It's 4:30pm and you've just realized that you have no idea what you're making for dinner. If you're like me, you've been out running errands and find yourself sitting in the Publix parking lot scrolling through Pinterest trying to find some inspiration before you just give up and go home with a rotisserie chicken. I got tired of this bi-weekly rigmarole so I decided to start planning.
Every month I print out a blank calender from this website. You can obviously use whatever source or method you want, this is just what works for me. Then I go through and mark any holidays or events that would cause us not to be having dinner at home. We play trivia on Tuesday nights at a restaurant with our friends and Friday's have become pizza night. I'm not sure what's going on that random Thursday. Apparently we didn't eat that night.
Then I start plugging in ideas. I keep a running list of my "classics"- things that I make over and over again. Every family has those meals. I've also created a Pinterest board called "Recipes I've tried and loved" because I cannot tell you how many times I've made something I found on Pinterest and it was downright awful. I wanted a specific place to keep the ones I've actually liked. I try to make a new recipe every week. I usually find those in magazines (Cooking Light has never let me down) and sometimes on Pinterest. The favorites eventually make it into my recipe box. Once I've got all of the days filled up, I make a grocery list and go shopping on Sundays.
Cooking for two really isn't all that difficult. Meat has always been the tough part for me- why would I need 4 chicken breasts when I'm only making chicken once this week? I hate freezing meat (mainly because I always forget to thaw it) so I've started buying my meat at the meat counter (rather than the meat that's already wrapped) and only buying (and cooking!) what I need. I really, really hate leftovers and they never get eaten so I try to make only what the two of us are going to eat.
The hardest part of mean planning is doing it. Once it's done you have 30 worry free days!
Here are a few meals that I make a lot:
Chicken lettuce wraps (double the sauce)
Bacon wrapped chicken
Crock Pot pulled pork
Skinny Taste also has a good shrimp creole recipe
Spicy chicken sandwiches
Skinny salisbury steak with mushroom gravy
Asian salad with grilled chicken (I add grilled pineapple too!)
Taco soup (no link necessary! you all know it.)
Ina's Spaghetti and meatballs
Skinny Taste chicken ropa vieja (use this chicken to make tacos or a "chicken burrito bowl")