It is the time to gather your dinner meal ideas for the week. This list will make meal planning much easier for you as we go.
Now we will get into the good stuff. One of the hardest things about meal planning is thinking up what you want to fix each week. You are sure to quit within three weeks if you have to set there twenty minutes racking your brain on what meals you should fix and what you’ve already fixed.
We are going to solve that problem by writing out a list of meal ideas for dinner. You will start with a small number of meals ideas for the week and then you can add a few each week as you go until you have a rather large list.
This list will keep you from having to rack your brain of what meals you will put on your meal plan for the week. You will have it right there to look at each time to pick and choose from.
To start out you want to come up with at least fourteen meals to fix for dinner. If you can come up with more then that’s fine but if you have a hard time fourteen will be enough for now.
Actually, keeping it close to fourteen will make the next step in this process easier for you where you will print out recipes or write down ingredients for each of those meals.
Meal Ideas for Dinner
As you think about what meals you want to fix keep them simple. It would actually be best if you can come up with meals you already fix and wouldn’t have to follow a recipe for. Starting out you want your meals to be easy so you don’t get overwhelmed.
Here are a few of the meals I fixed in the beginning:
- Spaghetti with just the sauce and garlic bread
- Sloppy Joes with chips or fries
- Hot Dogs with chips or fries
- Pizza and salad (the premix kind)
- Meat with flour and Ms Dash or McCormick’s seasoning with green beans from the can and rolls from the bag
When thinking about your meals remember to keep it simple. Here are some more ideas to help you along:
- No prep meals that take only about 15 minutes. These would be like the examples I already gave above. Main meal salads would also work great for this.
- Think about slow cooker meals. You should choose slow cooker meals that only take about 15 minutes or less prep time. Also, I wouldn’t do any slow cooker meals that you will have to prep on the stove beforehand. Some examples would be BBQ Pulled Pork,
Vegetable Soup, Chili and Ribs. Some of these you can find in the BCP Meal Planner.
- Have an air fryer? These meals are super hands off. You just prep, put in the air fryer and let it do its thing.
- What about an instant pot or pressure cooker? I haven’t tried the pressure cooker but I do have an instant pot and love it!
- Try some one pan meals. I fix these in my house pretty often. Some on the stovetop and some in the oven.
- Still craving the drive thru? You can satisfy that by fixing your own take-out recipes.
- Go through the drive thru. What!?! You heard me right. You can still go through the drive thru as long as it is planned. For instance, we have pizza every week without fail. My son makes sure of it. Some weeks I will buy it at a pizza joint and other weeks I will cook it. Either way, it is planned.
There are many ways you can come up with the meals you will add to your list.
This is a good time to get the family involved.
Getting the family involved means you don’t have anyone feeling left out PLUS it makes it super easy for you to come up with some meal ideas.
Have each person to come up with at least three main items they would like to have, although more would be great.
Be sure to ask them what kind of sides they would like with those main items.
For instance, when we had our little brainstorming session my husband wanted pork chops, chicken legs, and fish. My oldest son wanted buffalo chicken, pork chops, and fried chicken. My youngest son wanted pizza, spaghetti, and tacos.
So, I took each of those main items and asked them what sides they would like with each. From their requests I chose one, no more than two sides for each main meal.
A little later you will find out how I chose those sides to keep dinner planning just a little more simple.
That gave me nine dinner ideas without even having to come up with any on my own.
For More Recipe Ideas
If you are having a tough time coming up with meal ideas you are welcome to explore the recipes I have already searched over the internet. Get started by going to the BCP Meal Planner and clicking how much time you want to spend cooking the meal.
Another place you can find recipes is by going to Pinterest. Just do a search on Easy Dinner Ideas. You will get plenty but I have to warn you that if they are new meals then only add one or two.
It’s easy to get all excited and start fantasizing about all the awesome meals you are going to fix. That can come with time but for now you gotta keep it simple.
Choose 2 Meals to Be Backup Meals
Backup meals will be your lifesaver on those days then you just are not feeling your meal plan. Trust me, either have something planned and an unexpected something comes up and you won’t have as much time. Or, you will just simply not feel like putting in thirty minutes in the kitchen. Instead you will just want to pop something in the oven or heat something on the stove and call it good.
Let me repeat that… THESE DAYS WILL HAPPEN.
Be prepared for them so you don’t find yourself spending thirty bucks in the fast food lane.
So, look at your meals and choose two meals that will take you no more than 15 minutes to throw together. If you don’t have two meals like that then come up with two.
The best kind of foods for this is typically your foods that are packaged or canned and you just have heat them up.
Canned Foods Like:
Chicken noodle soup, other soups
Frozen Foods Like:
Frozen chicken nuggets
Frozen Meals Like:
Beef flavored pasta skillet dinner
Birds Eye Viola Meals and Entrees
Stouffer’s Classic Frozen Meals
There are several varieties of frozen complete meals. Check the cooking instructions to make sure you can fix it quick. Most of the time this will be by the microwave.
Canned veggies like corn, green beans, pork n beans, asparagus… what ever vegetables are n a can
Frozen veggies like the ones above but frozen
Salad in a bag
Pre-Made in the Store items like potato salad, macaroni salad, coleslaw, and egg salad
Instant mashed potatoes
Alrighty, go brainstorm your fourteen meals plus two backup meals and write them down. This is the point where you may be interested in putting together a binder. The Simple Meal Planning Binder was designed to along with this Mini Course.
Next, you will print or write out the ingredients for those meals.
Action Steps to Complete Before You Continue
1. Write down fourteen easy, simple meals you can fix without being overwhelmed.
2. Write down two backup meals.
Feel free to share how you came up with your meal ideas in the comments.
Want the PDF Version?
The Simple Meal Planning Mini Course has been turned into a free PDF you can download to your computer and even print if you want. This PDF also includes space to complete your assignments and take notes.
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