Creative Meal Planning for a Family of 5

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Meal planning takes some thought and a little bit of work but the payoff is definitely worth it. For years I have meal planned so that our family could stay on a budget and I can tell you that if you are trying to cut cost...writing out menus and doing a grocery list will certainly help you stay within your parameters. Have you seen those "Weekly Meal Plans" around the internet where you can purchase several weeks/months of meal plans and they will sometimes even give you a grocery list too? I've actually subscribed to one when my children were small but we found that it didn't really suit our family. So I just started to formulate a long list of favorite dishes my family loves and we eat them on a rotating basis. And to keep things interesting I throw in a new recipe here and there. Here is a sampling of what our week looks like in the meal department.

MONDAY - Chicken & Noodles

I have to tell ya'll something...since Pinterest came on the scene I very rarely use a recipe of my own from my actual recipe box...gasp! I have accumulated a little stash of recipes on my Pinterest account and almost always return to it for all my family's favorites. I like doing it that way because I can take my phone into the kitchen and pull the recipe up right on my phone. Also, if I'm grocery shopping and can't quite remember how much of something I need to buy I can just pull up the recipe right there by going to my Pinterest board. It has saved me several times...no more leaving the recipe on the counter and being stuck at the store guessing what in the world the recipe says. So this is the recipe I use for my chicken and noodles...it's hearty, comforting, and tasty.

Comfort Food via Pinterest 

TUESDAY - 7 Can Soup

This is new on the menu this week but how can you go wrong with anything that the Pioneer Woman makes. She's nearly a genius with food and everything I've ever made of hers has been delicious.

Comfort Food via Pinterest 

WEDNESDAY - Tuna Cakes

So recently my husband and I have been trying to incorporate more fishy things into our food rotation. We are TRYING to go light on the red meat...much to his dismay. It's not that we don't like fish but preparing it at home as been a little bit of a challenge. I just recently cleaned out my cupboards and found 10 cans of tuna...so yeah, we have really good intentions;) He found this recipe on Pinterest and so I thought we would give it a go.

  

THURSDAY - Chicken Pizza

We have to have pizza at least once during the week. After all I do live in the "locker room" (my love name for my home, 4boys, and husband). We watch sports nearly 24/7 and I guess it's a requirement to eat pizza while watching your favorite team play...currently we are watching the Cubs in the World Series (psst...we don't really even watch baseball) but the Cubs being in the World Series is a BIG DEAL. So for the past couple weeks we've turned into baseball fans. So anyhoo this recipe is perfect. Chicken=healthy and ranch is always a win with my boys. So pizza it is.

Comfort Food via Pinterest 

FRIDAY - Parmesan Broiled Tilapia

So I'm being honest when I say by Friday I'm so OVER cooking. Gals, the struggle is real. I feel like I'm in the kitchen all.the.time. Cooking, baking, and doing dishes...I'm on constant repeat...are ya feelin me? Anyway, by the end of the week I'm lookin for EASY! And this week we are doing fish twice...because well...I make the menu and this Tilapia is very simple and delicious.

Comfort food via Pinterest

When I'm making my menus I always add one or two desserts to the mix for 2 reasons.

1. If I make dessert then I don't buy as many processed goodies.

2. We always have some sort of responsibility with school, church, or family event where a dessert is required. So if I plan it ahead of time then I'm not scrambling to the store in the middle of the week for extra ingredients.

This week my son is coming home from college and I told him I would try these rice krispie treats out. He's a huge snickerdoodle fan...actually he's a huge fan of sugar.

Comfort Food via Pinterest 

And these Texas Cowboy cookies intrigued me so I thought I would try them.

Comfort Food via Pinterest 

With a little planning and prep you can be on your way to healthy nutritious meals. All of these meals are on our Pinterest, Comfort Food, board as well as many others I have pinned over the past several years. You might need some inspiration if your stuck in a cooking rut. I also have a board called Chocolate and More Chocolate...I know...just go see what's there cause who doesn't need chocolate every now and then.

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  • Maura Osborn
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