Weeknight Dinner Strategy
August 1 is here. Yikes, how did that happen? August creates a feeling of “Sunday night blues” for me. It means I’m adding sports and school events to my calendar, reading through emails I’ve ignored and getting armored up for the school year.
And by armored up, I mean whipping my kitchen and pantry into shape, returning to meal planning, and brainstorming new weeknight dinner recipes for cooking classes and my family.
For fans of James Clear’s Atomic Habits, think of weeknight meal planning as a habit loop. You want more time with family, you want less stress surrounding nightly cooking, and you want more time during the week. Am I right? Planning ahead frees up mental space and time that then relieves stress and gives you more time with your family.
The problem: Hectic nights surrounding sports activities, homework, scouts, college applications, volunteer commitments, work obligations, and more.
The solution: meal planning (in a way that makes sense and that includes your family’s actual weekly schedule and commitments).
To be clear, meal prep and meal planning are different. I’m talking about planning out your menu for the week, even if that includes a night of takeout or a date night. I can teach you how to pull off a realistic meal plan that will help alleviate stress.
I promise it will save you time if you’re not thinking about dinner every day. It adds stress to your life when you don’t plan. Remember that old adage, “fail to plan, and plan to fail.”
To be honest, I didn’t start this post intending to get on my soap box about meal planning. It’s a pep talk for me as much as it is for you! I take a break from meal planning in the summer, but I’ll be ramping back up starting this coming Sunday.
That said, here are a few things that will help you kick off your own best intentions.
This popular masterclass is back! I’ll walk you through how I clean out and reorganize my kitchen, pantry, fridge and freezer. Register now and get ready to reboot your cooking space! This year we’ve added a 4-day challenge with emailed to-do lists you’ll receive in your inbox.
Take my 5-module deep dive course into how to meal plan (it’s professionally filmed and you can watch as many times as you’d like, send me questions directly and print and save PDF cheat sheets). this course will get you planning and prepping dinner on the regular. The rubric I use for meal plans can be used for anyone, no matter what your dietary preferences.
Check out my most recent cooking class schedule and sign up for our 6-week Basics course or our September 8 hands-on class.
Favorite Weeknight Winners
Sheet Pan Sausage and Peppers (Add your favorite veggies to the pan.)
Blackened Salmon Tacos (Or just have the blackened salmon with a big ol’ salad. Use store-bought blackening seasoning to save time.)
Sesame Noodles with Napa Cabbage (Also delicious as a cold lunch the next day!)