In my house, we are borderline obsessed with keeping our food clean, safe, nutritious, and chemical-free. We are certainly not 100% dedicated to any particular “diet”, nor are we eating nuts and berries all day. We eat like normal, free-thinking Americans…and that sometimes means hot fudge sundaes. And Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce Lattes. Who am I kidding…that means DAILY Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce Lattes. However, we do keep things fairly healthy.
We always purchase organic, free-range, hormone-free meat from a reputable source (we prefer US Wellness Meats), we always purchase organic dairy products (although we don’t do dairy milk at all), and we always purchase organic produce. We are pretty vigilant about meat, dairy & produce because these seem to be the things that have the potential of being the most “nasty” when it comes to conventional foodstuffs. The rest of our diet is made up of about 80% organic products, and 20% conventional. I’m only mentioning this because I think it’s important for you to know that it’ll be unlikely to see anything highly processed on my menus, and very few ingredients will ever come from a can or package.
I generally pull recipes from other people’s websites (or recipe collection sites), but I have amassed a nice collection of personal recipes that I developed in my past blog-lifetime. Since I post my menus as they’re about to happen, sometimes I haven’t even tried the recipe myself yet, so I can’t speak to the accuracy or deliciousness of the recipes that I haven’t yet tried. However, I will be updating periodically if I really loved or hated a particular recipe, or if something was a major fail.
There are 3 components to my menus:
- Fully cooked meals to be refrigerated or frozen for the upcoming week.
- Meals assembled & frozen for the upcoming week.
- Meals cooked in advance to stock your freezer for the future (freezer pulls).
My meal plans generally contain 2 slow cooker dinners, 2 dinners made ahead and refrigerated, 1 leftovers night, 2 breakfast meals to rotate, and 1-3 freezer pulls for breakfast or lunches. It probably sounds more complicated than it is. The goal is that over the course of a month or two, you should have stocked up a pretty decent collection of items in your freezer that you can pull out for future breakfasts and lunches, as well as on the weekends when your family is hungry and you would normally have nothing to feed them.
I choose to grocery shop on Thursday, assemble my slow cooker meals and make one breakfast on Saturday, and do the rest of my actual cooking on Sundays. This way, I only end up actually cooking 2-3 recipes on Sunday, and I can knock that out easily with just a couple of free hours in the morning or during nap time.
This is what works for me…but you always have the option of just cooking everything on the day that it appears on the menu as well. I prefer the convenience of having everything ready when I get home, but you don’t have to do anything in advance if you don’t want to.
Please keep in mind that my menus are just that–mine. You will notice that my kid eats mandarin oranges every single day at snack time. Her world would probably collapse without them. You don’t have to feed your kid oranges every day. The great thing about the menu is that you can modify it to your own liking. Use it as a guide, or use it as it is.
But just use it–you’ll be glad you did!