I’ve mentioned before that I really enjoy putting together weekly dinner menus. The evening goes more smoothly when I have a plan for dinner, we spend less on groceries when I shop with a list of recipes and ingredients, and we get to try lots of new recipes and eat a nice variety of meals without falling back on the same old boring recipes over and over again.
When I’m making my dinner menus, I keep a few things in mind. I generally try a few new recipes each week, as well as one or two favorites that we’ve had and loved in the past. I also try to get a decent variety of ingredients and cuisines/ethnicities. I usually shoot for one vegetarian meal, and one that I know the kids will love (Forrest is a very picky eater, but I’m not willing to cater to his tastes every day, so I plan maybe one dinner a week around him. My policy is that he has to taste everything on his plate—even if all he can manage is a lick—and if he doesn’t want to eat it, that’s fine . . . but he doesn’t get anything else.). I plan out 5 dinners, and we eat leftovers or go out the other two nights. Even with a menu planned out, I’ll sometimes end up scrambling to pull something together at the last minute . . . those are generally ‘breakfast for dinner’ nights—waffles, scrambled eggs, and some fruit.
Just in case anyone might find it interesting or helpful, here is a month’s worth of dinner menus—the weekly menus I planned and ate throughout the month of April. I’ll put my thoughts after each of them.
Monday: Chinese Pineapple Chicken with jasmine rice and green beans // We liked this meal and I’m planning to repeat it soon, but I think I’ll add some red pepper flakes or sriracha to the sauce next time—I thought it was just a tad boring as written and would benefit from a little heat.
Tuesday: Bacon Avocado Grilled Cheese sandwiches with apple slices and baby carrots // So delicious! I used white American cheese slices since I happened to have them in the fridge already. Darcy loved this dinner, and Forrest picked his sandwich apart and only ate the bread and bacon.
Wednesday: Chicken Ranch Burgers with baked sweet potatoes and grapes // Forrest has been begging me to make these burgers again ever since we had them a few weeks ago, so I guess we can check this recipe off as being kid-friendly! (Although he doesn’t eat it with the ranch—he prefers ketchup.) I’ve made this dinner once with ground chicken and once with ground turkey—we liked them best with ground chicken.
Thursday: Veggie Stuffed Breakfast Burritos (pictured below) with fruit smoothies // Well, of course I’d recommend this meal—I did make the recipe up myself. I think it’s so filling and satisfying and delicious, and I love that it’s pretty healthy, too.
Friday: Crock Pot Whole Chicken with mashed potatoes, salad, and rolls // I actually ended up roasting my chicken since I forgot to get it in the crock pot in the morning—oops! So I can’t comment on this recipe. I’ll have to try it again another time.
Monday: Crockpot Pork Roast (pictured below) with rolls and salad // We all loved this! They made delicious little sandwiches on homemade rolls.
Tuesday: Copycat PF Changs Lettuce Wraps with green beans and orange wedges // I make these lettuce wraps fairly often—we love them.
Wednesday: Panera Macaroni and Cheese with peas and apple slices // This macaroni and cheese is amazing. So creamy and delicious.
Thursday: Chicken Tortilla Soup with chips and guacamole // This is one of my favorite soup recipes ever—don’t skimp on the toppings! Heads up, though, the recipe makes quite a lot, so unless you have a larger family, or love having lots of leftovers, you may want to cut it in half.
Friday: Tuna Melts with fruit salad and baby carrots // A quick, tasty dinner. The kids didn’t like it, but I didn’t really expect them to, either.
^ picture via Poore Amy
Monday: Meatball Sub Bubble Bake with salad // I chose this recipe because I expected Forrest to love it—he is crazy about meatballs. But I was really surprised when he hardly touched it! Jeff really loved it, though, and has asked me to make it again.
Wednesday: Oven Fajitas with chips and guacamole // Well, once again I forgot to get started on time, and made this recipe in the skillet instead of baking it. But it hardly matters—we loved it anyway!
Thursday: Cheesy Spinach Baked Egg Sandwiches with salad and fruit smoothies // I’ve never managed to find the right kind of cheese for this recipe, so I make it with goat cheese instead and it’s fantastic.
Friday: Slow Cooker Thai Peanut Chicken (pictured below) with rice and broccoli // One of my favorite dinner recipes—quick and easy and delicious. The kids both like it, too (although Forrest, predictably, picks out the vegetables).
Monday: Chinese Green Beans with Ground Turkey over rice with orange slices // I definitely remember making this recipe, but I cannot remember anything about how it tasted. No comment, I guess?
Tuesday: Italian Sausage Soup with garlic bread and salad // Another favorite soup recipe—I love this one and am always perfectly happy to eat the leftovers for days afterward.
Wednesday; Avocado Chicken Pitas with baby carrots and apple slices // I make this recipe fairly often—so quick and delicious!
Thursday: Honey Sriracha Chicken Thighs (pictured below) with coconut rice and broccoli // This dinner is a favorite of ours, but go easy on the sriracha--she's not messing around and it will be SPICY if you do the amount the recipe calls for. I use 1/3-1/2 of the amount in the recipe, and I think that’s plenty of heat. I am kind of a wimp when it comes to spiciness, though.
Friday: Smothered Sweet Pork Burritos with salad and grapes // This dinner is a bit more time consuming than my usual fare, but definitely worth it.
^picture via Budget Bytes