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Meal Plan: Week 1Eating is easy and cooking isn’t terribly hard, but planning, on the other hand, is difficult. If we all lived in this tiny little box where we weren’t busy, the weather was perfect, and we were always super motivated to cook, dinner time would be easy. But we don’t live like that. Life is messy. We are busy in the evenings, it gets hot in the house, and there are too many times when I, and I’m sure you, just don’t feel like cooking. I can almost see you nodding your head in agreement. So what do we do? We run through a drive through somewhere or get delivery and eat junk food. Eating out is easy, but not only is it terrible for our waistlines, it costs us more money than if we had just gone to the grocery store and followed a plan. Living in the country has forced me to plan better. Pizza Hut doesn’t deliver to the boonies; just in case you were ever wondering. Unfortunately though, even when I plan, life has a way of getting messy. I try to think of every scenario of what our week will look like, but my plan doesn’t always stick. We are pretty spontaneous here at the Gray household and sometimes we find ourselves away from the house at dinner time. We just plan and try to follow it the best that we can, but if it doesn’t work out the way I want it to, I try not to stress about it. Just a Few Tips I always make sure we have plenty of food in the house. I’ve got way too many mouths to feed that are always hungry. Did you know that 3-year-olds eat about 350,000 times a day!? Well, they do. Every. Single. Day. And honestly, even when I do have a plan, it doesn’t always work out. So I know if there is plenty of food available than I can definitely whip something up. Also, I have gone through my stash of recipes and I know what I can make in a pinch. These recipes are reserved for nights where I know we will be busy. If I’m especially motivated I will prep what I can a few days ahead of time, making busy nights a little easier. Anything you can do ahead of time saves time when you need it. Some nights I just throw down a deli tray with fresh fruit and let the kids make their own cracker, meat, and cheese combos. That is one of the easiest things you could possibly do. The kids love it and it’s easy-no cooking at all! I save all my new recipes for when I have extra time on my hands. Too many times I would try and make a new recipe and it would take me way longer than what the recipe called for. Thirty minutes would end up taking me an hour by the time I’ve read the instructions, measured everything and so on. Now I only add a new recipe once or month or so. Cook according to the weather. Who wants to turn on the oven when it’s 90 degrees out? Not me. In the summer we eat a ton of salads and crock pot meals. We also BBQ when Daniel is home and has time. I am not great at BBQing so we leave that up to him. It’s nice to take a night off of cooking and let the man run things. Keep your soups and meals that require the oven for mostly cooler nights. It won’t always work out that you can keep the oven off, but if you can, try! I also plan around sales ads. This is by far the best way to save money and eat what is in season. Most sales ads come out on Wednesdays and I usually try to shop on Friday, so my meal plans are usually for Saturday to the next Saturday or Sunday. I try to give myself a bit of a grace period in case I don’t make it to the store on a certain day. Now For the Plan Some recipes, if there is a link, I will link it to the original creator and add their website name in parenthesis. These recipes are taken with the Aldi and Dillons sales ad in mind. Those are the two stores I mainly shop at. Also, almost all of these can be cooked without turning on the oven, with the exception of homemade pizza. Although you could totally have fire grilled pizza and cook it on the BBQ grill! Most will only need cooked in a skillet or crockpot. Saturday: 3-Ingredient Crockpot Chicken Tacos (Chocolate Therapy) + Corn + Mexican Rice Sunday: Spaghetti + Side Salad Monday: Taco Salad + Watermelon Tuesday: Easy Curry Beef Bowls (Paleo + Whole 30) (Real Simple Good) Wednesday: Slow Cooker Barbacoa Recipe (No. 2 Pencil) Thursday: Waffles + Bacon + Eggs + Blueberries + Strawberries Friday: Homemade Pizza + Strawberries Saturday: Chicken Salads   I hope this helps you get through your week a little easier! Like this meal plan? Don’t forget to share the love and pass on to your friends!