I know theme nights aren’t a new concept to anybody. Anyone else love Taco Tuesday? We happily celebrate it every week in my house! However, I decided to take theme nights to a whole new level.
I’m all about meal planning in my life. It makes my life and budget happy! I’m also all about keeping life neat and organized. I decided to put the two together and come up with a system that works great! I currently use Plan To Eat to meal plan and while it is a game changer, it’s not the only tool I use.
I’ve seen many people keep a master meals list and I’ve always liked the idea but I needed something with a little more meat to the process. I was looking for something master meal list-esque. My goal was a master meal list 2.0. Since I don’t always do my meal planning sitting in front of my computer, I needed to be able to access it anywhere so I created it in Google sheets. This way, I can add or drop meals as much as I need to.
My Master Meal List
One of the best things about keeping my meal list is I can make sure we rotate our meals so we’re not eating the same thing all the time. I usually just go down the list and pick the next meal to drop in my Plan To Eat planner. As I’m scheduling that meal I’ll highlight it with yellow so I know I’ve used it. After the column is all yellow, I’ll clear out all the highlight and start over.
Now, I don’t always go down the list. Sometimes I’ll have a special request from one of the villagers so I’ll make what they’re asking for. Sometimes I’m not in the mood for potato soup and want to make beef stew or even BLT pasta. It’s not set in stone. This list saves my sanity though. I can meal plan without even thinking about it!
Since we follow Nourishing Traditions, here’s why, there are a few things we eat each week. We always have salmon, shrimp, bone-in chicken (save the bones for broth) and grass fed beef. We’ll mix up the way it’s prepared but we always have those ingredients each week. Salmon may be just baked, turned into cakes or made into one of my favorite soups.
If you want to know my other mealtime mastery tips and tricks, check out this post.
Our Theme Nights
It was really simple to set up and I’m able to add meals into the rotation easily this way.
Mondays are for sandwiches: sloppy joes, meatball subs, French dip sandwiches…
Tuesdays are for tacos, nachos, fajitas…
Wednesdays are for soup: chicken noodle, beef vegetable, loaded baked potato…
Thursdays are for skillet meals, stir frys, bowls and one-pot meals…
Fridays are for homemade pizza, every Friday night!
Saturdays are comfort food or a new recipe I want to try
Sundays are for carbs, ha! Spaghetti, rigatoni, lasagna… all with my homemade red sauce!
What About Breakfast & Lunch?
Usually during the week we have a shake for breakfast. I add raw milk with some other goodies and whirl them in the blender. If 2nd breakfast is needed that morning, I’ll throw on some eggs and bacon or sausage. I don’t really plan out weekend breakfasts as I keep most of the ingredients I’d need on hand anyway.
Lunches are really simple in my house. We’ll either have leftovers, a quick sandwich on homemade sourdough bread or I’ll grabbed something from the freezer from my planned leftovers.
Keep Side Dishes Simple
I keep a list of sides on there as well but I don’t rotate them as much. We tend to eat seasonally as much as possible. Luckily, we have great vegetable seasons here in Charleston! We eat a lot of salads in this house!
The other reason I don’t really rotate sides is we tend to have certain sides with certain meals. For example, I always make Spanish rice on Tuesdays. I also always make mashed potatoes with meatloaf and a few other comfort foods. Pasta salad is a must for meals on the grill!
This system works out really well because I just go down the list as I’m meal planning. I usually pick the next meal on the list for each day, unless I have a special request from one of the villagers. I’ll highlight it and move on to the next one next week. Since each of the weeks have a different number of meals, we almost never eat the same combo each week. It works great!
What about you? How do you meal plan? Have you tried theme nights? I’d love to hear in the comments below!