What to Buy at Costco

Every once in awhile I’ll share what bought on Instagram and every time I do, I get requests for a blog post with my favorites.  So here it is – what to buy at Costco – and I’m sharing how I prep it when I get home too!

My husband and I have been Costco members for nearly 20 years and I can tell you that it’s one of our favorite places to shop.  We can get products in bulk and at a discount and it’s just plain fun to shop there (when it’s not busy).  I especially love the produce and organic selection.  With three kids, we save a lot of money by shopping for bulk items bi-weekly or every third week.

In case you’re wondering, this is not sponsored, just sharing some favorites!

Every Friday I do my best to make a menu plan and head to the grocery store.  I go to Costco every other or every third Friday of the month – I find that if I get there early on a Friday the store is well-stocked for the weekend and the crowds aren’t there yet.  Friday night is also a good time to shop there as well – nice and quiet.  Our typical spend for a regular stock-up is $150-250.

This All Over Everywhere List and the Clean Mama Menu Planner are both available in Clean Mama Home and musts in our house!

If you aren’t familiar with Costco, you have to have a membership to shop – we pay for the executive membership and get money back on what we buy.  Typically our refund check is about the same as the membership fee so we figure it pays for itself.

Here’s a typical Costco haul….

I typically buy these staples:

veggies, fruit, eggs, milk, cheese, bread, naan, crackers, salmon, chicken breasts or tenders, bacon, lunchmeat, coffee, yogurt, dried fruit, sparkling water, kefir, juice

Then I work off a list and get the things that we need to stock up on:

frozen fruit for daily smoothies, snacks (popcorn, nuts, applesauce, balanced breaks), frozen or fresh cauliflower, mayo, chicken sausage, hummus

cleaning supplies:

white vinegar – you can’t beat the price on white vinegar (I use it DAILY for laundry and cleaning), baking soda, castile soap

Here are some things that I get every once in awhile that I didn’t get on this trip:

The worst part of shopping at Costco is putting everything away – it’s probably my least favorite thing about shopping there.  Before I leave I wipe out the refrigerator and get it ready to be stocked up (part of my Friday Catch-All Day routine).

On Friday afternoon as I’m putting things away I prep what I can for easy grab and go snacks and meal components.  Here’s what that typically looks like:

  • I usually buy salmon and have one filet that night and one in the freezer
  • pan-sear chicken breasts and put half in the refrigerator (for lunches and quick dinners components), and half in the freezer – or I’ll do a quick marinade and cook the chicken on the grill if the weather is cooperating
  • put snacks in a snack container – here’s the one pictured
  • wash and cut veggies and fruit for the week or a couple days
  • hard boil eggs
  • if I get ground turkey I will brown some of that up for meal components or for the freezer
  • bake bacon for breakfast, sandwiches, salads

All right – where are my Costco buddies?  What are your favorites?

Meal Prep Tips to Simplify Menu Planning

Meal planning and prepping is a daily thing (kind of like cleaning) and it can feel overwhelming and consuming but with a few tricks, anyone can master meal planning and prepping.  Over the years I’ve developed a handful of tips and methods that I use to streamline the process.

My favorite tips all include one component – thinking ahead – that concept is key to ensuring that menu planning is smooth, seamless, and best of all time-saving.

Cook once, eat twice. This is probably my most-used tactic.  I do a lot of protein this way (ground turkey, chicken, pork, and beef) and I will do this for full meals like soup or lasagna.  If I do a shortcut like rotisserie chicken, I grab extra and portion it out for leftovers or lunches.

Have protein at the ready.  I will boil 6-12 eggs once a week – we use these on salads, with lunches, and for snacks.  This is great for kids and adults 🙂

Portion out snacks to make it easy to grab and go.  This makes it easy for the kids to pack lunches and to grab snacks.

Utilize your slow cooker or instant pot.  Plan out your meals ahead of time and you can have dinner in the slow cooker waiting for you on those busy nights.

Prep ahead veggies and fruits.  I find that the most time consuming thing in the kitchen (besides the clean up) is the cutting and prepping.  Cut up veggies and fruit for 2-3 days so you have them ready.  If you have extras that can be frozen, cut those up and freeze them for your future meals.

Keep a well-stocked pantry – by keeping your pantry stocked you’ll find that you are going to the grocery store less and saving time in the kitchen.

Looking for some more meal planning resources?  I have some great ones in Clean Mama Home – The Clean Mama Menu Planner is my favorite way to organize meal times 🙂



Faster Fall Comfort Foods

As the weather has begun to cool and fall has officially begun on the calendar, I find that my appetite is drawn towards comfort food. With all those good flavors, these dishes can take all day simmering on the stove, or require careful tending in the oven. In an effort to streamline our menu planning and keep kitchen prep time to a minimum, these recipes are on rotation in our home. Whether you can utilize a slow cooker or keep clean up easy with a sheet pan dinner, try one (or all!) of these faster fall comfort foods this week.

This vegetarian chili from Cookie & Kate is proof that comfort food doesn’t have to contain meat or pasta.

Put your slow cooker to work and come home to this family favorite tomato soup from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.

While this garlic bread from Smitten Kitchen is not a meal on it’s own, it is the perfect companion to many of fall’s finest.

One pot is all it takes for this cheesy and satisfying baked penne from Smells Like Home.

Nothing says fall like roasted vegetables. Paired with salmon, this sheet pan dinner from Eats Well With Others is a winner.

No need for a full day of tending the pot with this chicken noodle soup. Thirty minutes is all it takes!

Marinade this walnut-crusted chicken from Sally’s Baking Addiction in the morning and cook it when you come home. Now that is an easy dinner!

Love lasagna, but no time to babysit it in the oven? This slow cooker version from Natasha’s Kitchen is ideal.


And a handful of menu planning posts I think you’ll love – just click on the images….

Menu Planning 101 - How to Get Dinner on the Table with Ease via Clean Mama

Customize Your Make Ahead Grilling and Get Together Menu via Clean Mama

How to Organize Cookbooks for Better Menu Planning via Clean Mama

Busy Week Menu Plan - 7 Time Saving Meals for a Busy Week via Clean Mama

Busy Week Menu Plan - Take 2 - 7 Time Saving Recipes for a Busy Week via Clean Mama

30 Minute Dinners to the Rescue

I don’t know about you, but there is something about summer that makes meal planning and labor intensive dinners so difficult to pull off.  Between kids activities and spending as much time as possible outside in the Midwest, easy dinners are what are helping to save my sanity this summer. Put away those boxes of mac and cheese and say goodbye to yet another sandwich and give one of these 30 minute or less dinner ideas a try instead.

Prep ahead these shish kabobs and throw them on the grill when you get home.

I love a good sheet pan recipe for an all-in-one, easy to clean up dinner.

The flavors in these gyros is refreshingly light and perfect for summer.

This Greek pasta salad comes together in no time and makes a ton. Perfect for leftovers the next day!

Salmon is the ideal meal when you want to have a healthy dinner that feels a little fancy but takes so little time to prep and cook.

Tacos are always a family favorite. These are fantastic using either turkey or beef.

This one pot pasta dish is so innovative. Bonus: less dishes to wash!

Nachos for dinner? You bet!

I love the combination of lemon and chicken in this skillet meal. Serve with a salad and dinner is ready.

Stir-fry is the ultimate one bowl meal. No sides necessary!


Have you seen the spiral bound Clean Mama Menu Planner?  It’s a game-changer when it comes to menu planning!

And a handful of menu planning posts I think you’ll love – just click on the images….

Menu Planning 101 - How to Get Dinner on the Table with Ease via Clean Mama

Customize Your Make Ahead Grilling and Get Together Menu via Clean Mama

How to Organize Cookbooks for Better Menu Planning via Clean Mama

Busy Week Menu Plan - 7 Time Saving Meals for a Busy Week via Clean Mama

Busy Week Menu Plan - Take 2 - 7 Time Saving Recipes for a Busy Week via Clean Mama

The Clean Mama MENU Planner!

One of my secrets to a successful week is to do a little menu planning on Fridays.  I find that when I have a plan for meal times the whole day runs more smoothly.  I’ve been selling printable menu planners since 2010 and I decided that it was about time I put one in a spiral-bound planner format.  Introducing the Clean Mama MENU Planner!  I’m loving it – come see for yourself and grab it while it’s intro priced….
The Clean Mama Menu Planner is a simple, undated menu planner for keeping track of menu planning and grocery shopping.  Create your menu plan and take your shopping list with you – the menu planner will fit right in your purse!  The Clean Mama Menu Planner is the perfect companion to the Clean Mama Planner.
  • 76 pages
  • smooth, bright white 70# paper
  • 100# card stock front and back covers with clear protective cover and wire-o binding
  • made in the USA
  • paper size is 5.75” x 8” – size with the binding is 6” x 8″

• CLEAR Protective Cover and COVER PAGE

• TITLE PAGE – 3 lines for you to personalize your planner

• 6 – 2 PAGE BLANK CALENDARS – the perfect 2 page monthly calendar complete with a darling meal ideas list on the right hand side

• 5 WEEKLY DOCKETS for each month (30 total) – This page also includes a make again section for a winner dinner + a next week check list as well

• 5 WEEKLY MARKET LISTS for each month (30 total)  – 12 grocery sections – lined and with check boxes (produce, breads/bakery, deli/meats, condiments, baking, canned goods, baked goods, dairy, frozen foods, snacks/beverages, laundry/cleaning, and everything else)
• SUBSTITUTIONS – this for that – run out of something?  Check out my substitutions page to see what you can sub in place of buttermilk, baking powder, powdered sugar and more

• MEASUREMENT EQUIVALENTS – how many teaspoons in a tablespoon, cups in a pint, ounces in a quart?  Consult this page for your
• FAMILY FAVORITES – simple checklist with a spot for the recipe, source, special ingredients and a +/-  for keeping track of favorite meals and meals to make again



What’s On My Book Stack : 12 Time-Saving Cookbooks

This month I’ve been talking about all things SIMPLY COZY and I can’t really do that without talking about some meal planning.  Having meals prepped and ready or in the slow cooker is probably my #1 trick to keeping things simple and easy.  Throw a delicious home-cooked meal on the table and that’s the definition of cozy.  Not to mention, it’s just plain really helpful during this busy time of the year.  Here are some of my tried and true favorites – I love cookbooks that offer some strategies and tips for keeping dinner easy.  Need a quick gift or a little inspiration for the meal times after the new year?  These are sure to help!

Dinner Made Easy with Six Sisters’ Stuff : Time Saving Recipes for Busy Moms – this cookbook has some great recipes that simplify cooking for weeknights

The Weeknight Dinner Cookbook : Simple Family-Friendly Recipes for Everyday Home Cooking – I love the strategies and options for adjustments to meals.

The Make-Ahead Cook – Cook’s Illustrated/America’s Test Kitchen never lets me down – great ideas and ways to prep and make ahead meals

Dinner Solved!: 100 Ingenious Recipes That Make the Whole Family Happy, Including You! – Fun dinnertime ideas that everyone loves

Upscale Downhome : Family Recipes All Gussied Up – Great ways to fancy-up traditional recipes while keeping things simple and tasty too!

Weeknights with Giada – I always love Giada’s take on meals – these are simple and delicious.

Quick Slow Cooking – this is a beautiful cookbook with lots of quick and easy crockpot or simmer on the stove recipes

Meals Made Simple: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes to Make Anytime – one of my favorites – I use this cookbook a lot – I love the adaptations provided!

A New Way to Dinner – a fresh look at dinner – Food52 has some great ideas.

Skinnytaste Fast and Slow : Knockout Quick-Fix and Slow Cooker Recipes – I absolutely LOVE this cookbook – it’s brand new and I’ve already cooked a handful of delicious recipes.

Pioneer Woman’s Dinnertime:Dinnertime – Comfort Classics, Freezer Food, 16-minute Meals, and Other Delicious Ways to Solve Supper – Great ideas and strategies – I especially love the 16 minute meals (they really are!)

The Best Make-Ahead Recipe – this cookbook is hard to find but it’s one of my absolute favorite cookbooks in the history of ever – it’s a staple in my meal planning!


Curious about some other books?  Check out this book stack post about my favorite homekeeping books.

There are affiliate links in this post – go here to see my full disclosure policy.

Kids Cookie Challenge

If your kids are interested in cooking and baking and love the cooking competition shows, they’ll love this idea.  The concept is simple – a simple baking competition that even little kids can participate in.  You can make this as ‘top secret’ as you’d like to.  Secret ballots, numbered cookie trays, mixing cookies secretly or together.  Customize it for your kids!

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Make your favorite batch of chocolate chip cookie batter and leave out the chocolate chips.  Depending on the age of your kids, they can do the mixing or at least help.  I used the Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe in the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion cookbook.  This recipe is pretty close.
  2. Split the dough into 3-4 bowls (depending on how many participants you have).  I’ve found that 6-12 cookies per kid is a good number.  Check the yield of the cookie recipe to make sure you don’t need to double the recipe.
  3. Put out bowls of mix-ins – we used crushed up Halloween candy but you can use different types of chocolate chips, nuts, coconut, dried fruit…
  4. Let each child choose their own mix-ins and mix up their cookies.  You can have them do this one at a time, secretly or let them create together.
    This is the fun part – let them create and concoct their secret recipe – it’s always fun to see what they come up with!
  5. Scoop cookies on cookie sheets.  I scooped all the cookies so they were all the same size and less likely to be recognizable for the ‘contest’.
  6. Label the trays – I just put a number on the parchment paper.  Bake the cookies.
  7. Set up your judging stations.  I cut the cookies in fourths and numbered them.
  8. Choose your winner!  Again, you can make this official or casual as you’d like, have fun with it.

Even the youngest kids will enjoy this activity, it’s fun for all ages and a great way to have a tasty competition in the kitchen.


Simple Weeknight Meals to Make this Week

Simple Weeknight Meals to Make this Week - Clean MamaThe start of the school year always has me feeling a little overwhelmed when it comes to meal planning. After school activities, waiting in pickup line, and other errand running and odds and ends seem to creep closer and closer to dinnertime and leave me with less time to meal prep. On those days when I don’t have much time to plan and execute a complicated dinner, I love to have a handful of dinner options that require minimal brain power and time. Enter in the recipes I am sharing with you today.

These main course meal options are perfect for a busy evening and are family friendly. No crazy ingredients or fussy prep required. I like to pair them with a simple side like a steamed vegetable, salad, or fresh fruit. Try one this week and see what you think.

  • Rotisserie chicken to the rescue with these baked tacos smothered with homemade crema. Baked Chicken Street Tacos via Kleinworth Co.
  • These juicy and sweet meatballs are not only made in the slow cooker, but they make a big enough batch to freeze the leftovers or save for leftovers.  Slow Cooker Honey Buffalo Meatballs via Carlsbad Cravings
  • 20 minutes is all it takes to whip up this delightfully satisfying fresh pasta dish. 20-Minute Tomato Pesto Pasta via Mel’s Kitchen
  • The ultimate in comfort food, the grilled cheese sandwich gets a makeover with the addition of bacon, avocado and tomato. Turkey Bacon and Avocado Grilled Cheese via Tidy Mom
  • All the flavors of a classic Italian sandwich in salad form. The homemade dressings kicks it up a notch and adds the perfect amount of zing with every bite.  Italian Sub Salad via Wicked Spatula
  • This satisfying and creamy soup is the ideal one pot meal made even easier in the slow cooker. Paired with your favorite crusty bread, dinner is served. Crockpot Chicken Wild Rice Soup via Pinch of Yum

Don’t miss the Menu Planning Mini Challenge and make sure you download the FREE printables linked in the post!

Simple Weeknight Meals - Clean Mama

Check out these free printables and menu planning posts to inspire your menu planning!

Free Printable – Make Ahead Meals

Free Printable – What’s for Dinner? Weekly Menu Planner

Free Printable – Family Favorites

And a handful of menu planning posts I think you’ll love – just click on the images….

Menu Planning 101 - How to Get Dinner on the Table with Ease via Clean Mama

Customize Your Make Ahead Grilling and Get Together Menu via Clean Mama

How to Organize Cookbooks for Better Menu Planning via Clean Mama

Busy Week Menu Plan - 7 Time Saving Meals for a Busy Week via Clean Mama

Busy Week Menu Plan - Take 2 - 7 Time Saving Recipes for a Busy Week via Clean Mama

How to Create a Recipe Binder System that Works via Clean Mama

8 Make-Ahead Recipes that Will Change your Menu Planning via Clean Mama

Menu Planning : Family Favorites Free Printable

Family Favorites Free Printable - Clean Mama

One of my best tips and tricks for menu planning is to keep a running list of favorite recipes on hand in my recipe binder.  Yes, it’s easy to recall favorite recipes but sometimes when menu planning it’s hard to come up with winner-dinners.  I’m not saying that every night you need to knock it out of the park but it’s nice to have a list of favorite recipes to rely on for menu planning.

As part of the Menu Planning Mini Challenge I have this free printable for you – it’s part of the Everyday Menu Planning Kit in my shop here.  Print it out, make a list of favorites and next time you are stumped on what to make for dinner or plan for the next week, grab your list and choose a couple winners.

Free Printable - Family Favorites - Clean Mama

Download your FREE Family Favorites printable here!

If you like this free printable – here are 2 more free printables that match!

Make Ahead Meals

What’s for Dinner? Weekly Menu Planner

And a handful of menu planning posts I think you’ll love….

Menu Planning 101 - How to Get Dinner on the Table with Ease via Clean Mama

Customize Your Make Ahead Grilling and Get Together Menu via Clean Mama

How to Organize Cookbooks for Better Menu Planning via Clean Mama

Busy Week Menu Plan - 7 Time Saving Meals for a Busy Week via Clean Mama

Busy Week Menu Plan - Take 2 - 7 Time Saving Recipes for a Busy Week via Clean Mama

How to Create a Recipe Binder System that Works via Clean Mama

8 Make-Ahead Recipes that Will Change your Menu Planning via Clean Mama

Quick Tip : Salad on Mondays

Quick Menu Planning Tip - Salad on Mondays - Clean Mama

Today I have a quick menu planning tip that I’ve been implementing for probably close to a year.  It’s nothing revolutionary, but it saves me time in the kitchen, uses up leftovers, and is a really simple way to get a quick supper on the table.

Salad on Mondays

The concept is simple – use up leftovers from the weekend, make a healthy salad for supper, and it’s quick and easy.

Here’s what I always use:

  • salad mix – pre-washed or this blend
  • grilled leftovers – use up that lone chicken breast or steak leftover from the weekend
  • veggies – tomatoes, avocados, cucumbers, grilled corn, mushrooms….
  • cheese – I either grate some or use up leftovers from the weekend (sliced, crumbled, shredded)

And then if any of these items are in the refrigerator, they get chopped up and get tossed in too:

  • lunch meat – if there’s any in the fridge I slice it up and toss it in
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • bacon

Add dressing – I either make a quick oil and vinegar or use a favorite ranch dressing.  

That’s it!  This concept could be used any night of the week – give it a whirl, dinner on the table in under 10 minutes on a Monday night is a big win in our house!

What if you have littles that won’t eat salad?

Put the components on a plate (minus the lettuce) and give them a little bit of dressing to dip the salad fixings in – easy peasy and a bit of a novelty so kids like it 🙂


Simple Salad Hack : Chopped Salad

Simple Salad Hack - Chopped Salad - Clean MamaI’ve got a great salad hack for you today that I know you’ll love (if you like salads or are trying to eat more of them).  Even our kids love this salad mix and it’s easy to prepare ahead and even easier to get a nutritious dinner and salad on the table.  Here’s how I use this DIY salad mix:

  • Prep ahead for 2-3 nights of side salads – wash and dry greens and veggies and put in a bag with a paper towel to absorb any moisture.
  • Put dressing and other ingredients in the bottom of a mason jar and put the greens on top.  Shake when ready to eat – instant lunch.
  • Dinner salad – add a protein and a couple other ingredients like tomatoes, avocado, cucumbers, nuts, and favorite dressing.  Our favorite salad?  Barbecue chicken and ranch dressing with cheddar cheese – yum!

Here’s how to make your own chopped salad mix at home – you just need a couple ingredients and about 15 minutes to wash and cut your veggies.  I use baby kale and baby romaine because it’s smaller and has a good texture that my kids will eat.  I buy pre-washed lettuce and organic produce when I can – that’s just my preference because it’s quick and easy.  Feel free to adapt and change to fit your taste!

Chopped Salad Ingredients


  • red cabbage
  • green cabbage
  • green onions
  • baby kale
  • baby romaine
  • carrots – I use the pre-shredded variety

Prep your greens – this is what I do for 2-3 days of salads for our family of 5:

  1. Wash and cut up or shred in food processor, half a head of each cabbage (keep the other half in the fridge for later in the week).
    Chop Ingredients - Clean Mama
  2. Wash and cut up 3-5 green onions.  If you’re not into onions, leave them out.
  3. Chop about 3 ounces each of pre-washed baby kale and romaine.  I use a food prep scissors to make this really quick and easy.
    Chopped Salad - Clean Mama
  4. Add about a cup of shredded or chopped carrots.
    Chopped Salad - Clean Mama
  5. Combine ingredients and portion out enough for dinner that night and then pre-portion any remaining for lunches and dinner for the next 2-3 days.  I use zip top bags with a paper towel in it to absorb moisture for a larger amount and canning jars for individual lunch servings.

Store Chopped Salad - Clean Mama

I love menu planning and looking for ways to make dinner a little easier.

Here’s a FREE printable just for you:


Buffalo Chicken Ranch Dip – The Perfect Appetizer

Buffalo Chicken Ranch Dip - Clean Mama

My littlest kiddo and I were at Costco a month or so ago and we tasted a sample dip that was so delicious – I made some changes (less hot sauce, unhealthy no canned chicken, different cheese…) and came up with this dip.  I’m telling you – this is the PERFECT party dip and appetizer – everyone loves it, even my non-hot sauce eating hubby.  Make this for your next get together – it’s super easy and a party pleaser!  You can thank me later 🙂

Ingredients for Buffalo Chicken Ranch Dip - Clean Mama

Buffalo Chicken Ranch Dip

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite ranch dressing
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped finely  (I use rotisserie chicken)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix ingredients together and spread into an 8×10 inch oven safe casserole dish.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until browned slightly and bubbling.  Serve with crackers, pretzels, tortilla chips, bread – this dip goes with anything!  Serves as one fantastic appetizer for 8-12+ people when served with other appetizers.

Buffalo Chicken Ranch Dip baked - Clean Mama


Save Time : Make-Ahead Baking Mixes

How to Turn a Recipe Into a Baking Mix main via Clean Mama

I love baking but sometimes I like things to come together a little more quickly so I will pre-mix baking mixes that I can throw together in a hurry.  I find that the key to making baking mixes WORK for me is to mix up a couple ahead of time so I have a handful of baking options ready to go.  Make-ahead baking mixes are perfect for this time of the year – get a jump on your holiday ‘baking’ by pre-mixing some ingredients now.

How to Turn a Recipe Into a Baking Mix via Clean Mama

Baked Goods that work well for Make-Ahead Mixes:

  • muffins
  • quick breads
  • scones
  • pancakes
  • waffles
  • biscuits
  • cookies
  • brownies


Put Zip Top Bag in Large Measuring Cup to Easily Combine the Baking Mix via Clean Mama

Curious how you can turn just about any baked good recipe into a baking mix?  It’s so easy!

  • Simply choose your favorite recipe and read it over to make sure it can be broken down into dry and wet ingredients.
  • LABEL a zip top bag with the recipe title, the date, the wet ingredients you’ll need to add later – put specifics on it so you don’t need to grab the cookbook to bake the mix.  Add baking instructions like bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.
  • Gather the DRY ingredients and portion them into the zip top bag.  As long as you are mixing up the mix, portion out 2-3 bags of the recipe so you can make the baked good more than once.
  • Press out the air and seal the bag.  Just about any dry baking mix will easily keep in your freezer for up to 6 months.
  • Ready to bake?  Let the mix come to room temperature on a kitchen counter.
  • Use a whisk to blend/fluff up the dry ingredients.
  • Mix in the wet ingredients and bake as the recipe directs.

How to Make a Baking Mix via Clean Mama


You can take the baking mix to a different level and mix up a large batch of an all-purpose baking mix (think Bisquick) and keep that in your pantry or freezer to use for pancakes, biscuits, waffles, scones, etc.

I like this mix from King Arthur Flour – there are so many variations, you can really make this fit just about any diet or taste.

If you like this post, you’ll love the make-ahead cookie tip in this post!

Cookie Dough Tip Close-Up via Clean Mama

What’s for Dinner – FREE Printable

What's For Dinner FREE Printable main via Clean Mama

It’s the never-ending question in homes around the world – ‘what’s for dinner?’.  With all the menu planning lately I thought a free printable might be a fun way to help you with your menu planning too!

Use it on a clipboard, in your homekeeping notebook, or put it in a frame and use a dry erase marker.  Doing a little menu planning goes a long way to a more organized week in our home and I hope it’s helpful for you too!

What's For Dinner FREE Printable via Clean Mama

Go here to grab your FREE What’s for Dinner? printable!

(Please note: You’ll need to put the printable in your cart and checkout – it’s still FREE – once you create an account it will save any free printables and you can come back and access them anytime. Upon checkout you’ll see the link for the free printable AND it will also be emailed to you automatically!)

Interested in other posts about menu planning and make ahead cooking?  Go here to see other posts!

Clean Mama's Everyday Menu Planning Kit Clean Mama Printables

This FREE printable coordinates perfectly with my Everyday Menu Planning Kit in my shop.  It’s a great addition to the kit or use it by itself – there is a Recipes to Try List and a Family Favorites List in the same format as this free printable. You can see the entire Everyday Line here in my shop.

Make Ahead Cooking : Ground Turkey 3 Ways

Ground Turkey 3 Ways with Printable Guide via Clean mama

Make ahead cooking and bulk cooking is a must for getting dinner on the table in our home.  One of my favorite methods is to figure out a couple recipes that can be made semi-simultaneously in an hour or so.  Ground turkey 3 ways is just that – three basic components with simple ingredients that create a handful of meals to stock the freezer.

Simply follow these step-by-step directions and you’ll have made three different types of turkey meals for the  for at least 6-8 meals for 4-6 people in the freezer in about an hour!  (Don’t worry – I have a step-by-step printable guide at the end of the post for you!)

Start with these ingredients:

  • about six pounds of ground turkey – divided in half (I used a 6+ pound package of 93% lean ground turkey from Costco)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepperBrown and Season Ground Turkey - via Clean Mama


Scramble half of the ground turkey with garlic, salt and pepper – cook thoroughly.  TIP:  use a potato masher to stir and mash the ground turkey as you are cooking it.

Drain any liquid.

Take out half of the cooked ground meat and place in a freezer safe container or bag. Allow to cool completely before putting in the freezer. This is your all-purpose ground turkey mixture – use in tacos, pasta sauce, chili, burritos, burrito bowls, etc.

Simple Turkey Lasagna via Clean Mama


Gather ingredients:

  • about a pound and a half cooked ground turkey – this is what you have left in your pan
  • 1 jar red sauce
  • 1 jar white sauce
  • ½ cup pesto
  • 30 oz. ricotta cheese
  • no-bake lasagna noodles
  • 4 cups mozzarella cheese and 1 package (12 slices) sliced provolone cheese
  • parmesan cheese

Taste the cooked meat and add salt and pepper and Italian seasonings if necessary. Add white and red sauce to leftover meat in saucepan. Simmer on low for 15 minutes.

Combine ¼ – ½ cup pesto with 30 ounces ricotta cheese.

Use 2 baking dishes – I used a 9×13 pan and an 8×8 baking pan – add sauce to bottom of each pan. Layer noodles, ricotta/pesto, grated cheese and repeat until all ingredients are used up. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on the top.   Add plastic wrap and foil to seal; label and freeze.

Baked Turkey Meatballs via Clean Mama


Gather ingredients:

  • 3 pounds ground turkey
  • ¾ cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup half and half
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon dry parsley
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined, but don’t overmix.

STEP 10:
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

STEP 11:
Line 2-3 baking sheets with foil and parchment paper – spray with cooking spray.

STEP 12:
Scoop with a small scoop or use a tablespoon and form into balls with your hand.

STEP 13:
Place turkey meatballs on baking sheets and bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.

STEP 14:
Cool thoroughly and place in 2-3 zip top bags and freeze until needed. I like to put the meatballs in barbecue sauce and serve as an appetizer or as an entrée with mashed potatoes or a meal with pasta sauce. You can also make a cream sauce and make it Swedish meatball style. The options are endless!

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Add these make ahead meals to a quiet afternoon, evening, or weekend afternoon – the small amount of time invested is totally worth it!

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Ground Turkey 3 Ways via Clean mama

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