The question for Heart of the Matter is - How Do You Meal Plan?
The way that I cook is so easy. I definitely won't be impressing anybody in the culinary world. My motto is that it needs to be quick and easy, or I won't make it.
I've tried enough recipes over the last 18 years, that I pretty much know what my family will and won't eat. I don't force them to eat things that they don't like, because I won't eat things that I don't like. The kids aren't really picky though. They just have preferences. But I have figured out how to make meals that all 7 of us like.
I like to buy big packages of hamburger and chicken. I cook all the meat and then divide it into small bags and freeze them until I need one for a recipe.
Sometimes I'll cook 2 of one thing (like a casserole) and refrigerate it to have a few days later.
My kids make their own breakfast and lunch. For lunch - they get to choose from foods like burritos, sandwiches, Top Ramen, leftovers, nachos, green salads, fruits and veggie sticks.
I'm teaching the older kids how to cook certain recipes. For example: my son does Tater Tot Casserole and one of my daughters does Chili Enchiladas. The more recipes that I teach them, the more often I won't have to cook. Plus it's educational for them. So, that is the next step in my plan - to teach each of the kids to become masters at making a few meals each.
Here are our favorite recipes for dinner: