I was talking to a friend the other day and we were discussing how difficult meal planning can be at times. Meal planning is super important to me because I love having a plan for the week, it saves time, I do all my shopping on one day (I hate running out midweek for groceries), it gives us something to look forward to and I’m a major sale shopper.
While I adore meal planning, at times I was finding that I was sitting staring at a blank piece of paper and racking my brain for ideas. I love cooking for my family (there’s something so satisfying about providing good, yummy food for your loved ones that satisfies my soul) and one of my favorite things to do was beginning to feel like a chore since I was unable to easily think of meal ideas. While I perusing in the magical, time sucking land of Facebook, I came across an article that discussed meal templates and my mind was blown.
The premise is that you assign a food theme to every night of the week (I only do weeknights since weekends are kind of crazy for us). GENIUS! Having food themes takes out the guessing and gives me a direction in which to meal plan. While you have food themes, there is a ton of potential to shake it up and vary each weeks meals.
Below is our current weekly theme with lots of fun ideas included:
Most people hear meatless and recoil, but there are so many ideas when it comes to meatless Mondays. Start with beans, tofu and/or grains and there are countless options. A few favorites are bean burritos, chilis, quinoa with tofu seasoned with an array of spices to kick the flavor up a notch.
You can never go wrong with tacos! Switch up your protein (substitute ground beef for chicken, pork, beans, fish, shrimp, steak), add in lots of veggies (sautéed or slaws) and you have so many choices! Burritos, quesadillas and tostadas all fall within the realm of Taco Tuesday so get creative. This is one of my favorite nights simply because you cannot go wrong with tacos and they are always so easy and quick to put together.
Wait For It Wednesday
My crock pot gets a lot of love every Wednesday! I love being able to quickly and easily throw a meal together in the morning (or night before) and be all set for dinner. Usually I plan this meal around whatever meats are on sale this week and I love using seasonal veggies to accompany these meals. I make enough to have leftovers to get us through lunches until the weekend so it’s double win in my book!
Thursdays are all about nostalgia! I focus on recipes that are childhood favorites and remind us of favorite meals we had growing up. Peruse through family favorite recipes and vintage cookbooks and enjoy some homemade cooking. Often these meals focus on the basics and can be great comfort foods.
Fried Rice Friday
Fried rice is one of my favorite foods and this always gives me something to look forward to at the end of the week. I’m also usually pretty burnt out by the end of the week so I always have a little dinner assistance with the help of Ling Ling Asian Kitchen. They have a fried rice line of meals that are so good, easy to make and most importantly, they taste great! Ling Ling has five unique and authentic Asian inspired recipes from Japan, China, Korea and Thailand (Yakitori Chicken, Yakiniku Beef, Thai-Style Chicken, Chinese-Style Vegetable and Bibimbap Beef).
I love that instead of ordering out, we can quickly whip up a meal that easily can be mistaken as take-out from our favorite restaurant. Each grain of their fried rice is infused with Ling Ling signature sauces that gives it a major dollop of intense and mouth-watering flavor. With no artificial ingredients, preservatives or flavors and made with quality ingredients, I can feel good feeding Ling Ling to my family on the days that I need a break from creating in the kitchen.
Grab a coupon for $2 off a box of Ling Ling Fried Rice here and have a low-key and delicious Friday night with your family! Save the time and hassle of prepping a crazy meal and spend that time having fun with your family and enjoying the summer months.
Do you meal plan? Do you follow a theme weekly? I’m always searching for new recipes so share your favorites below!