My name is Tammy and I write the blog Skinny Mom’s Kitchen. I was giddy like a little girl at a NKOTB concert when Laura contacted me to host this week’s Menu Plan Monday. I am an Organizing Junkie was one of the first blogs I started to follow 4+ years ago and have been an avid Menu Planning Mondays participant since then.
Back in 2012 I shared with Org Junkie readers the different ways I organized my weight loss. – 40 pounds to be exact. It was one of the first times I shared before and after pictures. Yikes. You can see more pictures here. Anyway, menu planning has been (and continues to be) one of my key weight loss strategies. Basically, what I found is, it is much easier to eat healthy when you plan out meals. Who knew?
However, planning out your meals is only one component of menu planning. I mean think about it. Anyone can write out 5 dinners they want to make, right? But actually purchasing the ingredients then cooking the recipes is where the real work comes in. I cannot tell you the number of times I have put together a fabulous menu plan filled with delicious dinners only to order take out or break out a box of cereal because I forgot ingredients or did not have the energy to trim chicken breasts. Good thing I learned a couple solutions early on to help with this – make ahead and freezer cooking.
The weeks my menu plans succeed are almost always weeks where I have prepped recipes ahead of time. That can be anything from chopping vegetables, prepping chicken, cooking sauces, and/or making complete meals ahead of time. I usually take 2-4 hours on a Sunday to prep menu plan. I am always posting pictures of this process on my Facebook page. Of course, depending on your schedule you can take more or less time. Also, you don’t have to prep every recipe ahead of time just do what you can. In my experience, taking even a small amount of time to prepare a few ingredients will make your menu plan run much more smooth during the week.
Let me show you how I prepare my menu plan ahead of time. This is what we will be eating for dinner this week.
Monday: Linguini and Red Clam Sauce. Served with broccoli and garlic bread.
Make ahead tip
- The clam sauce will be made completely ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. The sauce will be warmed up the night we eat and I will also make the pasta and other items that night.
Tuesday: Taco Bar
Make ahead tip
- Taco meat makes ahead and reheats very well. This will be made completely on Sunday and stored in the refrigerator.
Wednesday: Buffalo Chicken Subs
Make ahead tip:
- I am going to cheat and make this one easy by purchasing a rotisserie chicken. I will shred chicken and store in the refrigerator. Subs will be put together and cooked the night we eat.
Thursday: Broccoli Alfredo Pita Pizza
Make ahead tip:
- I will make extra broccoli on Monday to use on these pizzas. Alfredo sauce will be jarred.
Friday: Campfire Subs
No make ahead tips for this night. We are going camping this weekend so dinner is going to be easy peasy.
WHAT’S ON YOUR MENU PLAN THIS WEEK? JOIN US!
Menu Plan Guidelines, banner selections and recipe helpers are here.
More family favorite recipes here.
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One of my favorite menu planning resources: