Introduction: Meal Planning

My Mom is an excellent cook.

She is the type of cook that can make anything without looking at a recipe and make it fabulous. Everyone comments on her cooking. She came to the United States from Singapore in the 80’s and met my dad. Her cooking is an amazing fusion of Asian and American. Everything has flavor- blah foods are not her style.

I am not a cook. I tell this to people all the time, but I never take time to explain. My standards for good food are always judged against my Mom’s food. When we go out, its always, “the food is good but…” While, we do have our favorite restaurants and our favorite dishes, we usually are quick to judge them. Because of this, I am critical.

I feel like my story is common- everyone has a good cook in their family and some people learned to become good cooks themselves.

“I learned from my Grandma.”

“I learned from my Aunt.”

“I learned from my Dad.”

Well, I didn’t.

This isn’t to say I am not adequate. I know how to chop onions, boil eggs, and follow recipes. In fact, I follow recipes very well. Recipes are in-tune with my personality- a set of plans that I follow. I am not a rule breaker- I don’t stray from plans or recipes. I don’t add more of this or take away that. This is what makes me, in my mind, an adequate cook.

So where does this leave me? Clean kitchen… frozen meals… mac n cheese?


I am about to turn thirty with two young boys, and I am was generally a mess with meals. I was all over the place. We were eating out too much and spending too much money on food that was all the same. So I came up with a plan.

After scouring Pinterest for ideas, I came up with a plan to stick with. I visited and searched for the most reviewed, most “stared” recipes in the following categories:

  1. -American
  2. -Mexican
  3. -BBQ
  4. -Casserole
  5. -Italian
  6. -Asian
  7. -Misc. (appetizers, desserts, breakfast, smoothies)

6 Categories for 6 nights of cooking, 1 night to go out.

I decided to use because I feel confident with reviews. When I buy something on Amazon, I read reviews. When I book a hotel, I read reviews. I figure if 4,000 other people have made this recipe and they generally love it, then I have a higher chance of my family enjoying it too. My main goals are to:

  1. become more organized with meals
  2. learn different recipes of different genres

I am going to be sharing my weekly menus, with links to the recipes on here so you can follow along. I love using because I am able to see the nutrition content per serving, and I am able to change the number of portions easily on the site. So whether you are cooking for 1 or 10, they have you covered. I also planned out a different breakfast for each day of the week. This has saved me a tremendous amount of time.

Here are some of my guidelines:

  • Each recipe I cook has at least 1000 reviews with 4.5 or better stars.
  • I follow the recipe as written.
  • I stick to the genre for the day (Mexican, Asian, Etc.) except….
  • BBQ day is also a flex day. If it is too hot, cold, or inconvenient to BBQ, I will substitute for cooking the meal in the oven, or cook another recipe of another genre.
  • We eat out one day a week.
  • First day of the week is Monday. I generally do my planning and publish the next week’s plan on Friday. I do my shopping for the week on Sunday.

Also keep in mind:

  • I will not estimate the time it takes to prepare and cook. Allrecipes includes an estimate on each recipe, but I am not sure how accurate it is.
  • I cannot promise that each meal will be $XX.XX for the week. I will start posting my receipt for the items that I purchased for the week. This should only be used as a guideline because I may have a different amount of people I am feeding, I may already have items needed for the week’s recipes, etc. Too many variables.
  • This is a good guide to start learning an array of recipes in different genres and become more organized with your family’s meals.
  • The first two weeks are a little crazy because we planned our vacation to California. Stick with me! I promise plans will be consistent.

Let me know if you are following along! Let others know what you think of the recipes. Let others know how long its taking you to prepare.

Check out Week 1 Meal Plan here!


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