It seemed unlikely that we could live by a meal plan. To my surprise, it is working out wonderfully. In the past I have used pre-packaged meal plans I bought on the internet or made my own from our family's favorite meals. This time we chose cheap, easy-to-cook meals that most of the family enjoys. And-a first-- we have them on a weekly rotation. This means seven dinners. Over and over again.
We fully expect to change these seven dinners with the seasons, so let's call these winter dinners. They rely heavily on the crock pot because I have five kids and we are in the middle of a kitchen renovation. I have two 6-quart crock pots and I use them both almost every day. Crazy, right? Well, keep in mind that I am on a separate diet protocol and am consuming mostly bone broth which I make in a crock pot.
Sunday: Simple Crockpot Chili & Cornbread
prepare for tomorrow: bone broth for soup
Monday: Chicken Noodle Soup
Tuesday: Lasagne & Salad
Wednesday: Potato Leek Soup & Challah
prepare for tomorrow: soak navy beans
Thursday: "Beansy Stuff" (a family favorite)
prepare for tomorrow: soak pinto beans, bone broth for rice
Friday: Refried Beans & Spanish Rice Plates
prepare for tomorrow: feed starter well
Saturday: Rotisserie Chickens & Roasted Vegetables & Sourdough
prepare for tomorrow: soak beans for chili
I have a sign just like that on my wall to remind me what I am cooking and what I need to do to prepare for the next meal. I really, really love this system.
First off, it gives me a definitive list of what to buy to make those seven dinners. There is no more guess work, no more shopping hungry, no more, "What am I going to make for dinner?!" freaking out. When we go shopping I look at the meal schedule and compare it to what we have in the pantry. Then I buy what we need. Revolutionary!
As an added bonus, each meal gives us leftovers that take the guess work out of Karl's lunches and kids' snacks. Because I can't eat most of it, I don't want to have to wring my hands and belabor the process. This methodical approach really helps me stick to GAPS.
You might think it is too rigid. I agree, it lacks soul. I like being spontaneous in the kitchen. But if your kitchen was half torn up, and you were feeding 6 other beings food you yourself don't eat, you might see the benefit. Besides, there are ample opportunities for soul and variety during the day. Breakfasts at our house are not planned. During the week this means boiled eggs or oatmeal, but Friday- Sunday they are pancakes, scones, biscuits and more. The kids love making breakfast and that's an area where we let loose and have fun.
This meal plan also incorporates nutritious homemade egg noodles, challah, sourdough, and bone broth. We don't want to cut so many corners that we compromise on quality. I have found that I have time for these things, probably because I'm not freaking out over what to cook for dinner or cleaning out my fridge twice a week of wasted food I thought we might eat. I am a very happy camper.
We were also able to schedule vegetarian meals for our fasting days (Wednesday and Friday). This may not mean we adults keep the fast perfectly- I know I don't- but it's something.
I have 'recipes' for all these meals and hope to share them here as I am able.
Have you ever used a meal plan? How did it work out for your family?