Meal Planning and Weeknight Dinner Ideas

Call me crazy, but I love meal planning. It's true! I think it's a combination of my type A personality and how much I enjoy cooking and trying different foods. Don't get me wrong, sometimes it still takes a lot for me to muster up the motivation to plan meals, go to Walmart, unload everything, cook, etc. And I'm sure that if the Lord blesses me and Alex with children it will be harder to enjoy meal planning and cooking when I'm sleep deprived and have a lot of little mouths to feed. 

I think dinner time is a really important time in the life of the family. A wise woman from church once gave me a piece of marriage advice: she said to always sit down for dinner as a couple/family and to talk. I think that's a great piece of advice! It sounds simple, but it can actually be very difficult to do with busy schedules and the distractions of the TV, cell phone, etc. Not every one of our dinners looks like that, but most do. I love dinner time because it's one of the few hours during the work week Alex and I have to connect and it's also when we do a devotional together as a couple. Lately we've been reading a small portion of The Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689, a hymn from the Trinity Hymnal, a Valley of Vision prayer, and we've been praying for the Joshua Project's people group of the day. Dinner time is also a great time for hospitality. Alex and I have been able to have many friends in our home for dinner since being married and we love it! We try and make it our goal to have at least one person or family in our home for dinner every week.

The way I meal plan is pretty simple. I have an adorable meal planner from May designs and I plan my meals week-by-week. I simply write out our dinners for the week (I usually cook dinner around 4 times a week and then we eat leftovers or have events/go out the other nights). After writing out my dinners, I write down the list of everything I need and break it up by grocery stores (I typically get some things at Walmart, some at Lowe's, and I also go to Aldi and Trader Joe's about once a month). I also include any additional things I'll need for breakfast or lunch or other household items in the list. Then as I walk through the store, I carry my list with me and cross things off as I get them.

I'm always looking for new ideas and fresh inspiration when it comes to meal planning and maybe you feel the same way. I thought it might be helpful to share some of the recipes Alex and I have really enjoyed having for dinner over the past 5 months we've been married. 

Main dishes:


What are some of your favorite dinner recipes?