayside. Well, let me rephrase that: I have still basically planned my menus religiously–sticking to them has been another thing. But, we’ve had some changes in the first few months of this year that have made me really want to get back to being the menu-planning ninja that I used to be and start sticking to it again. And since one of my biggest battles is just figuring out what to cook, I thought I’d start sharing my Two Week Menu Plan with you every other Monday and hopefully we can exchange a little meal inspiration. I’ll share my menus and links to most of the meals. All dinners that we’ve tested in our house and have been keepers. I’ve been cooking my way through Pinterest over the last few months and have found some REALLY good stuff!
And since we’re just starting this out, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite tips that have helped me with successful menu-planning. I’ll try to keep it short, but I get oddly excited about this stuff:
1. I plan TWO WEEKS at a time. I’ve tried doing it weekly, but for me, every two weeks just seems to work out better. Once a week was too much shopping. Payday for us is every other Friday, so I usually plan out our meals on the Thursday before payday and shop on Friday or Sunday. I do hit up the grocery store once a week for produce that won’t last two weeks–like avocados, etc.
2. I only plan dinners. Bless the people who are organized enough to plan breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but I am most definitely NOT one of those people. My lunch usually consists of sneaking giant wood spoonfuls of the child’s macaroni and cheese straight out of the pan, or leftovers. Which brings me to…
3. We are a family of 3–two and a quarter if you consider how much my child eats (nice for the grocery budget, trying on my sanity). I basically cook for two, but I try to plan a mix of meals that will either have leftovers, or that I can make a bit of extra for leftovers for lunches. For example, on both Wednesday nights above where you see chicken, I’ll make a few extra pieces. BBQ Chicken for salad, and the Honey Dijon Chicken is amazing mixed in rice. Taco and fajita leftovers also make great rice bowls. There’s a rice bowl theme for lunches around here–we heart carbs (unfortunately).
4. Pinterest has become my favorite go-to for recipes. There’s always something new and amazing. HOWEVER, I can tend to get carried away and before I know it, I’ve planned two weeks worth of seriously involved meals that I end up not wanting to cook when dinner time rolls around, and we’re back to eating takeout four nights a week. So, I try to make sure I keep a mix of easy stuff, tried and trues, and a few new things. Then if we like them, they stay in the rotation. Spaghetti or tacos are basically always on there because they’re easy, and if they’re not on there, I always have the stuff on hand for them as a fall back on days that just fall apart–who has those?
So, here’s this week (and next week’s) menu. My absolute FAVORITES from this one: the Peanut Chicken (which for some reason is in my head as “Peanut Chicken” but is actually called Thai Chicken according to the recipe) and the Honey Dijon Chicken. AMAZING! And both awesome as leftovers…with what? Oh yeah, rice Links to most of the recipes are below and there’s also a blank menu you can download for yourself.
Skillet Chicken Tortilla Pie via Pinch of Yum
Easy Thai Chicken (Peanut Chicken on the Menu) via Damn Delicious
Caramelized Pork Tacos via Pinch of Yum
(the last three are just my basic old recipes–no links )
Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken via The Recipe Critic
Honey Dijon Garlic Chicken via The Recipe Critic
Grilled Chicken BLT’s with Avocado via My Life As A Mrs.
(Again, the other recipes are just the old basics)
If you want to download your own Two Week Menu & Grocery List, you can follow the link below. And if this looks familiar, it’s because there has been another version or two in the past, but I like to change things up sometimes
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