Exciting, I know…meal planning and prep! If you’re like me, weeknight dinners can be stressful to the point of takeout. I love to cook and I love making meals for my family, but it felt like my schedule just wouldn’t allow it. I thought through what was stopping me from being able to cook when I got home from work and I came up with this system…
- Get a good recipe and menu planning app. I use Paprika. I did a bit of research on apps when I started using one a few years ago and it was the best fit for me- easy to add recipes, flexibility to design menus and creates a shopping list. If those aren’t the most important functions for you, take a look around, there are lots of great apps out there. (Let me know what you find!) Once you’ve added your favorite recipes, create a menu for the week and generate a shopping list.
- Streamline your shopping. I’ve used a variety of apps and services to help with this. Almost every grocery store has an app to help you shop or find deals or coupons- use them! They can save you a lot of money and time. My current favorite system is Walmart grocery pick-up (referral link- use this for $10 off your first order). I create my grocery list in Paprika and then shop online in the Walmart app and schedule a pick-up time. They even load your car for you…with two kids, this is a life saver!
- Organize as you unload the groceries. I use bins from IKEA to sort everything for the week by meal and day. If I’m feeling ambitious, I even prep the veggies and meat so I’m ready to go when I get home. That way I just grab the bin and I’m in business.
Voila! It’s not rocket science, but I am able to consistently make weeknight meals and that’s a big deal for me. The planning ahead also let’s me make easy meals on busy days and spend a bit more time in the kitchen on days when I know I’ll get home a little earlier.
For those who have someone at home who likes to cook or can at least get things started, this is ideal. On many occasions my husband will get things started and I’ll finish up the meal.
It also stops a key ingredient from going missing mid way through the week.
Let me know what works for you or what recipes you’re loving!
For The Win,
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