Real Life and a New Weekly Meal Plan – May 27


Happy Memorial Day!

I shared this photo on Instagram and Facebook the other day.  This is how the Weekly Meal Plan grocery lists look now that they’re color coded.  Happy!

I didn’t shop until Monday, because I was in Disney World for a conference last weekend.  I printed the Slow Cooker plan for this week.

And then, I never used a slow cooker during the week at all!  I find that I do a lot of improvising and changing things with the meal plans.  But it is so much easier to do that when I’ve shopped with a list and have a plan of what to fix.

Here’s how I made it work this week:

Monday was shopping day.  By the time I got home with the groceries, it was too late to make anything in the slow cooker.  The plan had  “Pork with Chinese Sauce, stir fry veggies and rice” for one night.  I decided to use chicken tenders instead of pork and cook it on top of the stove in a skillet instead of the slow cooker.  Quick and easy.

It was a beautiful evening for backyard games.


On Tuesday, I meant to put Slow Cooker Meatballs on to cook in the morning, but forgot all about it.  I decided to bake the meatballs in the oven instead.  Dinner was spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread and salad.

Tuesday afternoon, I took Meredith wedding dress shopping.  We were really just scouting things out until she gets back from her summer in China.  She wanted to get an idea of what’s out there for dresses, but she ended up finding a dress she liked.  It needs significant alterations, so those will be done when she gets home in August.

Wednesday, I failed to load up the crockpot again.  I’m the most distracted person ever!  I got busy working on other things and looked up at 5pm and realized the boys would be leaving soon for youth group.  They leave at the same time every week, and every week it takes me by surprise.  I was going to make one of our favorite 15 minute meals, but it has no meat and the boys balked at that.  So I fixed Southwest Chicken and rice instead.  Not on the plan, but I had all the ingredients and it was a quick fix.

Thursday, I planned to load up the slow cooker with ingredients for African Pulled Beef Sandwiches.  I forgot.  Again!  Instead, I made a quick dinner of Tony’s Tilapia, cauliflower and cream cheese smashed potatoes.

I was a bit frustrated over an issue with one of the kids while I was make dinner.  I might have gotten carried away with the Cajun seasoning in the heat of the moment.  The fish was a little spicy!

It’s now Friday (I’m writing this post a few days early), and we’ve got plans to eat out with friends.  The kids are staying home and having hot dogs, while the adults go out.  Oh the joys of having older kids!

Sometime over the weekend, I’m determined to fix some of the other slow cooker meals on the menu this week.  Saturday will be a perfect day for the African Pulled Beef Sandwiches.  Jim is planning to ride in a long bike ride and he’ll be hungry afterward.  And I’ve got several recipes to create and photograph for a client, so a slow cooker meal will come in handy.

I’d love to know how you improvise your meal plans.  Leave me a comment and let me know how it works (or maybe, doesn’t work!) for you.

Here’s a sneak peek at this week’s meal plans.  You can find out more about how to get them delivered to your inbox by clicking here.

All Slow Cooker Plan

Italian Seasoned Salt Chicken in the Slow Cooker
Complete Barbecue Chicken Dinner in the Slow Cooker
Slow Cooker Meatballs and Spaghetti Sauce,
Easy Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
Pork w/ Chinese Sauce (stir fry, sweet and sour, general tso’s, etc.)
African Pulled Beef Sandwiches in the Slow Cooker with Yogurt-Mint Sauce
Easy Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream Cake

Traditional Plan

Complete Barbecue Chicken Dinner in the Slow Cooker
Breakfast for dinner! Scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, biscuits, bacon/sausage, and fruit
Orange chicken 
Chicago Style Pizza Pot Pie 
Red Sauce DiPaola 
Sloppy Cubanos 
Easy Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream Cake

The Secret of an Organized Kitchen and Meal Planning

Give me 5 minutes and I’ll tell you the secret to having a perfectly organized kitchen and functioning meal plan.

Actually, I don’t even need 5 minutes to tell you this secret.

The secret is that….

There is no secret.

There’s no one fix that will solve your messy container cabinet problem or disorganized pantry.

There’s not a magic solution to getting dinner on the table every night.

There’s not a new technique that will cause things to be permanently organized, once and for all. Oh, how I wish there was!


There are a few tips and resources that will help you wrestle chaos into some semblance of organization.

First, you have to come to terms with the fact that this is an ongoing process.  You organize it now, but it isn’t going to stay that way forever.  Things change.  Routines change.  The needs of your family will change.

All of that has an impact on how your kitchen and meal plans function.

That said, I do have some helpful ideas for you.  Just remember to take what will work, and leave the rest.  Choose a solution that will work for your family right now.

Menu Planning

If you like to do your own menu planning, but you’d like some tips on the process I have a fantastic ebook to recommend.

Crystal from Crystal & Co. has a sale on her popular How to Meal Plan ebook right now.  Use the code mealplan2013 to get it for the sale price.

If you’d rather not do your own meal planning (or you’d like a break from it occasionally), check out my new Weekly Menu Plan Service.

At just $4 per month, it’s affordable and a huge time saver when it comes to deciding dinner.  You’ll get 2 menu plans by email each week – a Traditional Menu and an All Slow Cooker Menu.

Kitchen Organizing

Kitchens can get very cluttered with unused appliances and utensils or worn out plastic storage containers.  My friend, Dana from A Slob Comes Clean has a new ebook out about decluttering (not just for kitchens).

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the amount of clutter in your house, her book is for you.   You can get Dana’s ebook for just $4 right now.  Dana also has another ebook called  28 Days to Hope for Your Home (Not for the Mildly Disorganized).  You can get the 2 book set for just $6 through January.

And because we can always use a few tips to spur us on, here are a couple of posts I’ve written on the subject of cleaning and organizing in the kitchen:

10 Kitchen Cleaning Tips

A Quick Fix for Wire Pantry Shelves

How I organize my spices

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