8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas: Plan your Food

8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas

I think this will be a fun week in the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series!  It’s all about food! Specifically, we’re going to plan our holiday menus.  You’ll want to think about:

  • Christmas dinner
  • Christmas brunch
  • Christmas eve
  • Boxing day

And well, any meal surrounding Christmas day.  My planning is quite simple.  My parents cook our Christmas brunch and dinner so all I have to do is bring the cheesecake and some baking!

For inspiration, I highly recommend taking a look through Pinterest.

While you’re planning out your dishes, be sure to start adding items to a grocery list.  You don’t want to forget anything!

To help you out, you’ll want to check out the Christmas dinner planner and grocery list that are available in the Holiday Planner, here.

Also be sure to print off the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas checklists to make sure you’re on track for the final week’s until Christmas day!

What will be on your holiday menu?  Leave it in the comments! Any food traditions you have to uphold?  How do you keep on budget?

Here are the posts in the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series so far:

christmas dinner

Free December 2014 Monthly Menu Planner

E.H.M.-December-2014-Monthly-Meal-Planner

Download a free Monthly Meal Planner for the entire month of December!  Included in your download you will find all of this:

  • Meal Planner for 12/1/14 – 12/6/14
  • Meal Planner for 12/7/14 – 12/13/14
  • Meal Planner for 12/14/14 – 12/20/14
  • Meal Planner for 12/21/14 – 12/27/14
  • Meal Planner for 12/28/14 – 12/31/14
  • December Flexible Meals
  • December Flexible Meal Calendars
  • December Blank Week
  • Dessert Menu for December 2014
  • Dessert Calendar for December 2014
  • Select E.H.M. Recipes
  • Christmas 2014 Menu
  • Christmas 2014 Dessert Menu
  • December Master Ingredients List
  • Fill In the Blank Ingredients List – Entire Month
  • Fill in the Blank Ingredients List – Weekly
  • Blank Family Shopping List (Food, Sundries, you name it included)
  • Blank Costco Shopping List

How to Meal Prep for a Week

How to meal prep for a week

Preparing meals ahead of time can be a big time and money saver. You’re doing all of your cooking on one day, and will be saving money because you’re only buying the ingredients you know you need.

Cooking all your breakfasts, lunches and dinners for a week, in one day, may seem daunting, but with these tips you’ll be able to meal prep for a week and not have to wonder, “What’s for dinner?” anymore!

Find your recipes. Before even starting the process, you should print out the recipes you will be using for the week. This means printing or writing down recipes for all meals for 7 days. If you will be making snacks, like homemade granola bars or protein bars, print those recipes as well. Now you have a master list of all the ingredients you will need.

Divide up your grocery store list. Go through each recipe and categorize each item. Your grocery list should have sections broken down into protein, carbs, vegetables, fruits, spices, and other. Doing this will make it much easier (and quicker) to find the things you need when you’re at the grocery store.

Buy the right containers. If this is something you will be doing on a regular basis, you want to make sure you have durable containers that are made to last. Don’t skimp out on this.

Cut your vegetables and fruits. Once you’re back from the grocery store, start by chopping up your vegetables and fruits. Organize them by whether you’re using them as a snack or will be using them as ingredients in a meal.

Use the oven. The oven is great for baking meats, potatoes, vegetables and more. Make a list of every item that needs to go in the oven and put it all in. If your oven is going to be on, you might as well cook everything at once!

Use your slow cooker. Many people who meal prep like to make freezer meals. This can be preparing something, like meatballs, and freezing them to cook at a later date, or preparing an entire meal which will then be thawed and cooked. If you have a slow cooker, doing this is especially easy. Take a look at my post 9 Slow Cooker Freezer Meals or you could Google slow cooker freezer meals to find recipes. Even if you don’t want to freeze your meals, you can still prepare all of the ingredients you’ll need and use your slow cooker to cook the meal. It will save you time all week!

Use different seasonings. One can only eat so much plain chicken. When you go grocery shopping, make sure to pick up different seasonings for each meal. Get creative with how you season or marinate your protein options.

Make one huge dish. If you don’t want to prepare 5 different dinner options, you can make enough of one recipe that will last you a few days. Find one you really like and cook it in bulk. If you have meals or items that will last longer than 3 days, put the leftovers in the freezer and cook it when you’re ready.

Make grab and go meals. The last step is to just divide everything up into your containers. Take each meal and put it in a container so it is ready to go for each day of the week.

Meal prep can be a great way to save time throughout the week. Although it may take a full day on the weekend, once you know what meals you’re making and what ingredients you’ll need, you’ll become more efficient at it. No more worrying about what’s for lunch or dinner!

Do you do any sort of meal prep at your home?  What does your current system look like?

Non Planner’s Guide to Menu Planning

NonPlanningMenuPlan

Do you like the idea of planning a regular menu, but have difficulty with actually making plans or sticking with them? Check out this Non Planner’s Guide to Menu Planning over at I Heart Planners.

September Menu Plan Inspiration from Canadian Living

canadian living menu plan

I thought you all would enjoy this menu planning inspiration I found over at Canadian Living!

Canadian Living has created 22 Quick and Easy weeknight dinners to help carry you through dinner time in September!  Each weekly plan even includes a grocery list!

How easy will this make your menu planning?  I’m going to be using this as a guide, but I’ll have to swap out a couple of meals that won’t appeal to the majority of this household.

Dishing the Deal – Southwestern Stuffed Peppers

This week, Walmart (West) has bags of peppers on sale for $2.00.  (Bags of 3 multicolored peppers)

I thought it would be a fun idea to feature this sale along with a recipe!

I’ve had the Southwestern Stuffed Peppers recipe (pictured above) pinned on Pinterest forever and I thought that would be a great meal to use up the peppers!  You could swap out the ground turkey for ground beef to make it a bit more cost effective.

Head on over to Simply Love Food for the Southwestern Stuffed Pepper recipe.

Menu Plan for the Week of November 11, 2013

delicious puffed wheat squares

Delicious Puffed Wheat Squares

This weekend, in between feeling sorry for myself because I’m sick, I spent a bit of time looking for supplies that I need for some projects that I have in mind.  Thing is, I couldn’t find half of the stuff I needed!  I like to be able to keep my shopping down to one or two stores, when I need crafty stuff, especially when I have a child in tow.  Alas, I’ll have to venture out again to find the remaining items for the projects that I hope will make an appearance on Simply Frugal in the nearish future!

Moving on…you came for the menu. :)

I found a couple of tasty looking recipes that I’m excited to try out this week!  One being a soup that uses tortellini, which is one of Sienna’s favs, so I know it will be a hit with at least one of us!  I’m sure if I add some garlic bread or something I can get my husband on board too!

Have you found any new recipes that you’re excited to try out this week?

Here’s our menu for the week:

French Beef Stew, mashed potatoes

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup, garlic buns

Chicken & Broccoli in the slow cooker, steamed veggies

Peanutty Asian Wraps

This salad will be for a couple of lunches this week, along with the usual leftovers we usually have: Pomegranate, Kale, and Wild Rice Salad.

What’s on your menu this week?

Menu for the Week of October 28, 2013

 bran-muffins

Delicious Bran Muffins

A while ago I signed up for a year’s worth of menu plans from The Fresh 20.  I don’t use it every week, but the week’s I do use the suggested meals, I’m impressed!  I have to substitute some of the ingredients for someone in our household who is “picky” (and it’s not the toddler!), but they have still tuned out wonderfully.  This week, I’m using a menu from The Fresh 20.  Unfortunately I can’t share the recipes, but I’m sure you could still get some ideas!

Chicken Cacciatore, mashed potatoes

Maple Soy Glazed Salmon (but we’ll have chicken instead), Mushroom & Kale Quinoa

Ham & Potato Galette, salad

Homestyle Chicken Soup

Tortellini with herb & garlic cream cheese  (not Fresh 20)

I want to know, what will you be eating this week?  Leave your menu in the comments!

Menu for the Week of October 21, 2013

easy oven smores

Delicious treat: Easy Oven S’mores

A friend and I were talking, and we decided we could definitely do well with hiring a cook.  While I do enjoy cooking, and especially baking, it would be wonderful to have someone take that task of my list!  Besides, food just tastes better when someone else makes it!

Since there’s no cook on the horizon, here’s what I’ll be making this week:

Chicken & Broccoli Pie

Leftover Lasagna

Honey Sesame Chicken, rice, steamed veggies

Grilled cheese sandwiches and Tomato Soup

Leftovers

I want to know, what will you be eating this week?  Leave your menu in the comments!

Menu Plan for the Week of October 15, 2013

vanillasugar

DIY Vanilla Sugar

I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend!  We enjoyed lots of family time and a delicious turkey dinner that my Dad made!  The weather was also beautiful so we took a couple of nice walks.  Although we’re finishing today, we took the opportunity to start fixing our drafty front door.  I’m hoping this will help keep the heat more consistent (and give us a cheaper bill)!

Here’s what I have in mind this week:

Chicken Pot Pie

Tortellini with garlic & herb cream cheese sauce, steamed carrots, salad

Sloppy Joe Calzones (I make pizza dough for the wrapper instead)

Breakfast for Dinner (French Toast, bacon, smoothies)

Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup

What will you have cooking at your home this week?