Ever open up the fridge and wonder, “What’s for dinner?” If you’re like me this simple thought can bring on anxiety and more often than not you end up frustrated. At the end of the day, the last thing I want to think about is planning dinner and possibly going to the grocery store to buy ingredients.
Enter the monthly meal planning calendar. I’ve been using one to plan dinners for a few months now after I came across a printable blank calendar from Balancing Home. I’ve now made my own printable calendar and I am sharing it with you today! You can download the yearly calendar at the end of this post. Since I’ve been planning our meals in advance, we’ve eaten out less and we eat a more balanced meal.
How I meal plan
Each month I print off the monthly blank calendar and fill in the days (I also note any important events that would effect dinner). I then browse recipes on Pinterest and recipes I’ve found in magazines (Cooking Light has some great recipes). For each dinner meal I like to have: a main dish, side item, and vegetable. Tuesday is $2.99 day at Fresh Market where I buy boneless chicken breast and ground chuck beef for $2.99 lb. Because of this great deal I always incorporate a chicken breast and ground beef recipe at least once a week.
Here are some great chicken breast and ground beef recipes:
- Pesto chicken with mozzarella
- Sirracha lime chicken salad
- Italian chicken skillet dinner
- Classic meatloaf
- Ground beef stroganoff
- Sheppard’s pie
Need some recipe inspiration? Check out a few of my Pinterest boards:
Click here to visit Eight Pepperberries recipe boards on Pinterest
After gathering recipes that I want to cook I start to fill in the days on my calendar. I typically plan for Monday – Friday. Weekends are up in the air sometimes and we like to spend them with friends so this type of planning works best for us.
Most of the time I only plan for the upcoming week, this helps with using up ingredients we already have and cuts down on waste. After I have written in my calendar I take inventory of what ingredients we have on hand at make a grocery list of ingredients and weekly food basics needed. Now that I have a plan of attack on weeknight meals I hang my calendar on the fridge for quick reference.
I’ve turned my calendar in to a PDF file ready for you download and print. To start using the calendar today, click the image below to download. This meal planning thing is easy peasy!
Happy planning friends!
Know someone who needs to meal plan? Feel free to share this printable with a friend!