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Another meal poll- dinner

How do you plan what you'll have for dinner each week?  

  1. 1. How do you plan what you'll have for dinner each week?

    • I make a weekly menu plan each week, and cook most evenings
    • I do big batch cooking and freeze / pre made meals for week, month, etc
    • I buy the same stuff every week, so we do Tuesday tacos, Wednesday spaghetti, etc.
    • We do a lot of easy meals, Trader Joe's style, or get take out
    • I shop for dinner daily or every couple days so we can buy what we feel like eating that night
    • I keep a lot of basic staples in the fridge to make meals and improvise from there

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1) What's your dinner game plan, ie, how do you typically plan for dinner?

2) Can you share a crockpot recipe?

3) A meal to freeze recipe or typical routine (if you do that)?

4) Your families' best loved meal?


I am going to school 2 afternoons a week and would love some make ahead and slow cooker ideas! Thanks :)

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I meal plan for a month at a time. I theme the days so its easier to pick something to make. Like Brinner Fridays or Pizza Wednesdays, Italian Mondays, etc.


Crockpot recipe: Taco Soup

2 cans of kidney beans 2 cans of pinto beans

2 cans of corn

1 can diced tomatoes

1 lb browned ground turkey or hamburger

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp paprika

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp cumin

Shredded cheese for embellishment


A handful of tortilla chips, crushed.


Brown meat, drain off fat and add to the crock pot.

Add seasoning.

Drain and rinse the beans and add to the pot.

Add the ENTIRE contents of the corn and tomato cans.

Stir to mix. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5. About 20 minutes before serving, Turn off and stir in some chips to the mix. Serve with cheese and a sprinkling of chips.


This makes a LOT of soup. It freezes well.

I have frozen this recipe, it does well. I have found that you can freeze almost anything and reheat it without too much texture/taste lost.


My family's favorite meal is probably a simple teriyaki chicken.

2 chicken breasts, cubed

1 TBSP lemon juice

1 clove of garlic, minced

1/4 c pineapple juice

2 TBSP teriyaki sauce

1 cup pineapple chunks

2 heads of broccoli, chopped



Cook chicken and garlic in lemon juice until chicken is cooked through. Add pineapple juice and teriyaki sauce and bring to a boil. Add pineapple and broccoli, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve over rice.

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We usually do a meal plan and do the main shopping on the weekend. Dh actually likes to grocery shop because he loves to sample:). On our less busy days, we cook more time-consuming meals and/or cook extra for another meal for a less busy day. We always plan leftovers. Grilled chicken becomes chicken tacos later. When making hamburgers, we brown up some meat for Sloppy Joes on whole wheat buns and a salad later in the week. Grilled pork chops are cut up and put into pork fried rice.


Our easiest crock pot recipe is to take a rump roast or some other inexpensive lean roast, put it in the crock pot with a chopped onion, some garlic, bell peppers, a couple pepperoncinis, oregano, basil, a few tablespoons balsamic vinegar. Let it stew all day. It falls apart and then we have Italian beef. I salt it to taste before serving with whole wheat buns and a big salad.


In the winter, when we make meatloaf, we always make extra to freeze for another meal. I always make spaghetti and pizza sauces in big batches to pull out of the freezer.


La Leche League's Whole Foods for the Whole Family has been a great help for me over the years. I had to learn to cook from scratch when my son was a baby and we discovered he was allergic to milk. That meant we had to eliminate many prepared foods from our diet.


One family favorite is Salmon with an asian sauce. I adapted this from a recipe in the South Beach Diet cookbook. I think it was originally for Orange Roughy (not something readily available here in the midwest.) I use about 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar, 3 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil, a clove or two of garlic, about a tbsp of freshly grated ginger, and 2 scallions. I pour this over thawed salmon in a baking dish. In the winter, I put the baking dish in a 450 degree oven and bake for 15 minutes. In the summer we let the fish marinate for about 15 minutes while the coals are heating up. We grill it on cedar planks that we had soaked for about 15 minutes and cook until it flakes easily. We serve this over brown rice and have a side veggie and salad. Even my picky eater loves this.

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>>What's your dinner game plan, ie, how do you typically plan for dinner?


The food speaks to me and the meal evolves organically. Or I make the recipe below.


>>2) Can you share a crockpot recipe?


No. Except chicken broth - put the carcass of a chicken and various veggie trimmings (nothing slimy, nothing dirty) into a crock pot. Fill with water. Cook for 24 hours. Ladle out liquid, pour through strainer into 1 cup containers, cool, put in freezer.


To use, put in rice cooker with appropriate amount of rice, put a layer of spinach then fish fillets into steamer basket, tuck veggies around fish, turn cooker on, wait for it to turn itself off. If using brown rice, put basket into cooker 25 minutes into the cooking time.


>>3) A meal to freeze recipe or typical routine (if you do that)?


See chicken broth above.


>>4) Your families' best loved meal?


See rice cooker above.

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Thanks for posting this thread...I am subbing.

Right now, I buy lots of staples and then improvise. Problem is....my big kids help themselves, so when I go to cook....there is nothing left:glare:


Also, we have evening activities.....so my desire to cook and eat on the fly has diminished completely! We have been having lots of grilled cheese nights...:glare:


Anyway, I really, really need to be as organized with meals as I try to be with work, house work and school.....




Crock pot meal...



I use my regular recipe....but I do not cook the noodles...

Spray crock with cooking oil spray

Spread sauce

Noodle layer

Sauce layer



Ricotta cheese

Mozzarella cheese








End with noodle, sauce, mozzarella cover and cook on low 6 hours.



Edited by Mommyfaithe
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1) What's your dinner game plan, ie, how do you typically plan for dinner?

Around 5:30, either I or my husband says... "huh. It's 5:30. What should we have for supper?" I really need to plan, but I fell out of hte habit. Ideally, I would plan and prep/pre-cook.

2) Can you share a crockpot recipe?



I don't have a crockpot. (Not because of the kerfuffle, I just didn't use the two I had, so I got rid of them. We have a pressure cooker instead.)


3) A meal to freeze recipe or typical routine (if you do that)?

Almost everything I make can be doubled and the other half frozen. I should really do that.

4) Your families' best loved meal?



They like pretty much anything. We do a lot of salads, with leftover chicken and roasted potatoes on them. In the winter, we have more soups, and use the pressure cooker more.




Friday, I made scalloped potatoes, tomato salad, and grilled ham. Last night, I made GF pizza with leftover chicken, bacon, olives, mushrooms, and onion.




Mostly, we keep a lot of staples on hand: boneless skinless chicken breasts and thighs, ground beef, fish fillets, frozen veggies, potatoes, onions, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, milk, eggs... and pantry items to bake pretty much anything. And I make a lot of things to use up leftovers like grilled chicken.



@ Faithe: I was very good at planning and prepping during lacrosse season, when we were on the field every night until after dark. PlantoEat.com was very helpful; I bought a year subscription... I just need to start USING it again.

Edited by MyCrazyHouse
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i have a few fast meals i reserve for busy nights, much of the work can be done by other family members - sub sandwiches and chips with lots of veggies on the subs (like subway) - i make the gluten-free buns some time when I have the time, and make double so i freeze the second half. whenever i make home-made pizza i make double and freeze half. quick meals include tacos from ground turkey meat, spaghetti (I make meatball mix and freeze it in ziplocs, just enough for one meal, and flat, so it thaws quickly), burgers (turkey). I like throwing baked beans in the crock pot and cooking up rice and some very thin pork chops on the grill pan when i get home. A roast chicken w potatoes in the pan can be prepped ahead of time and put in the oven by someone else. there is some website about a year of slow cooker recipes and i've used a few of those.

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My dinner planning is erratic at best. I try to plan a week at a time before I shop, but I am far from consistent. In general I just keep a well stocked kitchen and improvise.


My favorite crock pot meal is Black bean chicken:

1 can of black beans,

3 or 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 c of frozen corn (or 1 can)

2 c salsa


Cook it all on low for the day. By dinner time the chicken should be falling apart. Stir to shred the chicken then serve w/ cheese either over rice or with tortillas. If you put it in tortillas, you might want to let it drain some first. Ds prefers it that way, the rest of us eat it over rice or in a tortilla with rice to soak up the extra liquid.


My families favorite dinner is skillet lasagna:

Cook penne pasta in salted water

Brown a pound of ground beef in a large cast iron skillet. Add a can of spaghetti sauce, half a container of cottage chesse, a cup of ricotta cheese (optional) and the penne. Stir until well mixed, cover with shredded mozzarella and pop in the oven @ 400 the cheese is thoroughly melted (10-15 min). I serve it with some french bread and a salad.

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The poll says that I make a plan and a list, but really, I only do that once a month -- the other weeks, the three older dc are in charge of menu planning and cooking, and often shopping (though dh or I go with them).


They use the white board, which is next to the calendar, so they can see what is going on that week that will affect timing. They need to account for protein, starch and veggie in their plan.

Breakfast and lunch are everyone for one's self -- dh and I (whoever is shopping) make sure the house is stocked with a good variety of options.

They're encouraged to get creative on the nights when they have time, but some nights are just cray and quick and easy is the way to go. There are a couple of nights when we usually have to eat in shifts, and crock pot usage is encouraged on those days.


We do sometimes double or triple up and freeze, so that there are quick meals available.


I have to coach to varying levels. My teens are pretty independent. My middle schooler still needs to be talked through the calendar and balancing the meals, and the selections are pretty basic and not exciting, with a larger number of convenience items -- in his case, it's not as much as an age thing as a personality thing. He's likely going to be an engineer, and food isn't a priority for him. He'll never starve, but I don't expect that he'll be going gourmet, even as an adult. Technically, the week that I cook is my little one's week. I do include her in the planning, and sometimes the shopping and the cooking, but there's just not a whole lot that she can do yet.

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Mexican beef stew:

1 pound ground beef

1 (28 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained

1 onion, chopped

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 envelope taco seasoning mix

1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 (11 oz.) can corn with red and green peppers, drained


Brown beef and onion. Combine beef and onions, tomatoes and chili powder in crock pot. Cook on low 6 or 7 hours. Thirty minutes before serving, stir in black beans, corn and taco seasoning. Cook on high for 30 minutes.


Crockpot Spaghetti:

1 to 2 pounds ground beef

1 chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 15 oz. cans tomato sauce (or one large can)

2 to 3 teaspoons Italian seasoning

1 or 2 cans (4 oz. each) mushrooms, drained

6 cups tomato juice

8 oz. dry spaghetti, broken into 4- or 5-inch pieces


Brown ground beef, onion and garlic. Put in crockpot along with tomato sauce, tomato juice, mushrooms and Italian seasoning. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. With one hour to go before serving, stir in dry spaghetti and turn to high setting.



1 pound ground beef

1 medium green pepper, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

2 cans (15 oz. each) kidney beans, undrained

2 packages chili seasoning mix

1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce

1 can (10 oz.) Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies


Brown ground beef, bell pepper and onion. Combine all ingredients in crockpot and stir. Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours or on high for 3-1/2 hours.

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We eat home-cooked food most nights, and I plan it weekly based on my work schedule and the kids' school schedules. When I work, we have planned leftovers, an easy to fix meal, or something prepped in advance that just has to be cooked (such as spaghetti sauce made ahead and pasta and salad prepped when I get home).


My family rarely eats beef but loves chicken. I flatten chicken breasts and coat them in parm cheese/breadcrumbs and freeze in individual portions. It's a big mess to do that but when I want to cook some, I just thaw and cook- so easy! I also freeze frozen flattened chicken breasts without any coating- makes fast chicken sandwiches on the panini grill and we can season them while cooking to give them the type of flavor we want.


The only other real meal thing I do in advance is making meat sauce and freezing in meal size portions. I make enough for four meals- which also provides lunch for two or so the next day.


If I don't have a plan, we eat crummy food and end up eating out too often.

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I like to cook. I voted for "keeping staples" but really it's somewhere between the first and last choice. My intent is to meal plan, but I don't really do it for the week. Often something will sound good, or we end up with more leftovers or something. Also I buy things often because of a sale while shopping so that changes things a little.

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I needed an other option for when in the mood I go through my cookbooks and create a week or two menu and other weeks I have a set 7 meals that I know everyone likes and some weeks I use my moms menu which was


Monday, New England Boiled dinner

Tuesday stew or roast

Wednesday spaghetti and meatballs or lasagna

Thursday, Tuna casserole or meatloaf

Friday fish, sandwiches, soup, or pizza

Saturday, hot dogs and beans

Sunday left overs

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