Menu Plan Monday Plus Cheater Lasagna Recipe

New Year, back on the meal planning wagon! Last week I participated in a Clean Eating group hosted by my favorite Team Beachbody coach, Jenny, (follow her page and get in on her next one, it is free and I got some delicious, real food tips for feeding my whole family!) This week, I am back to my faithful BFF, eMeals. I have recently switched meal plans (which is super easy and can be done once a month) from the Clean Eating plan to the Budget Friendly Family Plan.

Easy Budget Meals Your Family Will Love

I really liked the Clean Eating plan, but it was expensive, and not as family friendly as I would desire. I was leery of trying the Budget Friendly plan, as I feared that it would be a lot of mixes and convenience foods. But, I was pleasantly surprised! In the words of the eMeals website: “We maximize your savings without cutting corners on flavor or nutrition. No leftovers here! Our plan serves up a family-friendly mix of weeknight favorites, pantry meals, hearty soups and stews, and meatless dinners.”. I was able to pick up everything for seven dinners and sides, plus some breakfast lunch and snack staples for our family of 7 for $160.  And, since meals are planned. . .we won’t need takeout!

The food this week is super real too! And, I learned from Coach Jenny that weekend prep is the key to success! So, I boiled my chicken thighs for the “Cheater Chicken and Dumplings” along with chicken breasts for some chicken salad for my lunches and for the “Bow Tie Tomato Cream Sauce with Chicken”. I also cooked up the from scratch Spanish Rice for the “Baked Beef and Rice Tacos” which also takes advantage of leftovers from the “Slow Cooked Roast Beef”. I feel like we are set up for a week of success!

So, here is what is on the menu!

  • Sunday (yesterday): Creamy  Ham Peas and Ranch Pasta (super tasty!)
  • Monday: Cheater Chicken and Dumplings
  • Tuesday: Slow Cooked Roast Beef, mashed potatoes, steamed green beans
  • Wednesday: Bow-Tie Tomato Cream Sauce with Chicken, steamed broccoli
  • Thursday: Skillet Balsamic Chicken, homemade rice pilaf and peas and corn.
  • Friday: Baked Beef and Rice Tacos. with sauteed Zucchini, corn and black beans.
  • Saturday: Winter Red beans and Sausage soup and corn bread.

I love that i can leave instructions with the teen, or with my husband and they can have dinner on the table in no time if I have to work late.

So far, so good. I’ll keep you all posted! I am always glad to have healthy food, that fits my budget. With this plan, someone has done the work to make sure I use up the whole package of whatever I bought, or can creatively use leftovers.

Want to try a recipe that you are likely to find on the Budget Friendly Family Plan? Try this Cheater Lasagna!

cheaterslasagna-emeals cheaters-lasagna-recipe-card1-emeals

Have you tried eMeals? How do you meal plan? Has it saved you time? Money? Share your Meal Planning Tips in the comments!

My Life With Twins: Meal Planning for Your Growing Family

Families raising twins or more  are, by definition, feeding a larger than average family.

babies eating
Mealtime is aways an adventure!

Because of their larger size, and the added expenses to manage larger family dynamics, meal planning is crucial for MoMs (Mothers of Multiples).

I am a habitual meal planner. Meal planning stems from my love of reading cookbooks, food blogs, and magazines, scouring them for new things to feed my family.

However, I am not a consistent meal planner. Some weeks I plan my menus down to dessert and snacks, some weeks I plan a rough outline of five or six dinners to make for the week, and some weeks I depend on some”old standby” meals to fill out my meal plans.

There are so many resources available to help you plan your meals, that I thought I would compile them here for your reference.

  • My dear friend Essie hosts a weekly Menu Plan Monday, complete with recipes and a link up every Monday.
  • The Meal Makeover Moms recorded a great podcast on meal planning. Their weekly podcasts are a must listen and a huge resource for feeding your family.
  • Michelle at Make 5 Dinners in ONE Hour has a great blog and subscription meal planning service that features healthful, varied, kid friendly meals that can be made ahead in just one hour a week! I’ve followed several of her meal plans and several of her recipes have become new family favorites. Her blog is also FULL of great recipes and time and money saving food tips!
  • My friend Megan plans her meals out a month at a time. She even plans for some yummy breakfasts and great snacks and desserts! She is a great cook (and mom), he meal planning inspires me!
  • Do you want a cookbook that will lay out an entire year of seasonal menu plans for you? And gives you a shopping list? And includes a dessert Then A Dinner a Day: Complete Meals in Minutes for Every Weeknight of the Year is for you! I bought this cookbook back in 1999, and I cooked from it for 52 weeks! We ate such a varied and interesting diet! It is now out in Kindle edition as well, and I am tempted to download it to my iPad, it really is good enough to own twice!
  • Do you want to do the menu planning all on your own? Here is a great first step, and a great way to facilitate dinnertime conversation: ask everyone to list their top ten dinners, as well as their bottoms ten. Use this as a springboard for family dinner ideas. For example, Megan always has either tacos or pizza for Friday night dinner. My family loves chili and spaghetti, so we have one or the other every week. Once you know what your family loves, it is easy to line up a week’s worth of family fare!

Chime in! Do you plan your meals weekly, monthly, or right before it is time to make dinner? Do you have to make allowances for your “multiple blessings?” I’d love to hear from you!

Do you have twins, are expecting twins or know someone who is? Make sure you click on over to my “Got Twins?” page and learn more about the wonders of twindom! Lots of advice and experience from pregnancy, breast feeding and beyond!