After being seriously inspired by a couple of friends, I launched our family on a 4 week meal rotation. Meal planning has been my jam for the last several years, but I started to dread the Monday morning plan-making I had to do every week. I firmly believe in meal planning (<—start here if meal planning mystifies you), It saves me time and money in the long run, so I didn’t want to ditch it entirely.
That said, I was spending too much time reinventing the wheel each week. We tended toward the same easy-to-make weekday meals and we almost always made pizza on Friday nights. So why not systematize it? My type-A soul loves a good system.The hope is I don’t have to meal plan on a weekly basis again, and when we get to the end of these 4 weeks, we’ll be able to start over again and it will work. We’re two weeks in, and so far so good, friends.
(Recipe cards are Gwen Frostic)
Here’s how I picked our meals:
- I planned 6 dinners for each week, and assumed that the 7th night will be us going out, hanging with friends, eating leftovers, or getting takeout.
- One of the meals each week is a slow cooker meal because I get home really late.
- These meals are all dishes I’m already familiar with. I know we like to eat them, and I know they fit easily into our budget. Picking 24 (or however many) new recipes and attempting this plan will be a disaster. Don’t do it. Start with what you know and go from there.
- I’ll rotate meals out and add new ones as I find them. If I find a fun new recipe, I’ll build it into a weekend when I have extra time to cook.
- This plan will definitely ebb and flow with the seasons! The 4 week plan you see below is more of a fall and winter plan. Come summer, we grill much more and like to cook based on what’s in the garden or in season at the farm stand.
Here’s what we’re eating:
- Slow Cooker Enchilada Stack
- Cajun Chicken Pasta
- Sheet Pan Sausage and Peppers with Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower Rice
- Salmon and Salad (pan fry salmon fillets, serve over salad)
- Homemade Pizza
- White Chicken Chili
- Slow Cooker Whole Chicken or Dutch Oven Chicken
- Salmon and Quinoa (pan fry salmon fillets, cook quinoa according to directions, add a veggie)
- Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
- Calzones (make the pizza dough recipe, but fold the pizza in half to bake it)
- Chili (in a slow cooker or made in advance to be reheated)
- Black Bean Enchiladas
- Beef Stroganoff
- BBQ Chicken (marinate chicken in BBQ sauce, grill. Serve with a veggie and a side dish of some kind)
- Homemade Pizza
- Fish Tacos
- Fajitas (slow cooker)
- Smoked Sausage, Spinach, and Cider Quinoa Skillet
- Salmon, parmesan garlic cauliflower rice, veggie
- Chick-fil-a Bites with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
What do you think?
Would you try a meal rotation like this? Do you have any go to recipes that you make regularly or recommendations for a dinner I should try?