How many times do you find yourself staring at the clock and realizing you have zero ideas for supper and the kids are at that borderline-hangry stage? For me, this was almost every single night UNTIL I found a system that works well for a lazy meal planner.
I have gone through stages where I meticulously plan out our meals weeks or even a month at a time, and while I felt very put-together at that point in my life, it just wasn’t sustainable for our lifestyle.
What I started doing instead was having 5 theme/ideas for weeknight meals. Each week we make something fitting into each of the categories. This probably isn’t groundbreaking or anything, but I will tell you it has drastically reduced the dinner time stress around here. With this type of meal planning, we can be as creative or as simple as we want!
Before I share our theme ideas, I will add that we always serve the main dish with a fruit and a vegetable. It varies based on what’s on sale, what’s in season, and what we haven’t had in a while.
Ok, without further ado, meet our weekly meal plan!
Our kids LOVE tacos and quesadillas. So, at least once a week we serve these. Here are a few ideas to make them a little extra special.
- taco meat cheese quesadilla
- pizza quesadilla
- black beans and sweet potato quesadilla
- shredded beef/pork/chicken and cheese
- (all of these ideas could turn into tacos as well!)
Breakfast for Dinner
We are BIG breakfast fans over here. When the waffle maker makes a bonus midweek appearance, I pretty much get a standing ovation. Here are some tried and true breakfast for dinner ideas!
- fancy waffles with toppings of your choosing
- egg bake
- sheet pan pancakes–I usually add chocolate chips to 1/2 and berries to the other 1/2
- baked smoked sausage on hash-browns (375 for 15 minutes, flip and another 15 minutes!)
- breakfast sliders–you can get so creative. We love Hawaiian rolls with scrambled eggs, cheese and some sort of meat (bacon or sausage usually).
- French toast or a French toast bake
Pasta and Sauce
This is probably the theme that has endless possibilities. While my kids were honestly just prefer buttered noodles, here are a few other ideas!
- tomato sauce and various pasta shapes–Sometimes we add meat to the sauce or other veggies we have on hand. This fall, we’ve had a lot of zucchini sauteed and thrown in!
- switch up the sauce–alfredo, pesto, avocado…
- lasagna–switch it up and add veggies, change the meat, try alfredo sauce!
Friday has been pizza night since I started teaching 10 years ago. When I was working, I would pick up oven ready pizza on my way home. Now that I’m a stay at home mom, I make homemade sourdough pizza. You don’t need to get fancy though, you can always buy the pre-made crusts, crust mixes, or try bagels or English muffins!
- typical toppings–tomato sauce with some type of meat and/or veggies
- shredded meat with bbq sauce as the base
- breakfast pizza-scrambled eggs, meat and cheese
- get creative!
Recipe Card Night
This is the one night that may take a little more planning. Here, we hit up our tried and true favorite recipes, OR we look up a new recipe to try. If the recipe is a keeper, I write it on a card and add it to my box! It’s fun to have the kids help choose the recipe each week!
While this certainly didn’t contain crazy new ideas, I really hope it helps create a less stressful meal planning experience!