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I think I found my meal planning solution.
Many people do themes to help with meal planning - Monday might be 'Meatless Monday' or Friday might be pizza, or Wednesday might be Italian. I used to do that, but it takes a lot of time and creativity for me to match those themes each week.
However, I did find a different way to use themes that is incredibly helpful. I use 'main meat' themes.For instance, this week is ham. Last night I made a spiral cut ham with sweet potatoes and salad (YUM!). Now I have a ham bone to use in Wednesday's beans and cornbread. Cooking beans in a crock-pot with a ham bone is delicious! Finally, I'll have some ham to use in Friday's pasta salad with ham. For the other days, I'll fill in with pasta, breakfast for dinner, or something else simple.
The great news is, I also have enough ham left over for at least two more weeks of ham theme dishes. If you prefer, you can plan four meat-related meals per week instead of three - I just know that my and Rick's schedule is unpredictable, and didn't want to over-plan.
This is a very economical way to plan meals. Meat is very expensive, and buying one large piece and spreading it over a whole week (or more!) is a great way to have awesome food while not breaking the bank - or your brain. :-)
How do you plan meals? Do you have an easy solution?