A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Meal planning & prep: A week in the life

on February 26, 2015

It’s been a busy week in our household (aren’t they all?) with lots of super cold weather. We’ve had lots of days where I just want to snuggle up in bed with a pizza to keep me warm. 🙂 Thankfully, I did a great job with meal planning this week and thought I’d share with you guys how it looks when it goes well.

Confession: It doesn’t always go this well!

Sunday We went out to breakfast Sunday morning and talked through our schedules for the week and what we were craving. We knew that we’d be coming home a little later on Tuesday and Thursday nights, so those were the nights with the least time to cook. We also had a three year old with no concept of a budget pointing out beef tenderloin as the food he wanted for dinner. 🙂

We decided to substitute pot roast for the beef tenderloin, which I could put in the slow cooker as soon as we got home from the grocery store. We decided on slow cooker soup on Tuesday, because I’d have turned around the slow cooker after pot roast by then (gotta be real about the dishes that don’t always immediately clean themselves!) and spaghetti with meatballs Thursday, because I could make the marinara and meatballs ahead of time on Sunday so we’d just have to cook pasta Thursday. I was going to use sausage in the soup, so we decided to use the rest of the sausage we wouldn’t need for the soup for sandwich thin pizzas for dinner on Friday.

With a plan in place, we hit HyVee (love HyVee!) and then headed home to prep. I put in about an hour of prep work on Sunday and it paid off in spades all week! I simmered some of the super-delish, super easy marinara we’re hooked on these days while I cooked sausage for soup and pizzas (that recipe coming next week when I review the cookbook it came from!). I then cooked the onions, carrots and bell pepper that we were using for soup and meatballs in the sausage pan to pick up some extra goodness from the leftover turkey sausage bits. I made the meatballs and popped pot roast in the slow cooker and suddenly found myself with a fridge that was ready for the week ahead!

Veggies sauteed for soup in the slow cooker Tuesday, sausage for pizza toppings and the soup, and homemade marinara, plus meatballs for later in the week. It'll be an Italian themed week around here!

Veggies sauteed for soup in the slow cooker Tuesday, sausage for pizza toppings and the soup, and homemade marinara, plus meatballs for later in the week. It’ll be an Italian themed week around here!

Monday Leftover pot roast, with some fresh green beans and roasted brussel sprouts on the side. If your budget allows for it, the pre-cut and washed veggies at the grocery store can be a huge time saver. Anything that makes it easier to get veggies on the table is worth it! You can save money if you can put in a little extra time on the weekend chopping and prepping yourself. I find if I do all of this food prep stuff as soon as I get home from the grocery store, I’m much more likely to do it and then use the veggies before they go funky.

Tuesday Thanks to Sundays work, I just had to open a bag of beans, pour in a box of stock and empty out the containers of veggies and sausage I’d already cooked into the slow cooker. Literally less than 5 minutes of work and we came home to a yummy smelling house. We dished out some soup for O and then stirred in a bag of washed and torn kale to wilt in the grown up soup. It was delicious (although a bad choice for eating right before I headed out to run!).

Filling, warm and perfect for a cold night

Filling, warm and perfect for a cold night

Wednesday Free pie Wednesday at Village Inn, so we had our usual family date night. I love having one night a week where I don’t have to worry about dinner!

Thursday Tonight, we’ll be having the meatballs I cooked on Sunday with marinara and pasta (or spaghetti squash in my case). All I’ll need to do is put the marinara on the stove to warm up with the meatballs nestled down in the pot while I cook the pasta. We’ll be able to have dinner on the table in a flash, thanks to a little work on Sunday. I’ll get everything started as soon as I walk in the door and by the time I finish letting the dog out, getting coats put away and sorting the mail, it’ll be time to set the table.

Friday Friday just calls for pizza, don’t you think? We’ll save a little of the marinara from Thursday and use the leftover sausage I kept aside from the soup to top mini pizzas we make on sandwich thins for family movie night! Once you nail down a couple of foods you want to make for the week, think of how you can dual-purpose some of the ingredients so you maximize your budget and your time.

Saturday is date night for the grown ups and corn dogs for O (he loves vegetarian corn dogs) with his baby sitter. Sunday we’ll start this whole cycle again.

How do you plan your meals for the week?

PS Here’s another post I wrote about how I approach meal planning that may help you get started!

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5 responses to “Meal planning & prep: A week in the life

  1. Kristin says:

    Wow!! Nice going!! Amazing meals!! How do I plan my meals? Let’s see, at the end of each week, I make a list of meals for the following week and then make a list of everything that I need to get at Trader Joe’s!! I usually plan a pasta dish, a wrap, a salad, a soup, etc. Have a wonderful Friday! XOXO

  2. […] written here a couple of times about our approach to meal planning and preparation (here and here), but I’m going to add the recommendation for this book: Dinner The Playbook (the link is FYI […]

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