As I completed previous rounds of the Whole30, one of the things that made it successful was weekly meal planning. Knowing specific meals and plans for the week ensured that “Oh, I’ll pick up something or order in” wasn’t on the radar when it came time for dinner. As 2015 was drawing to a close and I was starting to think of my one word for 2016 and things I wanted to accomplish in the new year, I made the mental note to incorporate meal planning into my routine.

Writing out the meal plan for the week ahead...

Writing out the meal plan for the week ahead…

On Christmas morning, as we opened our stockings before breakfast I was thrilled to see a fun “weekly sticky notepad” included in the goodies. Then & there I decided that notepad would become my weekly meal plan.

As the new year started, Rebecca partnered with me to plan the weeks using the Trim Healthy Mama (aka THM) plan. (Side bar…I think the program/method name is horrible & I cringe when I say it) As we figured out the first week, the first note was populated and then posted on the glass door of my china cabinet in the kitchen for easy access.

A few of the tasty results of my meal planning, so far...

A few of the tasty results of my meal planning, so far…

Among the tasty things on the menu plans so far this month:

Roasted Green Beans – A quick “invention” early in the month. Fresh green beans are tossed with olive oil, salt & pepper & then roasted at 425 for about 10 minutes. A sprinkling of Parmesan cheese is optional. These are cooked and yet still crisp – so they are great for eating with my fingers (a la french fries). Homemade garlic basil aioli is a great sauce with them. Leftovers (if there are any) are great chopped & added to a salad.

A tasty and satisfying Shepherd’s Pie with mashed cauliflower to top it. Excellent to pack for lunch.

Egg Cups – A great reason to use my fun new muffin cups – I put some crumbled bacon & shredded cheese in the bottom of each before filling with well beaten eggs. A quick 20 minute bake and I’ve got breakfast for the week.

A pretty simple and oh so tasty sweet treat this week is a batch of Black Raspberry Cheese Danishes using this recipe.

From the THM Cookbook, all sorts of fun discoveries so far: Egg Roll in a Bowl, Chicken Jalapeno Popper Soup, Chia Pudding and assorted smoothies and sippers.

As I look at the blank sheets of this simple notepad, I look forward to seeing what fun recipe discoveries will be in the my plans.

What is your meal plan approach? What kitchen goals do you have for this new year?