I've been posting about saving money in the new year so today I'm going to keep on the topic of meal planning.
Find a time when you have about 20 minutes to sit down with your recipe box or cookbooks. Have a cup of coffee and a piece of fudge and make this a fun time! Look through your recipes and take out 5-10 that you like, are easy to make with things you usually have and are good for you. Make those recipes the basis for your first months meal plan. Try to use recipes that you have ingredients for in your pantry. Yes, spaghetti does count if your family likes it.
Don't try to cook like a gourmet every night! I fell into this trap a few years ago. I had two small children and tried to put on a 4 course meal every night. It almost killed me! Then I realized that I wasn't expected to hit a homerun every night. I needed to put something healthy and that my family liked each night. If your family likes sloppy joes, serve sloppy joes. Just round out the meal with some veggies and you're good to go. If you're house is like my house, you never know how many you're going to be feeding and when sometimes. Cut yourself some slack and work with what you've got.
Tomorrow, I'll start on big-batch cooking and give you an easy recipe that feeds a lot of hungry mouths for very little!