Preparing meals and planning them are not two of my favorite things. And if I were a betting woman, I’d bet they aren’t yours either. However, they are necessary things. Unless we want our grocery budgets to be astronomical, we have to plan ahead for meals. Having a list of go-to meals helps the planning part easier!
How do you do it?
The simple answer is that I have to have a plan, and I have to work from it.
I know some of you just broke out in hives. I get it. Meal planning is not fun, and for years I resisted it. As my family has grown, however, I just can’t keep the budget in check any other way.
But there are more benefits to having a plan posted.
Things like my sanity – I don’t have to wonder what I am cooking for supper (in the South, that’s the evening meal – dinner if you will), scrambling to find ingredients to throw something together at 6 o’clock. I’ve planned it all out, mostly according to weekly sales, and I have everything on hand I need to get a decent (notice I didn’t say gourmet) meal together.
The other thing? I don’t have to answer a gazillion times: “What are we having for supper?” Instead, I only have to answer it half a gazillion (you know, for the non-readers).
Simply, I keep certain ingredients on hand pretty much all the time, and I keep a running list of easy and favorite recipes. I’m all about the easy, so if you are in it for the fancy, sorry–can’t help ya. 😉
Moms, especially younger moms, are simply amazed at how much food I cook for most meals, and often ask me what kinds of things I cook.
First of all, we pretty much eat the same things over and over again. Yes, sometimes I’m fine with that, but sometimes I’m not. When I’m not, I look for something else new–and easy–to add to my list of recipes.
I keep a running list of regular recipes that we rotate through each month. The list only has names of recipes and ingredients so that I can do a quick glance at what I need to buy.
Our 6 Favorite Go-To Meals
Because I know how hard it is to find meals that everyone likes, and stay within your budget, I’m sharing a few of my go-to meals with you.
You can’t go wrong with tacos. They are easy to make, and easy on your budget. I use one pound of seasoned ground meat to feed my whole family of 9. We use the burrito-sized tortillas so we can stuff them full of fresh veggies, meat and beans (pinto or black or refried–beans are a great way to stretch a dish). I dice plenty of tomatoes, peppers, onions, and even cucumbers. From time to time (when avocados are on sale), I whip up some quick guacamole, too. Throw on some sour cream, salsa, and cheese; wrap it all up and viola!
½ cup salsa of your choice
sprinkle of onion powder
sprinkle of garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Using my beloved Kitchen Aid (hands down my favorite kitchen appliance), I mix it all together until the desired consistency. Done!
Chili or Taco Soup
In the winter, we have either chili or taco soup almost every week. We all love Shan’s super easy, super tasty recipe!
So easy and everyone loves them! However, I don’t buy that Manwich stuff very often (almost never); nope, I make my own. Don’t let it scare you, though, I promised easy! I’ve been making this recipe from Heavenly Homemakers for years now! Serve the sloppy joes with french fries or these homemade steak fries–golden!
Crockpot Boston Butt
When pork butts are on sale, I’m grabbing a couple and freezing one for later. I season my pork with Bad Byron’s Butt Rub if I have it on hand, if not, I scour Pinterest for some easy to throw together rub. I rub the meat down really good, and then cook the Boston butt in the crock pot overnight on low. The next morning, I turn the crock pot off so that by the afternoon the meat is cool enough that I don’t burn my fingers as I pick the fat and pull the meat. Serve on buns or potatoes with your favorite BBQ sauce (we love Sweet Baby Ray’s) for a BBQ potato, and some slaw or salad as a side.
Chicken Broccoli Divine
This easy chicken casserole served over rice or noodles (or not) makes for a simple, divine supper! It is courtesy of an old church cookbook that we got as a wedding gift. Side note: That was almost 19 years ago, and it is still the most used cookbook in my kitchen!
2 cups cooked, de-boned chicken cut in bite sized pieces
1 lg bag of frozen broccoli (16-20 oz)
1/2 cup mayo
1 can cream of chicken soup (or make your own–I promise it’s pretty easy!)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Bread or cracker crumbs
Cook the broccoli according to package directions, drain. Layer in baking dish, first broccoli, then chicken, and third cheese. Next, combine mayo and soup, mix and pour over other layers. Top with bread or cracker crumbs. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. (Recipe by Mrs. Strickland)
Yes, I make my own pizza, mostly because I have to. My job is to feed a family of 9 on a budget, and there’s no way we can order out pizza every week.
I have been using this pizza dough recipe every single week for a few years now. For my sauce, I buy Kroger’s Roasted Red Pepper Spaghetti Sauce, then top with cheese and pepperoni and sometimes peppers and onions or bacon or [again] whatever I have on hand.
There you have it!
I hope you find it helpful to see a few of my go-to meals and how I get them on the table. Since I don’t love cooking, quick and easy and budget friendly are what works for me!
What are some of your go-to’s? I’d love to add some to my list. Please share what helps keep you sane on busy weeknights!