Family Dinner Made Easy- the Plan {blog series}

My Dinner Made Easy strategy is all around planning. When I started planning our weekly meals, not only did I remove almost all of the panic of what to cook for dinner, we started saving a lot of money.

We do the bulk of our grocery shopping on the weekend. This is because we like to shop at our farmers' market, many of the grocery stores have deals on the weekend, and that is when we are in town to shop. When we lived in the city I preferred mid-week shopping. Whenever it is that you like to shop, draft a plan before you go and it will make things much easier. The more that you do it, the easier it gets.

Creating a Menu for the Week
I look at the week and start with evenings when I need to consider time and ease. A busy weeknight due to kids' activities or a commitment will be scheduled first with something quick and easy, or a plan for leftovers or something from the freezer. Then I look at the nights when I have more time to cook and I plan meals around what we have in our fridge, freezer, and pantry. I start with perishables that need to be used up- soups, stir fry, one pan roasting- these are all good strategies to use up food. I also save bits and pieces for pizza night, making stock, or reserve herbs and cheese for baking.

Next, I plan other meals and choose them based on time to prepare, variety, and cost of ingredients. I would say we have about a dozen entrees per season that are the go-to dishes, but I also like to try something new each week, even if it is something super simple.

Apart from leftovers, the freezer, and make-ahead meals, another super solution to dinner is Breakfast! We love breakfast for dinner and eggs are such an amazing meal any time of day.

The Plan this Week
Here is our menu this week (I will be sharing some of these recipes later on too!)

Sunday- Roast Chicken Dinner (with an extra chicken to use later in the week)
Monday- Pasta- a simple Bolognese
Tuesday- Chinese Food- we are having friends over and I am using the extra chicken to make a hoisin chicken dish, a veg stir fry, and steamed rice. They are bringing wonton soup!
Wednesday- Soup- made from the chicken from Sunday, veg, and noodles. Served with homemade bread.
Thursday- Tourtiere- Last week I made this from the new cookbook Brown Eggs and Jam Jars. The recipe makes 2 so I froze one pie. We loved it so much we put it on the menu this week.
Friday- PIZZA!!!
Saturday- French Picnic- we love picking up food from the farmers' market for an easy dinner- fresh bread, cheese, preserves, and maybe some sausage to grill up.

Later this week I will share a few of the recipes listed above. Try planning your menu for next week and give yourself some time to think about it and make your shopping list from it.



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