February Working Mom Meal Plan

 

working mom meal plans

I have not been so excited about a blog project in a long time. I get to share my love of meal planning (along with some of the detective work that goes along with it) and my love of teaching my friends how to eat better for less money, and my love of cooking for my family!

My goals for these plans are simple. Real food, short prep time (or advance prep time) and large family and kid friendly.

I have a “rule” for my kid friendly meals. Out of my six kids, any meal cannot have more than two “yucks”. I have to allow for at least two, because one of my (unnamed) kids is quite contrary, and each of the others have at least one thing they just don’t like. And that, my friends, is why God invented peanut butter. If at least four of my kids like a meal, I’m still pleasing six family members, so that is a pretty good deal.

I try to minimize box mixes and “doctoring up” things like boxed mac and cheese, but you will see convenience food on occasion. My goal is to stretch you and your cooking skills.

Most meals are 30-minute meals, crock pot meals or freezer meals, but the weekends have some more complex meals slated. It is important for your families to enjoy “slow food” on a regular basis. This is a gift that you give to them, and it can be some valuable family time spent together prepping the meals. I suggest that you set the table in a “fancy” way for these meals. Use your real plates, and if you have China set aside for a special occasion, consider Sunday Supper a special occasion.

Saturdays will be the most kid-friendly of all the meals. They also are the meals that are perfect for teaching a budding cook knife skills. For example, the Jambalaya scheduled for February 6, is what I use when I teach the cooking merit badge  to eager young Boy Scouts. Kids who help prepare food are more likely to try new foods.

Feel free to re-arrange according to your schedule. Note that. I did schedule either fish suppers or meatless meals on Fridays for those who abstain during Lent.

You may notice that the menu skews heavily toward chicken. I like that chicken is an affordable protein, and it is extremely versatile. Feel free to swap out proteins as you see fit.

At least three of these meals adapt well to be cooked ahead and frozen, or double the recipe and make two, freezing the second, or bringing to a family in need. They will be marked with a * on the list.

I do not always indicate side dishes. Our family really enjoys rice and we serve several varieties as side dishes. Invest in a nice rice steamer and the side cooks itself! I try to serve brown rice instead of white at least once a week. It takes about an hour in the rice steamer, so plan ahead! I usually set it up in the morning and call home around 4 and have a teen press start in the afternoon. Minute Rice also has a great, quick, mixed grain, rice pilaf available. It is in a white and green box near the instant rice in the grocery store. It is under $3 a box, takes 10 minutes to cook, and is a hit with our entire crew (even the contrary one).

I also ALWAYS have fresh broccoli and green beans to steam. In a month or so I will add fresh asparagus. Fresh veggies steam up quickly and the bright colors appeal to young eaters. I also keep frozen corn and frozen peas on hand. My family will not eat Brussels sprouts (I love them), though they will eat all kinds of cabbage. They are just not very consistent.

If you subscribe to my newsletter, a printable, downloadable, calendar and a link to the Pinterest board will hit your inbox around noon today. If you have yet to subscribe, you will get the printable and link in a welcome email when you do subscribe.

I can’t wait to cook along with you and hear what you and your families think!

The Meals:

Feb. 1: Chick-Ful-A Chicken Nuggets, Sweet potato fries (If your kids will eat them, mine won’t), steamed vegetables

Feb. 2: Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats, rice, corn

Feb. 3: Lentil Alphabet Soup, crusty bread

Feb. 4: Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches, Cole slaw, chips (if you feel like being the “cool Mom”

Feb. 5: Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells*, tossed salad

Feb. 6: Jambalaya

Feb. 7: Roast Turkey Breast with Gravy, mashed potatoes, steamed veg.

Feb. 8: Taco Casserole (make one, freeze one)*

Feb. 9: Slow Cooker Ranch Chicken Tacos, rice

Feb. 10: First Snow Chili, corn bread

Feb. 11: Salisbury Steak Casserole, peas

Feb. 12: Baked Penne*, tossed salad

Feb. 13: Hot Dog Bar (personally, I cannot STAND hot dogs, but this meal makes my family so happy. I eat salad.)

Feb. 14: Marinated Steak, mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli, heart shaped breadsticks <3

Feb. 15: One Pan Ranch Pork Chops, potatoes and green beans

Feb. 16: Cream Cheese Chicken Taquitos, Rice, steamed veg

Feb. 17: Easy Tuscan Bean Soup, crusty bread

Feb. 18: Hot Ham and Swiss Croissants, fruit salad

Feb. 19: Parmesan Garlic Crumbed Fish, fries, corn

Feb 20: Chicken Mozzerella Pasta Pasta, fruit salad

Feb 21: Stuffed Pork Chops, mashed potatoes, steamed veg.

Feb. 22:  Chicken Lazone, pasta, tossed salad

Feb. 23: (my birthday, so I will be out for Chinese food!) Creamy Chicken Enchiladas, rice

Feb. 24: Loaded Potato Soup

Feb. 25: Chicken Tetrazini

Feb. 26: Tuna Patties on a bun, peas (my kids used to call these “choo choo” patties!)

Feb. 27: Chicken and broccoli shells and cheese

Feb. 28: Classic Pot Roast

Feb. 29: Pull the other Taco Casserole out of the freezer!

Desserts:

Glazed Cinnamon Apples

Black Forest Cake

Snacks:

Winter Fruit Salad

Granola Cookies

Breakfasts:

Slow Cooker Cranberry Apricot Oatmeal

Cinnamon Sugar French Toast Sticks

Breakfast Casserole Muffins

New Working Mom Meal Plan Debuts this Week!

Working Mom Meal Plans

 

I’m a planner. Sometimes the planning is more fun  than the doing for me. I really enjoy cooking and I love getting tasty, healthy, affordable meals on the table for my husband and six kids.

But I know that the planning part does not come easily for everyone. And I know that meal planning can be a challenge.

I’ve used several “ready-made” meal plans over the years, and I mostly liked them, but they did not always take into account my need for quick meals (but not necessarily boxed meals either). Some meal planning advice leans heavily on repeating the same 7 or 8 meals over and over again. And that may work for some people, but my family has gotten used to variety. Heck, I need the variety to stay interested in the actual cooking.

I know that when I meal plan a few things happen:

  1. We save money.  Going to the store with a plan in hand ends up costing less over the long run–even if it seems to cost more during that one trip to the grocery store.
  2. We eat better. Even the best quality take-out has a lower nutritional value than a home cooked meal.
  3. Dinner time becomes special. When I take the time to prepare a well-planned meal, my family notices and it changes the tone of our dinner table.

So, this is what I want for you too! I am working on releasing a monthly calendar of dinner plans. The weekday plans can mostly be prepared in 30 minutes or less OR can be prepared and frozen ahead of time, or can cook (all day) in the slow cooker (I do NOT have time for 3-hour slow cooker meals!). I have some longer, more involved meals slated for Sundays. Let’s bring back the old-fashioned Sunday Supper! I think it is important for kids to see that food can be prepared quickly and easily, but that there is also value in a long food prep as well.

I will release February’s calendar on Wednesday, in order to give you time to shop. It will have links to all of the recipes. Then, every Monday I will have a post discussing some specific tips for preparation of each week’s meals.

Readers who subscribe to my newsletter (I promise not to spam you!) will have access to a printable PDF of the calendar, as well as access to a Pinterest Board with all of the recipes. We will also have a little competition on the Pinterest board. The three recipes with the most likes at the end of the month will be carried onto the next month’s calendar. At the end of the year, we will see which recipes lasted the longest!

I am super excited about this new project, and I know you are too! Please share it with all of your friends!

And, if you have a recipe that you would like featured, leave a link or a recipe in the comments!