Monday, January 9, 2012

Meal Planning makes a house run smoothly

One reason our house runs smoothly (or at least more smoothly than in the past) is our Weekly Meal plan. I take time each week to plan out our meals and create a shopping list from that. This strategy has also cut our grocery bill considerably and our gas usage – since I have a plan mapped out & can do all my shopping with minimal stops and no return trips to the store!! I’m working towards making shopping trips only twice a month, but that’s gonna take some time because the Hubster gets paid weekly and we’ll have to build up to that.

Anyway…you can find several GREAT meal plan sheets and websites out there. I’ve tried a few websites, but personally I prefer to just write mine out. This is the FREE Weekly Meal Plan sheet I use. (Here's another one that's free too.) I like that it also has the grocery list on the right whereas the meals are listed on the left! Saves time and paper. And let’s face it…the owl is super cute, right?!  I might try to make my own that go with the seasons (cause I like thematic things), so if that happens I will make those available to you all for FREE as well!

Because our shopping/payday week begins on Wednesdays, I usually try to make my meal plans by Tuesday evening. Then I make my weekly trip in the afternoon when the Hubster is up from sleeping and the middles are napping. Its my weekly “Mommy time” – not glamorous I know, but time for myself nonetheless!

If you find that nights are hectic because you and/or your husband work, try experimenting with slow-cooker recipes. They’ve made our busy days so much easier and smoother!! Its one of my most favorite kitchen appliances!! And, if you’re worried about healthy slow-cooker recipes, just search – they’re out there – or substitute your healthy options. I’ve also found that MANY bake-in-oven casseroles can easily be converted to slow-cooker recipes!! What a time saver! Wouldn’t it be just wonderful to come home with dinner ready for you? Not to mention the WONDERFUL smell that will hit you when you open the door! What a greeting!!

What are your favorite slow-cooker recipes? What healthy options have you found easy to substitute?

Happy Monday!!

Updated 10 Jan 2012
**Check out this post from (in)courage for tips & reasons why Meal Planning is a GREAT way to save!!!
**Here are some GREAT templates to use for Meal Planning, Recipes, Shopping Lists & MORE!!!

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