5 dinners and a grocery list

April 16, 2012

If you’re anything like me, most weekends you sit down to plan out your grocery shopping trip with great intentions. You grab your cup of coffee after breakfast on Saturday, sit down with grocery store sale flyers, coupon books, and bust out a list of five or six meals to make during the next week in a matter of a half hour.

Okay, you caught me — that’s not how it goes around here. I sit down with my cup of coffee sometimes. Typically though I wake up too late on Saturday to even plan a grocery list in time to make it to my favorite 8:15 vinyasa yoga class. Then instead of having a plan, I go to the store and buy what I “think” we need — which could go one of two ways. I either buy far too much or not enough.

Did I mention I come home having no idea what I’m actually going to make throughout the week? Uh, yeah that’s a problem.

When we first got married, I was SO good at meal planning, but these days I’m having a hard time doing just that. I don’t mind not having a plan though — I was finding not having a plan was allowing me to be more creative in the kitchen on days where I had more time to make dinner. On those days where dinner had to be put together in a rush, however, things were not looking so great. I’m sure the Husband never wants to see a grilled sandwich again in his lifetime.

Lately I’ve been noticing some other bloggers who show some sort of meal plan for the week, and I love the concept. Maryea has a series called How Dinner Went Down, where she highlights what her family ate the week previously. Tina provides a dinner plan for each week along with a shopping list that goes along with the meals. I also had some requests to do something like this a while ago, and I thought there’s not time like the present, right? Right.

I had the best of intentions to do this a few weeks ago, so these meals were actually what we ate the first week of April, but I guess that doesn’t make a difference to you. There is still time to save your dinners this week folks!

All you have to do is click on “Print This!” and you’ll have an easy list to go grocery shopping for this week or next — or whenever you’re a little too busy to plan out exactly what you want to eat for the week ahead.

Obviously this is a loose list and it’s based off of 1-2 people. You can adjust for the needs of your family for the week.

One thing I always do is make enough for leftovers the next day at lunch time. After I eat dinner, I pack up my lunch for the next day and I’m good to go! It’s quite a nice little strategy I’ve got going on over here.

If you all enjoy this, I’ll be more than happy to make it a more regular occurrence — so please give me some feedback on whether or not you like this type of thing!

{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

Lauren April 16, 2012 at 6:08 am

I definitely try to plan out a general meal plan but lately, it’s been going array with busy weeknight schedules. So long as I have an overall idea and things on hand, I’m good.

I of course would love to see more of these. You give me some great ideas of veggie based dinners! :)

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Melissa Imbrogno April 16, 2012 at 6:09 am

I like this!!

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Tina @ Best Body Fitness April 16, 2012 at 6:11 am

I loathe meal planning. LOATHE! I have started inputting our meals into Google calendar and repeating them every 4 weeks or so. It helps so much because then I don’t have to plan every week and can have a general idea to follow and sub things out as needed or jsut not have to think and go with what it has for the week.

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Katy Brooks April 16, 2012 at 7:23 am

that’s a REALLY good idea. going to try that!!

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cleaneatingchelsey April 17, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Genius.

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char eats GREENS April 16, 2012 at 6:12 am

I was planning for a while there…and then life got in the way haha. I enjoyed myself much more when I was planning meals though. Now I feel like we NEVER have any food or leftovers to just grab. The husband should clue in that it’s his turn to start making meals ;)

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Khushboo April 16, 2012 at 6:15 am

Wow everything looks fantastic Chelsey! Although I don’t meal plan strictly, I tend to jot down a few meal ideas on Sunday evening…obviously they’re subject to change depending on the cravings! As for my grocery list, eggs are always on it!

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cleaneatingchelsey April 17, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Eggs are always on mine too – remember this is for dinners only!

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Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles April 16, 2012 at 6:16 am

I looked through recipes for a solid two hours yesterday trying to make a list of things I need to learn to make before August so it’s not an extra stressor on my life- I need to expand my ‘go-to’ meals a TON! ….. Your post came up at the perfect time! HAPPY MONDAY!

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cleaneatingchelsey April 17, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Yes, you do not need any more stress!!!

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Linz @ Itz Linz April 16, 2012 at 6:38 am

Wow when you put it like this it doesn’t look like you buy that much food! Yikes maybe I need to try this?? I def take leftovers for lunch… so easy!!

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cleaneatingchelsey April 17, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Remember this is only for dinner/some lunches – my list is usually much longer with other produce and breakfast foods!

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Kristen @ notsodomesticated April 16, 2012 at 6:40 am

Love this! I try to meal plan, but something always happens to scramble up my meal planning one way or another! But I love your ideas for dinners … especially the one with the copycat Chipotle rice! My husband would love that one!

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Brittany (Delights and Delectables) April 16, 2012 at 7:12 am

I love this! I’m a terrible meal planner. Mostly because I can never make up my mind and my sweet hubby doesn’t care what I put in front of him. He will happily eat whatever! You are inspiring me to plan!

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cleaneatingchelsey April 17, 2012 at 7:50 pm

haha my husband cares a liiiitle bit – he doesn’t want any tofu touching his plate!

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Holly April 16, 2012 at 7:16 am

I love meal planning! We’ve gotten to the point where we make maybe 2-3 new dishes each week, we have 1 or 2 “favorites” and then we just DIY for the remaining evenings of the week. I like cooking extras of the meals so that I can take them for lunch (or dinner at work) the next day! I still have to write down a list, but I know what “basics” we need for the week, and then we just add in whatever “extras” we might need for the new recipes!

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cleaneatingchelsey April 17, 2012 at 7:50 pm

That’s a great idea!

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Colleen @ The Lunchbox Diaries April 16, 2012 at 7:16 am

I like this type of thing.

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cleaneatingchelsey April 17, 2012 at 7:51 pm
Faith @ For the Health of It April 16, 2012 at 7:29 am

Why is it so oddly fascinating to read other people’s grocery lists and dinner plans? I love it! And that white bean pasta really needs to make it over to my own dinner plan sometime!

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cleaneatingchelsey April 17, 2012 at 7:51 pm

I don’t know – we’re all so nosy apparently! :)

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Tiff April 16, 2012 at 7:36 am

Love this post idea! I am a bit OCD about my store list. It takes me about an hour to make, and I write it down in the order I come to things in the store. It makes shopping (and meal planning) sooooo much easier!

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Leah April 16, 2012 at 2:23 pm

you are not alone…i do this too :-) it always involves me rewriting my list, but makes life soooo much easier

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Leah @ Chocolate and Wild Air April 16, 2012 at 7:43 am

Neat idea – love a good meal plan!!

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Katie @ Peace Love and Oats April 16, 2012 at 7:54 am

I love this! I really need to work on meal planning so I don’t end up just snacking through dinner!

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raechel @the rebel grrl kitchen April 16, 2012 at 8:12 am

Great post, Chels! I always have the best of intentions for grocery shopping/meal planning, but it ends up the same way that you describe–too much or not enough! Thanks for the help! : )

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Aine @ Something to Chew Over April 16, 2012 at 8:19 am

I really like this! I’m pretty organised with meal planning but I often lack inspiration when it comes to dinner and usually fall back on the ol’ reliables. This is great for inspiration! :)

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Bee Goes Bananas April 16, 2012 at 8:25 am

Those dinners look incredible! I really need to start planning dinners ahead of time and shopping accordingly.

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Leanne April 16, 2012 at 8:43 am

Love it! :)

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Christina April 16, 2012 at 9:17 am

It’s great to see how others plan for the week, and steal some of their yummy dinner ideas along the way. I may or may not be doing that with your Mexican Rice Bowls and Veggie, Kale & White Bean Pasta. :)
New feature approval from this gal.

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Kristin @ STUFT Mama April 16, 2012 at 9:28 am

I used to plan out EVERY meal each week. Since I had the boys I haven’t planned much of anything. I really need to get back on track. Not only will my meals be better, but I think my bank account will thank me. I would like you to come over and drink coffee and help me. Are you in? :)

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cleaneatingchelsey April 17, 2012 at 7:52 pm

In. Will you pay for my plane ticket?

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Gina @ Running to the Kitchen April 16, 2012 at 9:35 am

I need to start planning like this at least 50% of the time. I operate under the “I work from home so I can just plan during the day” approach and that just leaves me starring deep into the fridge most nights around 7pm at a loss.

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cleaneatingchelsey April 17, 2012 at 7:52 pm

ha! I definitely do that in the summer!

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Kelly April 16, 2012 at 9:39 am

Yes.. keep doing these posts. But better yet, can you just do my grocery shopping for me. Thanks!

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cleaneatingchelsey April 17, 2012 at 7:52 pm

I would love to. WIll you feed me after?

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Averie @ Averie Cooks April 16, 2012 at 10:01 am

Love seeing what a typical week looks like and that grilled tofu is calling my name!

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Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather April 16, 2012 at 10:17 am

Love this idea!! Usually I’m pretty good about meal planning and making a list, cause I don’t want to spend too much at the grocery store. Totally bookmarking this for when I don’t want to use my brain though!

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Katie April 16, 2012 at 10:40 am

That looks like a fantastic line up for the week! I like your version of the portobello pesto paninis. Also, that chipotle bowl is on my list this week…mmm yes.

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cleaneatingchelsey April 17, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Um that sandwich made my life. Seriously.

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Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life) April 16, 2012 at 11:02 am

I get my kicks out of meal planning, so I love writing the meal plan and generating the list. I hate throwing any food away and planning helps me ensure I only buy what we eat. Of course, this week I’m onto a whole different challenge with meal planning on a budget. I’m already learning a lot!

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cleaneatingchelsey April 17, 2012 at 7:53 pm

You’re doing a great job too!

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Danica @ It's Progression Not Perfection April 16, 2012 at 11:03 am

I recently started to not only meal plan for the week but also post the menu on a board we have in the kitchen. This way I remember the meals we have supplies for and the boy knows which meals will be made for dinner for the week : )

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cleaneatingchelsey April 17, 2012 at 7:53 pm

How cute – I love it!

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Andrea @ Vegvacious April 16, 2012 at 11:12 am

I love these types of posts! We only have to meal plan for 2 so your menus would work perfectly for my house. I want to meal plan, but I don’t and I buy way too much and spend so much money each week on groceries – it’s ridiculous and I need to get some some self-control! I think pre-planning would definitely help me :)

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Emily @ Glitz Glam Granola April 16, 2012 at 11:39 am

I’m the worst with meal plans aka I don’t do them. I really enjoy grocery shopping so I enjoy walking down the aisles and grabbing what sounds good. This works most of the time except for when I want to make a specific recipe and don’t have the necessary ingredients and consequently have to make a special trip to obtain them. But I like seeing how various groceries work in so many meals like this! And that it’s printable!

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Kim Lee April 16, 2012 at 11:42 am

Will definitely give this a try! Thanks so much for posting and I would love to see more meal plans in the future.

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Anna @ The Guiltless Life April 16, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Yum, these are some great ideas! Thanks girl! I might steal some ;)

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cleaneatingchelsey April 17, 2012 at 7:53 pm

steal ahead! that’s the point!

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Carrie @ Lift Eat Repeat April 16, 2012 at 1:08 pm

I used to plan out meals too when we were first married. Now our schedules are different and we eat dinner at different times of the night so I just go with the flow!

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Amber K April 16, 2012 at 1:42 pm

I love meal plans! I also love how flexible they can be. Don’t feel like a meal one day, just switch it around!

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Lisa April 16, 2012 at 2:16 pm

I definitely enjoy reading this! Especially because I hate meal planning! I’m always worried that the meal I have planned out won’t satisfy me that day and I will no longer want it…I guess that’s a lame worry though!

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Leah April 16, 2012 at 2:20 pm

I MUST meal plan…or it is a crazy scramble to figure out dinner. I really got commited to it after my 2nd was born, but ‘planned’ more like you previously. Definitely would love to see you keep this up…we are dairy-free, mostly vegan, and i am working on moving to gluten-free, the plans would be super helpful :-)

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Talia @ Bite Size Wellness April 16, 2012 at 2:28 pm

The panini looks yummy!
I feel like my meal planning lately has been hit or miss, but luckily the cooker in me can muster up a couple of ideas while in the store. The worst part about going list-less though is how much longer I feel like it takes me…the thinking AND the grabbing! :) I am a huge fan of making extras just for leftovers though!

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Allison (Allison's Delicious Life) April 16, 2012 at 3:23 pm

I loooove this and I really want it to become a regular occurence!

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cleaneatingchelsey April 17, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Your wish is my command!

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Heather @ For the Love of Kale April 16, 2012 at 4:15 pm

I’m a sucker for planning anything so, to be honest, meal planning is a favorite thing of mine to do That being said, all of those meals look DIVINE! Can we make this a table for 3 meal plan? ;-)

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cleaneatingchelsey April 17, 2012 at 7:54 pm

sure – come on over! ;)

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Alyssa @ Fit and Fun in Third April 16, 2012 at 4:23 pm

This is GREAT! Thanks for making it so easy to “copy” your meals! :)

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Shana April 16, 2012 at 5:04 pm

I love meal planning and grocery shopping (I would make a career of it if I could). These meals all look so good!

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kathleen @ the daily crumb April 16, 2012 at 5:17 pm

i am so terrible at meal planning which leads to not only spending too much at the grocery store on things i “think” we “need”, but also eating out. a lot! love this meal plan.

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin April 16, 2012 at 5:26 pm

I almost never meal plan, which is something I really need to change! Because like you said, I always end up buying too much. Case in point: I pretty much have the entire produce section from the grocery store in my fridge right now. :P

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Maggie April 16, 2012 at 7:38 pm

This is really helpful Chelsey! I love meal planning and grocery shopping so seeing other people’s meals and lists is always fun :D

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jenna k April 16, 2012 at 7:46 pm

i adore these kinds of posts. going to the grocery store is a super-calming activity to me :)

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Meg April 16, 2012 at 8:33 pm

this is awesome, hun! :D What a great idea!

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Allison@commitcomplete April 16, 2012 at 9:23 pm

I love this post. Recipes, pictures, and shopping lists all in one. Thanks for taking the guesswork out of meal planning for the rest of us.

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Tara April 17, 2012 at 7:47 am

Planning meals ahead always helps to save me time and money at the grocery store, but there are always those random items that somehow end up in the cart anyways :)

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