Happy New Year! I’m glad to be back with my first blog of the year! Enjoy a poorly lit photo of my family over the holidays. The girls’ dresses (and Z’s big purple bow from Santa) are just too cute not to share!
Before the holidays I was trying to plan out some easy blog content for 2021 and posted a poll on my Instagram (follow me here) asking if people would like to see meal plans. The result was unanimous – everyone that answered said “yes”.
Since everyone usually tries to get healthier at the start of the year, and since we’re all cooking more due to restaurant shut downs (although, let’s be honest, DoorDash was the real hero of 2020), I figured posting my meal plans for the month of January would be a fun way to kick the year off on A Pinch of Crazy!
If cooking more, eating healthier, saving money, or trying new recipes are some goals you have for the year, then follow along for the month! Hopefully you can get some ideas that will work for you and your family, tweak what needs tweaking for you, maybe scrap some things all together, and just maybe find a new family favorite!
I will start this meal plan month off by sharing how I usually plan our meals for the week. Over the weekends, we usually eat “last week’s highlights” (my husband’s cute name for leftovers) or go out/get food delivered. Over the weekend is when I begin planning for the following week. To start with, I take a little “kitchen inventory” in the pantry and fridge to see what we have – this little jumping off point ends up saving a lot of money, reducing waste, and fuels my kitchen creativity. The three categories I usually check for are carbs/starches, protein, and produce. Once I plan meals based on what I have, I make a grocery list for items I still need. Then I usually pick up my groceries on Monday so I start the week off with a well stocked kitchen.
So after Christmas and New Year’s Day I actually didn’t have much in the way of leftovers, but I will share what I did end up starting with.
- Carbs: brown rice, a few potatoes/sweet potatoes, oats, instant grits (a treat for my hubs), and a can of crescent roll dough
- Protein: turkey bacon, almond butter, chick peas, tahini, some cheese, and a package of little beef sausages
- Produce: carrots, greens (kale, spinach, and lettuce), cauliflower rice, blueberries, apples, and bananas – this is not really “produce” but I also had a half full jar of green curry paste
Starting with those few ingredients I planned five dinners (leftovers on weekends), and leftovers are used for lunches. I also planned a few breakfast items to meal prep for the week and wrote down snack ideas. These meals are all things I share with my two girls, but I will make sure to include which modifications, if any, were needed for our nine-month-old. Baby and I also eat dairy free (though I am starting to introduce a little here and there), so I will include modifications for that, too.
- Pigs in a blanket
- Baked oatmeal with almond butter, blueberries, and bananas *this is the only breakfast I fed to the baby, and I added less maple syrup so it wasn’t too sweet for her*
- Hummus with carrot sticks or crackers *I put the baby’s hummus on toast or rolled up in nitrate free lunch meat*
- Boiled eggs (I only did 6 since they weren’t for breakfast)
- Cliff bars for grown-ups, Z bars for our oldest
- Apple slices or bananas with peanut butter
- Pouches and mandarin orange cups for both girls
- Puffs for the baby
- Christmas candy
- Monday: Roasted chicken with carrots and potatoes *This recipe is for a whole chicken, but I used just drumsticks and chopped the carrots and potatoes to roast underneath them.*
- Tuesday: Brown rice risotto with mushrooms, kale, and shrimp *I made this dairy free, but topped with cheese for those that could have it and subbed in my chicken stock in place of veggie broth*
- Wednesday: Green curry chicken with coconut lime cauliflower rice, topped with avocado and cilantro *I don’t really have a recipe for this, but I just heated some shredded chicken with the cauliflower rice, added a couple tablespoons of the curry paste, poured in coconut milk, and squeezed a lime in. On this day I also took a meal (chicken tacos) to a friend so I boiled a bunch of chicken, shredded it, and seasoned it like taco meat. This is the chicken I used for the curry; it turned out great!*
- Thursday: Lettuce wrapped mushroom swiss burgers and fries *Again, no real recipe for the burgers, but I usually season the ground beef with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, and smoked paprika then cook them in my cast iron skillet. We will top them with sauteed mushrooms and onions, swiss cheese (I will omit this for Baby and I), greens, dairy free ranch, and use lettuce in place of buns.*
- Friday: Breakfast for dinner – turkey bacon (will not give to Baby), scrambled eggs, toast and/or leftover potatoes from burger night
- Saturday and Sunday: last week’s highlights!
- A couple of days we had outdoor picnics with friends so I packed sandwiches/lunch meat, hummus, fruit, and crackers for the girls and me
- Our oldest went back to her Mother’s Day Out program this week so for her lunch I packed crackers with uncured salami and cheese cubes, a mandarin orange cup, and avocado and cucumber slices
Alright I think I covered it all! My grocery list for this week was basically proteins and snacks, plus of course a giant box of diapers and other essentials such as paper towels and foil. I ended up spending more than I usually do because I actually shopped in person for once and took advantage of coupons I saw to stock up on snacks and essentials; that brought my total for this week to $189. Since I got so many snacks this week, I am hoping next week to get the grocery bill down to less than $100. I’ll come back next week and share!
I hope you were able to get inspired for some meal ideas for your family this week, and that maybe you are able to save some money and try something new. Bask in the freshness of a new year…and enjoy your Pinch of Crazy!
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