I'm a big believer in eating meals with your family, but I'll admit, it's not easy. It takes creativity and patience, along with a bit of trial-and-error, but it IS possible!
Today I'm sharing my meal planning process. This works for me and maybe it'll help you too.
A MASTER MENU LIST
This is exactly what it sounds like. I created a list of our favorite meals and put them into a table format. My full list is about 2 pages long. Click here to print a blank template.
In the picture above, you can see that I've listed meals on the left. At the top, I've listed the months.
Every time we eat a meal, I put a check in the box for that month. Note - I don't mark the meal until we've actually eaten it. After all, some weeks life gets busy and the plan changes!
And yes, if you look closely, you'll see some of my meals are super-easy. No judgement allowed! Family meals are important to me, but I never said it had to be fancy!
PLAN A WEEKLY MENU
This is where the Master Menu List really comes in handy!
Every Saturday or Sunday, I make a meal plan for the week. I simply grab that list and choose meals that we HAVEN'T eaten recently.
If you're like me, you can get into a rut and make the same thing over and over. That's fine of course, but this system helps rotate meals and I like that.
Planning Tip: I found it helpful to have a rough schedule of when I'll cook and when we'll eat leftovers. After all, some teaching days are so busy that I can't cook big meals. On those days, we'll eat leftovers, I'll use the crockpot, or it'll be something super simple, like pizza bagels.
Here's my current meal plan:
WHAT ABOUT NEW RECIPES?
Honestly, I'm not an adventurous cook. Life's been busy and it hasn't been a top priority.
But THIS year, things are different. I have a Master List of recipes that I plan to try and guess what? I've already tried several of them in the past couple weeks! It's all about spoiling my son before he heads off to college. Discovering new meals is one way I'm doing that.
Over the next few months, I'll share my favorites with you. Some of them have been huge hits with Kevin and Matthew!
MY FAVORITE BREAKFAST!
NOTE: If you don't like oatmeal - STAY WITH ME! My husband doesn't like oatmeal either, but this is more like....granola and he loves it. So does Matthew!
It's called Overnight Oats. I heard about this a long time ago, but avoided it because I don't like mushy oatmeal.
Steel oats is more my style. It has a nutty, chewy texture and I love it!
My overnight oats recipe is for steel oats, although you could use either. It literally takes less than 5 minutes to make the day before. The next day, just grab a spoon and dive in!
Overnight Oats Recipe
Grab your favorite mug (I love this one!) and mix the following:
NOTE: Steel oats are very hard and this mixture needs to sit for at least 8 hours to be soft enough to eat. The best part is that they'll maintain the chewy texture for a couple days in the fridge, so go ahead and make a couple mugs for the week. You'll be glad you did!
If you liked this post, you might enjoy:
This Year I'm Saying YES to My Family
Teach Piano AND Have Dinner With Your Family? YES!
Quick and Tasty Meatballs
Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
Note: Some of links in this post are affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.
Warning: If you're looking for a fancy recipe - this is NOT the post for you!
On the other hand, if you want something that's SUPER quick and tasty - you'll absolutely love the recipe! My boys are CRAZY about these meatballs!
There are only 3 ingredients:
Just toss it all in a crockpot. Seriously - that's it!
I set my crockpot on high for 2 hours and then switch to low for about an hour. Before I switch to low, I'll stir the meatballs to make sure each one is coated with sauce.
(I recently replaced my 20-year-old crockpot with this one. No, it's not one of the fancy programmable ones, but it does everything I need and I love it!)
Sometimes we'll pair these with a salad or noodles. My boys love them best when I serve them on sub rolls.
Regardless of how you serve them, they're super tasty and quick. Perfect for piano teachers!
Note: Some of links in this post are affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.)
A wonderful friend made this soup for me when I was recovering from surgery a couple years ago. It's SO yummy that I had to get the recipe!
Best of all? There's a quick version that you can make when you're short on time. Which is pretty much all the time for piano teachers!
The Original Recipe
Sometimes I'll make this on a weekend when I have more time, then we can enjoy the leftovers during the week.
5 cups water
Handful of baby carrots
3-4 celery stalks
Tablespoon of Salt
2 Bay leaves
Boil the above, the simmer for 1 hour with lid left on.
Smash carrots with a fork
Add 1 box of chicken stock
Add 1 can cream of chicken soup
1/4 - 1/2 cup half and half (you can omit this)
Sprinkle top with Pepper
1 Tablespoon Parsley
Thicken with Cornstarch (start with 1-2 tablespoons mixed with water)
1 bag (12 oz total) of Reames Noodles. (Pictured below.) These are THE best and you'll find them in the frozen Asian section. If you can’t find them, just get any egg noodle in the regular pasta section.
Cook for about 20 minutes
The Quick Version!
This whips up quickly if you use a rotisserie chicken. Sometimes I'll get a couple, debone them and put the meat in the freezer. Then it's quick to pull out when I need it.
Here's what you do:
This soup tastes even better the second day! Pair it with a quick salad and biscuits and you've got a yummy meal in no time!
(Note: Some of links in this post are affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.)
Hi there! I'm Tracy Selle. A Christian wife, mom, and author of 101 Piano Practice Tips. I'm also a piano teacher and founder of Upbeat Piano Teachers.