Sunday, September 15, 2013

Meal planner... Working Mom Shortcuts!

If you didn't know, I am a working mom (9 1/2 months out of the year). As any working mom knows, you need to have your tricks to get everything done. Here is the first post in a "Working Mom Shortcuts" series!!

I love Google. Did you know? If not, I'll scream it from the roof tops! I LOVE GOOGLE! We use shared calendars for everything! They have helped drastically coordinate events.

The purple events are the meal planner. As you see, I don't cook something new every night. We used to do that but I am not capable of cooking in small quantities so we wasted a lot of food. Now, I cook three meals a week. We eat 90% organic and don't eat anything processed.. so I cook! We do left overs and must-go nights (everything must go) and I have quick meals like salads or a breakfast for dinner that I can always throw in in a pinch. But actually, three meals usually makes it all week! Since the meal planner is right in the family calendar I strategically place meals depending on what I have after school. I also plan two weeks at a time. One time saver I have found (among many more- a different blog post some day!) is to strategically plan meals. For instance, this week I picked two meals that needed chicken cut into 1-2inch pieces. So, tonight, I cut up chicken for both meals. So, that meal in the middle of the week is already started for when I get home from work.

I also may brown ground beef the night before when making or cleaning up a night's dinner. This saves time for the next night. Notifications from the calendar to defrost meat or brown meat are wonderful!

After the meal planning comes the shopping lists then coupons. I have pre-created lists for three stores- Woodman's, Target, and Trader Joe's. They are all on one sheet and live on the fridge. They have all the items I may need to get when at the store or that we get on a regular basis. I either do a circle or a cross off technique. I try to only shop at Woodman's every other week and get enough for all 14 days. On the off week, I will hit one of the other stores. (Cecelia has dance on Saturdays right down the road from a Trader Joe's and Target!). Target, because there is always something to get at Target and they have grocery so if for some reason we fell short on milk or Woodman's fruit didn't look like it would make it two weeks, I can quick pick something up there. Trader Joe's is my pantry stock up store. Their organic is the cheapest around. Maybe after my freezer/canning stockpile grows, I will only have to hit Woody's every three weeks!

Here was today's Woody's list with enough for two weeks of breakfasts, dinners, my lunches, jason's lunches and Cecelia's lunches. Curious minds want to know... we buy all (90%) organic and nothing processed (my allergies don't like processed food).. I spent $240 for two weeks. I'm impressed! I used to spend that much for just one week and I'd be back there 7 days later!

Here is a link to my copy if you want to steal!

After everything is home and in the fridge, Jason and I make our lunches for the week. This week I am having green pepper frittatas and tomatoes and Jason is having blackened chicken wheat tortilla wraps!

Below is the reason why I love Google. Here is my calendar appointment for tomorrow. When I get home from work (I hate Mondays!!) I'll quick click my calendar. I purposely put the link for the recipe in the description when I create the event when I meal plan so now all I have to do is click on it and my recipe opens. I already have the chicken cut up so I'm ready to rock! I have such limited time with the kids from pickup time to bed time that I hate to kill a whole hour cooking dinner... operation, 'Get it Done' will commence!

Working mom trick #1. Not too shabby!!
 If you are curious what meals we are making around these parts, my Dinner's Done Pinterest board has been my inspiration lately! Pin away!

Older Working Mom posts below!

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