Minimal meal planning, and how it works for us

Adam and I both love to cook, and up to the point of having two children, we spent a lot of time in the kitchen, usually on weekends, making food.
After the birth of Piper (we were hit pretty hard with the transition from one child to two), cooking got a little more complicated. Add in other life changes, such as our recent move here to Vermont, and suddenly I found that cooking has been pushed to the back burner. While I love to cook, making three meals a day, seven days a week, sometimes does get old. 
Enter Miranda's podcast: I've talked a lot in the past about how much I like Miranda's Live Free Podcast, and in one of the podcasts, she talks about their minimal meal planning. I decided to try it, and we've been doing our own variation of it for a few weeks and really love it.

Our minimal meal planning: 

We eat basically the same seven meals every week. Sometimes we get off plan or switch days around, but the most part each night of the week we have the same meal. 
If you are doing this for your own family, an excellent way to start is figuring out what everyone's favorite meals are, and then narrowing it down to seven of them. 
For us that looks like, Pasta and Sauce, Tacos, Mac and Cheese, Meatloaf, Fish, Soup, and Pizza.

Then, I simply had to figure out what night we wanted to have which meal on (based on convenience, and Adam's and my work schedules). 
Our weekly menu looks like: 

Monday: Pasta and Sauce
Tuesday: Tacos
Wednesday: Mac and Cheese
Thursday: Meatloaf
Friday: Fish
Saturday: Soup
Sunday: Pizza

Now, as I was/am doing my own variation of Miranda's meal plan, I keep this as a very loose guide. 
So, yes, we have pasta and sauce, but it's not always the same. Sometimes it's Angel Hair, sometimes noodles. Sometimes with white sauce, sometimes with red, maybe meatballs, maybe sausage. 
Mac and Cheese are all different kinds. Butternut squash or bacon sometimes added, with varying types of pasta. Sometimes it's just boxed stuff. 

As long as we stick to the plan, what the exact recipe we use differs.  

Am I making sense so far? 

Obviously, life is busy, and we have to change or switch stuff, but we always go back to the plan. So, if we eat tacos Monday night, then I just make Pasta on Tuesday, and then go back to Mac and Cheese on Wednesday. 

Oh, and this is only for dinner meals. The rest of the day is random and what we like to eat (usually that means eggs for breakfast and snack plates and sandwiches for lunch).

The benefits to this are that I never have to think about what's for dinner. If I know what day it is, I know what we are eating. Also, it makes shopping easier. I basically can shop for the same things, and if I want to add something (like bacon to the mac and cheese), I just add that to my list. 
Also, it makes it easier because I know that I'm making something that the kids are going to want to eat, and not trying so many new things.

I'm not sure how long we'll keep doing this, but so far it's what works for us, and we really like it. I'm sure after we've been doing it longer I'll write a more updated post, in the meantime, if you have questions, or I missed something, let me know! 


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