Meal Planning 102

It's been a while since I've posted about meal planning, and wanted to follow up with a few tips and tricks, as these are some of my favorite posts on the blogs I read.

I love having a rotating selection of dinner options, I've never been a "Monday meatloaf, Tuesday tacos" kind of gal.  And while as a family we love variety, we also depend on consistency. I've slowly built up an arsenal of meals that are crowd pleasers for myself, husband, and kids.  However, even then, I do find myself getting bored of our usual go-tos, especially as the seasons change, and shepherd's pie just isn't going to cut it in the heat of summer.  I'm always prowling popular new cookbooks (borrowed from the library), blogs, pinterest, and the like for fresh finds to rotate into the mix. Our criteria for a complete meal usually involves a protein, vegetable or two, and occasionally a bread/starch component.

First tip I have to help keep myself grounded and not too repetitive is to keep a dinner diary.  Bear with me, I realize this sounds ridiculously type-A and difficult, but basically it's a journal where I jot down what we eat for dinner every night.  One sentence.  Quick. Easy. Simple.  It's also helpful to remind myself "ooh, I forgot about that...we should try that again!" Or a reminder, "yuck, that was disgusting and way too much work.  Never again."

I typically meal plan on the weekend, looking ahead to the week, and planning meals based around various evening activities that might through a wrench in the actual making of dinner (e.g. one parent working late, one parent out, dinner at my parents' house, etc).  I write it all out and post on the refrigerator.  In a perfect world there is some recipe overlap (i.e. dill for salmon one night and dill for a salad another) in an effort to maximize ingredient use and simplify our grocery list, however that's definitely not always the case.

A few of our go-to Spring/early summer favorites include
+ Greek sheetpan chicken and spanakopita with Greek salad

+ ground pork bahn mi sandwiches (or lettuce wraps) with tamari roasted broccoli

+ BBQ pineapple hard shell tacos (we use fresh pineapple) with caprese salad

+ roasted Sriracha salmon with coconut rice and crispy kale

+ slow cooker Korean beef tacos and roasted veggies

+ homemade pizza on the grill with fruit salad and grilled corn

+ favorite turkey burgers with corn on the cob and carrot salad

+ slow cooker chicken tikka masala with Indian creamed spinach over coconut rice

+ p.f. changs style chicken lettuce wraps with roasted carrots and broccoli 

What are your go-to weeknight meals?
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