in the kitchen · travel

Monthly Meal Plan

Real Food in Costa Rica from Go Gingham
Lunch on the beach. Am I the luckiest blogger ever?

Remember how we went to Costa Rica last month? Well, we ate every meal out – meaning no one in our family cooked or cleaned up for an entire week. It felt weird but it was such a treat not to plan, shop or clean up after a meal. I did miss cooking, however! All the gorgeous food – fruits and vegetables were calling me but that will have to be another trip – and one with a kitchen.

Real Food in Costa Rica from Go Gingham
Every meal was incredible! We had a hard time deciding which meal was the best.

The last time I went a week without planning/cooking/cleaning up was in February 1996. The company I worked for at the time (Polo/Ralph Lauren) launched a new fragrance (Polo Sport) and the fragrance division had a contest and I “won.” Well, I had to work for it but the “prize” was a week at Club Med. Brad and I went to Moorea (near Tahiti)  because I wanted to water ski and that location had water skiing. We ate every meal at the resort.

Real Food in Costa Rica from Go Gingham
Lunch was served on the beach here. I napped in those loungers after we ate. Brad, caught mid-bite!

Back to reality…

Monthly Meal Plan

Meal planning saves money, minimizes food waste, and ensures healthy, home cooked meals for the upcoming week. Meal planning is my frame work or agenda of what home cooked meals we’re going to have for the upcoming week. It only takes about 10 minutes to meal plan and involves a quick view of the week ahead and checking to see what staples I already have at home in the refrigerator, in the pantry, and the freezer. Once the meal plan is made, then I make a grocery list of what items are needed.

With weekly meal planning, there’s an efficient plan of cooking for the week, I know what nights we’re having leftovers and I can keep track of what nights my kids are scheduled to cookand clean up! By eating at home, we’re able to avoid unhealthy, processed foods. If we have a plan, we eat healthier at home – skipping meals at restaurants and the fast food drive through.

Weekly meal plan from Monday, November 4, 2013 to Sunday, November 10, 2013

Monday: meat loaf (leftovers) sandwiches and sauteed greens

Tuesday: oven roasted whole chicken, quinoa and vegetables

Wednesday: leftovers from the night before – just mixed together in a pot and served warm!

Thursday: whole wheat pasta with herbs (frozen basil from this past summer) and green salad

Friday: Mexican pulled pork (freezer) and pinto beans (freezer) and brown rice

Saturday: steaks, roasted potatoes and green salad (my daughter made dinner this night)

Sunday: whole wheat pasta with garlic sauce and green salad (my son made dinner this night)

Weekly meal plan from Monday, November 11, 2013 to Sunday, November 17, 2013

Monday: vegetarian pizza with artichokes, mushroom and onions

Tuesday: pan seared fish, brown rice and green peas

Wednesday: egg, homemade pork sausage (just mix spices with ground pork) , and cheese on English muffin (think fast food sandwich made at home!) with spinach salad

Thursday: vegetarian chili and corn bread

Friday: vegetarian chili and corn bread (leftovers)

Saturday: pork chops and oven roasted root vegetables (my daughter made dinner this night)

Sunday: steamed clams with whole wheat pasta and green salad (my son made dinner this night)

Weekly meal plan from Monday, November 18, 2013 to Sunday, November 24, 2013

Monday: oven roasted root vegetables (leftovers) bacon and green salad

Tuesday: whole wheat pasta with mushrooms, onions and garlic

Wednesday: baby shrimp, sauteed greens and brown rice

Thursday: Costa Rica –

Friday: Costa Rica –

Saturday: Costa Rica –

Sunday: Costa Rica –

Weekly meal plan from Monday, November 25, 2013 to Sunday, December 1, 2013

Monday: Costa Rica –

Tuesday: Costa Rica –

Wednesday: Costa Rica –

Thursday: vegetarian chili (from the freezer!)

Friday: Thanksgiving dinner (because we got home late Wednesday, we took Thursday off and celebrated today)

Saturday: (leftovers) pasta with sauteed zucchini and apple pie for dessert (this was my son’s birthday meal celebration!)

Sunday: pasta and green salad Thanksgiving leftovers

When’s the last time you went a week without having to cook or clean up?

Go Gingham related links:

11 reasons to meal plan every week – save money, save time and reduce food waste
How our freezer gets used – what I keep in our freezer and how I utilize the space
Grocery shopping soon? Plastic grocery bag alternatives
Why I love to home swap – it’s free and you get a kitchen while you’re traveling!