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  • Writer's pictureSara Ricke

Meal planning 101: Part One

Fall is in the air -- and that means -- meal planning!

This is a tradition of a LOT of years for us! First when our kids were little -- and we were getting back in the swing of school, activities, and all that goes with that! And, the last few years it is more directly related to harvest with Matt's job...and all that goes with that!

So, over the years, I have developed a system that works well for us. And today I am sharing the first version that we used through different stages of our lives!

The first -- when the kids were in junior high and high school -- was kicked off in the fall and I'd stay on course pretty much all school year. I am sincere when I say I don't know how we would have survived without it! Not to be dramatic -- but there are a few of US that are picky eaters -- and so we didn't thrive on variety -- but on consistency! (Matt always cringes when I say I could eat pizza every day --- I really think I could!)


The basic favorites for meal planning and prepping. Our kids were busy in a lot of activities -- Matt and I worked a lot of hours -- and we were poor as church mice. (tuition and activities were $$$!) So -- we had a few of our favorites that EVERYONE in the house would eat -- and that froze well for prepping ahead. And my freezer was a constant rotation of prepping Sunday afternoons/evenings...and then pulling them out throughout the week for suppers! The kids were also old enough that we did a lot of meals at that time staggered. They could throw supper in the oven when they got home from school -- and then it was ready so as anyone ran through the house they could grab a quick plate and on to their next thing. This was SO helpful when they had so many conflicting games/practices/jobs/etc.

Our main line up was:

Baking dishes frozen with:


chicken lasagna

beef enchiladas

chicken enchiladas

tator tot casserole


chicken and rice

Quart ziplock baggies frozen with:

taco meat (for tacos/nachos/taco salads)

BBQ pulled pork (for sandwiches/nachos)

taverns ( for quick sandwiches)

cooked diced chicken ( for pasta/rice sides/ tacos/nachos)

cooked ground beef ready to go into anything else we decided on

Yep -- we ate that basic rotation for years...obviously with a lot of other things added in when there was time --- but these staples were always ready to go! The girls also really liked "real" food -- and if we hit weird timing and ate take out a few times in a row -- it wasn't long until one of them was mentioning that we could actually COOK! Nothing like a kid to keep ya honest, right?

This got a little longer than I thought --- so I'll do the Second Version​​ in another post!

Hope this helps -- if you have tricks of the mom/dad trade -- be sure to share them!

Sara <3

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