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.
- Orzo with Spinach and Pine Nuts *Alex's mom introduced me to this recipe and it has become a staple for us. We love it!
- Chicken Marsala *I usually add twice as many mushrooms as the recipe calls for
- Maple Salmon
- Pizza *I usually buy store bought pizza dough from the bakery section and use my own, homemade tomato sauce. Sometimes I also just top my pizza with Italian sausage or pepperoni.
- Chicken Parmesan *I use my homemade tomato sauce...it makes a huge difference!
- Thai Chicken Curry
- Italian Sausage Pasta
- Buffalo Chicken Wraps
- Crock Pot Balsamic Pork Roast
- Lemon and Shrimp Orzo
- Chicken Rollatoni *I use my homemade tomato sauce
- Garlic Shrimp in Coconut Milk
- Mexican Slow Cooked Pork Carnitas
- Homemade Tomato Sauce *I sort of follow this recipe but also sort of make it up as I go along. I usually double or triple this recipe and freeze whatever I'm not using. I also use crushed tomatoes instead of whole tomatoes, I don't put onion in mine, and I add a lot of extra garlic.
- Mashed Potatoes
- Fried Rice Quinoa
- Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus
- Fried Goat Cheese Balls *Alex and I had this at the lazy goat and now it's become a loose tradition to make it for guests as an appetizer
What are some of your favorite dinner recipes?