If you’re stuck in a rut with your menu planning or just plain struggle to plan past tonight, you’re going to love my simple menu planning solution. I’ve been cooking most of our meals like this for the last year and it’s great for weeknight cooking, kid-friendly, healthy and most importantly EASY to prepare and plan.
Here are the three components you need:
- lean protein (chicken, fish, beef, pork, turkey)
- vegetable or side salad with oil + vinegar
- vegetable or fruit
Sounds simple, but how do I actually pull this together? How do I shop for this type of meal planning? And I know you’re wondering if your kids will eat this. My kids love dip – that makes the protein more appealing to them. Ranch dressing, hummus, Greek yogurt dip, ketchup – you name it, they use it as a dip. I will also let them load up on fruit if they aren’t super keen on the veggies for the night but they have to try everything.
Here’s a dinner from this week – grilled chicken breasts with tzatziki sauce (Greek yogurt dip), sautéed zucchini noodles and berries.
What’s on my weekly shopping list to plan for these meals?
protein – rotisserie chicken, chicken breasts, flank steak, pork tenderloin, salmon
fruit – mostly berries (lower sugar count), apples, melon, pineapple
vegetables – I buy those jumbo bags of broccoli at Costco, lots of cauliflower, salad components (lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, cucumbers), zucchini, carrots, sweet potatoes…
Yes, I have more on my grocery shopping list but these are just the dinner ingredients and I don’t purchase every protein every week. I do keep all of these ingredients in the freezer too so I can pull something out the night before to thaw.
Here’s are a couple methods I use for cooking proteins – super easy and delicious!
rotisserie chicken – great for busy nights – I’ll buy 2 and use the leftovers for a salad
chicken breasts – we love them with this chimichurri sauce (my grocery store carries it) used as a marinade on the grill
flank steak – season with steak seasoning, sear in a cast iron pan, and finish in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure you cut it against the grain and very thin. Leftovers are great in salads or tacos.
pork tenderloin – (most packages come with 2 tenderloins – we save the second for the next night) season with salt + pepper, sear in a cast iron pan, and finish in the oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit
salmon – season with lemon, dill, garlic salt, butter or ghee and bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes or until the butter is starting to bubble and brown
We do a big dinner salad at least once a week, typically with leftovers from a 3 component dinner or lunch meat that’s leftover from the weekend – you can see my Monday night salad ritual here.
What’s the best part of this type of meal planning? With a semi-stocked fridge and freezer these meals can be pulled together really quickly. I typically start dinner around 5:15 or 5:20 and dinner is ready in about 20-30 minutes.