If you've landed here, you are/were probably in the same spot I found myself in - struggling as a working family, trying to get decent, delicious, nutritious & fresh meals on the table for dinner. Previous to the plan I'm about to share, I hated everything about meals. Planning them, prepping them, being creative, shopping and paying for them.
So, I've invested some time into creating a system that WORKS, and I'm here to share it! Below you will find a 7 day meal plan for the week with links to recipes and tips and tricks on how to plan, shop & prepare all of your dinners in 3.5 hours!
Here's what you need to know about the meal plans I'm sharing:
- The recipes are DIFFERENT than our families “same old same" (thankfully);
- The meals take LESS than 20 mins to prep;
- I'm no chef - but I can follow a recipe like nobody's business! Most of the recipes are from other food bloggers/accounts. I've mixed in a few of our family favourites, as well, but will always provides links/credit to the accounts that I'm using!
- Many recipes are linked to IG accounts. I will share the website link if they have one, but if they don't, you'll need an IG account to access the recipe.
- Our family usually includes meat as a protein;
- We are a “medium-ly” health conscious family, so most meals will have fresh, non creamy/sugary ingredients, but that doesn’t mean I won’t sneak in a pasta dish and cream sauce every once in a while 😉...but saying that, if there is a healthy alternative to get the same outcome - I usually substitute it!
- Rarely lettuce salads. Ugh - I know….trust me, I’ve tried liking salads because you’re supposed to, but they don’t fill me up and by the time I add enough dressing, it’s not healthy anymore 🙈;
- All recipes that I share have been tried and APPROVED by my WHOLE family!
I hope these recipes are a good starting point to get you on your own path to "Owning Your Families Meal Journey" versus the food fear owning you. I encourage you to substitute a few options or adjust to your liking as needed. Every family has different needs and likes! So here goes nothing!
#1 - Start off by printing or saving the MEAL PLAN OVERVIEW. I find printing works best for our family so everyone can see what the actual "plan" is! They always look at it on Sunday night - it's actually exciting for everybody!
#2 - I like to print the recipes below, but of course if you have a method of saving them digitally, that works too! I'm old school and love working off printed recipes.
#3 - Feel free to print off my GROCERY SHOPPING LIST. I attach and staple together (in order), the GROCERY SHOPPING LIST, the MEAL PLAN OVERVIEW and all of the recipes below in the order I plan on preparing them.
Meal #1 - Roasted Peruvian Chicken with Green Sauce & BBQ Potato Foil Packs
This is honestly some of the best chicken I've ever had in my life. It absolutely made the forever cut on our "go-to" list. This marinated chicken is so simple to prep ahead, and the green sauce is good enough to drink - not kidding. We saved the leftover green sauce and used it on as many other things as we could for the rest of the week!
The Potato Foil Pack is a recipe we grew up with on the farm. Every summer when we had a "crew" of friends and family over, it was my job to make individual potato packs for each guest. It's nostalgic to me, but freaking amazing to everyone who tries it! If you haven't had it before - be prepared - drool worthy, fresh veggies perfect for the summer season. I don't have an official recipe for this, but I did whip up a few directions from my families version on the link below!
Meal #2 - Big Mac Smash Tacos with Fresh Veggies and Cottage Cheese Ranch Dip
This was a HIT! Super fast, easy and a fun twist on a few favourites! I prepared the "Big Mac Sauce" and the burger meat and seasonings ahead of time, and when dinner came around it took about 5 minutes to add the meat to the tortilla and 5 more minutes to cook it!
As for the ranch dip - this is a beautiful way to add some protein into a typically unhealthy dip! Now - hear me out - I know cottage cheese isn't a go-to food for a lot of people.....but just try it once!!! Once it's blended up, you will like it more than bottled ranch! The ranch dip will keep in the fridge for as long as the cottage cheese lasts! We always have a container of veggies cut up, so this part of the meal includes pulling out the veggies and the dip from the fridge - and voila - done!
Now, of course the faster method is using the bottle, so it really can be a fast side if you need it to be!
Meal #3 - Butter Chicken with Coconut Rice & "Special Salad"
This is a fire hall favourite that my husband brought home - and it has been a weekly request for many years now (thankfully it only takes 3 ingredients)!
Fun fact - my youngest daughter won't eat chicken - anything like a chicken, or anything that comes from a chicken - she just doesn't like the texture! So, we often substitute canned chickpeas for meals/recipes for her - and this is her favourite recipe with chickpeas! We cook the sauce completely, and then divide it and add chicken to one half and the chickpeas to the other half!
We love the Butter Chicken Sauce
from Costco (linked here), but I'm sure any jar will do!
Now for the coconut rice - if this isn't something you tried before - I'm pre-apologizing - you'll never want to go back to plain rice again! Creamy rice with a hint of coconut will hit the spot on any days - summer or winter! You have to try it!
And lastly - "Special Salad." YEARS ago when the girls were little and I was single mom-ing, they named this salad, and it's stuck ever since. Every time I make it, our guests rave about it and want the recipe for the dressing. It makes our whole family laugh/roll our eyes. It's SO simple, yet my friends say they can't replicate it the same! Salt, pepper, white vinegar and olive oil. That's it. I truly think the key is the amount of salt I use (let's just say I'm not shy about adding the salt:), and the way I cut the veggies lol. Mini cucumbers, 50% peeled, and cherry tomatoes sliced in half!
Meal #4 - Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff & Fresh Veggies with Cottage Cheese Ranch Dip
Hearty, creamy and a one crock pot wonder! I prepped this baby by mixing the slow cooker ingredients in one bowl, and the gravy ingredients in another, and cooked the pasta. Stored in the fridge for a few days, and when the morning came - I threw the meat in the crock pot with all of the ingredients, came home, added in the gravy mixture and noodles and had a delicious meal in 15 minutes!
Since this meal is so hearty, I don't make a "side". I just pull out the cottage cheese ranch dip and pre-cut veggies!
Isn't funny how when veggies are cut up and in front of you, people (and kids) just eat them?
Meal #5 - Chili with Garlic Naan Bread
This is a total family go-to - when all else fails, this is the recipe we hit up! Full of protein and veggies, fast & relatively economical, can feed a crowd and most importantly, delicious. The toppings are what truly turns it from just "good" to absolutely exceptional! We use cilantro, green onions, cheese & Dorito's!
The only adjustment I make to the recipe is a package of Italian sausage! I don't substitute for the beef, I just add it in for extra protein and flavour.
I use the Garlic Butter (you can get at most supermarkets) for the Naan, but of course if you just have plain butter, you can mix some garlic powder in the butter to get the same effect!
Meal #6 - Slow Cooker Ham & Potato Soup
Full of veggies & protein, yet creamy & comforting! We're a soup family - doesn't matter the season. Delicious, filling and I prepped EVERYTHING days ahead. Don't forget that you can prep (peel & dice) your potatoes in advance. As long as they are kept in water, they won't turn brown!
Meal #7 - Spicy Shrimp Sushi Tacos
We love sushi - however, this is cooked shrimp, so if raw isn't your style, no problemo here - keep reading!!!!!
I may have saved the best for last. Let me tell you that when I seen this one, it looked kinda complicated because sushi just sounds fancy, no? BUT IT WASN'T! It was SO easy and SO fun to make! I actually made it when all three of my girls had friends over(mom-ing hard that night), and we were all impressed with the outcome (I actually had to make a second batch of the cabbage slaw, it was such a hit)!
Watch this video. Make this meal. Do something fun & different!
If you have small or big kids, seeing the rice wrap shrivel up into a ball is pretty damn fun!
OK, that's IT! I hope you find some new family fave recipes in this post that help to bring more joy in your kitchen and your family meals!
If this was helpful, or if you try these recipes, please leave a comment below! It's so helpful to know what recipes you love and what content helps you in this crazy journey called LIFE!
Sending you lots of love! xoxo