preparation pays

I've been working on a few things lately to get our home (and my brain) more organized. I have been looking for ways to simplify our lives and get rid of unnecessary stress. One of the things that has really helped the last four weeks is a meal plan. Seems silly right? Most people already do this, and to be honest, I thought I had a good system in place before. Some of you probably have a similar system: come home from work, take a peek in the fridge to see what items we have to prepare a somewhat easy, mindless, "healthy" dinner. Think up a few options and relay them to hubby, who says he will be happy with anything, then end up making the easiest, quickest one because I am hungry NOW. Or grab something at Gecko Grill... Now it wasn't always like that, more often I had a plan in mind the night before or during the day and I ran to the grocery store to grab a few things to make something that required more thought and preparation, and that just made me frazzled. The last thing I want to do after working all day is go to a crowded grocery store and try to put a meal together. I used to buy a whole bunch of things at the grocery store on Saturday that sounded good at the time and forgot about them later on in the week... I usually ended up wasting money because stuff went bad.

So, four weeks ago I came up with a plan. I was going to make a weekly menu and STICK TO IT. Stu was still sleeping so I typed up my meal plan for the week and a grocery list of what I would need to purchase to make those meals happen. The best part was that I peeked in my fridge and pantry before making the list, making a mental note of what I had on hand, thought up some yummy meals I could make with what I had (so I could use up my current supply first), and then I compiled my list for the week. So easy! It seems like it would take more time, but trust me, it saves SO much time! and money! Read on...

I've been doing this for almost a month now, and it has been so great! I have made a total of 3 trips to the grocery store, 2 stops at the local farmers market, plus one trip to Costco to stock up on the essentials. Each Fry's run has totalled less than $20 each, less than $15 at the farmers market, the Costco trip was less than $50. Maybe that seems like a lot for some people, but that is REALLY good for us! I don't know about you, but it seems like $25 can go reallllly fast when you're at the grocery store. I'm one of those people who can see one item in the store and think up a whole meal pretty much on the spot, Stu can vouch, I love to cook and try new recipes. The problem with this was that I would end up filling up my cart with random things to make something I thought up, and in the end I would spend more than I planned or have multiples of the same stuff sitting in the pantry. Such a waste. Plus, having my grocery list ready helped our wallets two-fold because I was able to look in the weekly ads and see if anything on sale was worth getting for dinner. Saving even MORE money! Stress levels have really gone down too, way down. I no longer rush around after work to the store to get items needed for dinner, I already have everything waiting for me at home! It's amazing! We are eating healthier and happier, I love it- and highly recommend it!

This is an example of what we're eating this week, although I may have to
change up the weekend plans a little bit (I forgot Valentines day is coming up!)

weekly menu
Monday: Italian Parmesan Crusted Chicken, Garlic Butter Noodles, and Green Beans
Tuesday: Lemon Garlic Salmon, Brown Rice Pilaf, and Asparagus
Wednesday: Breakfast! Eggs Bennedict with Hollandaise sauce and Crackers-style Potatoes
Thursday: Rotini Pasta Bake with Broccoli
Friday: Date Night (any ideas for a romantic dinner out?)
Saturday: Juicy Lucy Hawaiian Burgers with Sweet Tater Fries
Sunday: usually family dinner, but I think I'll make something yummy for love day..

Do any of you have a similar plan?
How do you plan out your weeks?
let me know if you want to try these recipes!


nate and amy crandell said...

I love planning out the meals for the week too it really does make things more simple. All your dinners sound amazing-yum!!!

Kelcie&Taylor said...

i want to try ALL of them! especially the pasta one, and the chicken :)

Mallory Leatham said...

I want to try those delicious dinners... post those recipes! Yummm! I think you have one spoiled hubby. Don't tell Paul you cook like this.

Angie Milne said...

haha don't be fooled mal! these recipes are sooo easy (but soo yummy!) and please, we all know that paul's the one that does the cooking in your house! haha. i'll work on posting the recipes :)

Lachelle Merrill said...

would you mind sharing the wednesday breakfast recipe with me?!? I will love you lots if you will share ;)

Taralynn and Kory said...

those all sound delicious! i am very impressed with your grocery bill. $25 does go fast!
and all of those "signs"/images you've been posting lately are super cute! do you design them?
i will let you know next time i'm in mesa. i thought about calling you on sunday, but figured you were with fam watching the superbowl.

Brady and Brittany said...

This sounds amazing!! You need to be a contributor on Basic Bites! Email me your gmail address at basicbitesblog@gmail.com


Grafton and Laurisa Milne said...

I desperately need to learn to do meal plans!!! and I would LOVE to have more of your recipes :) always appreciate when you post them! you are so cute..love ya sis!

Brady & Alexes Brown said...

totally loving this meal plan idea! I'm totally going to try it! Hopefully it will make my life that much easier!!

angela hardison said...

i really need to work on doing meal plans. i spend way too much on groceries.