The Meal Planner

My name is Kindra. I am an art teacher, a mother, a wife, an artist, aspiring at-home-chef and meal planner. I am constantly scouring the internet, cooking shows, cookbooks and friend's collections for delicious, mouth watering recipes. I write down found recipes and old favorites into a meal plan for the week - that way when dinner rolls around at 5pm I'm not scrounging to defrost some old chicken and throwing something together...or worse; resorting to take out.

My first year of marriage, my husband and I shopped for groceries the way we had always seen our families do it - we went to the store, threw stuff in our cart and came home. When we got home we'd put the groceries away and start to wonder "What's for dinner?" It amazed me that we could spend $150 on groceries and still have "nothing to eat". Just so we didn't have to think too hard, we'd make what we knew how to make - spaghetti, perogies, and stir-fry. Week after week. Or we'd go out for fast food. I loved to cook, but with no direction and no plan, I'd look through recipes, find something that sounded good, but I was always missing ingredients.

One day it dawned on me, that if I shopped for the ingredients in the recipe then I could actually make something new. This slowly evolved into a loose plan of meals for the week, and even with this small change, I was saving us hundreds of dollars on food each month! The more I got into it, the more I LOVED meal planning. My husband loved trying new things week after week, and of course loved that I was saving our family money. I got even more organized and made a personal grocery list. When I went back to work after maternity leave I started to realize I needed to be even more organized to get supper on the table.

Now I've got my meal planning routine down pat - my family eats wholesome, healthy meals together every night, we save TONS of money, and we never get bored with the dinner time routine.

I don't know what I'd do without my meal plans.

This blog can be helpful to you to, by:

1. Learning to meal plan and make your own meal plans

2. Using the meal plans I have posted, since I have already done all the work finding recipes, making a grocery list and testing out recipes

3. Using my meal plans, and subbing out recipes that you don't think your family will like, and putting in your own favorites

4. Finding tips to meal plan more efficiently

5. Finding delicious recipes

I hope you find this blog useful for you and your family.

I do ask that you not steal any of my photos or text. If you would like to use one of my recipes or photos on your own blog please write "Recipe by Meal Planning 101" or "Photo taken by Meal Planning 101" and then provide a working clickable link back to my original post. I work hard on my posts and appreciate the link love.

Thanks for checking things out and I hope you find some useful tips and recipes for your own meal plans.

P.S.  To learn more about me, you can check out Journey's of an Artist Mom

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55 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    You're AWESOME!! This is just what I've been looking for on the 'net! Most sites just have recipes, but don't list what you'll need to buy or they have generic grocery lists and you still have to find recipes. Your blog will TOTALLY help me become a grown-up, lol :)

  2. Good I'm glad. Feel free to let me know if there's anything else I can add that would make the meal plans more helpful.

  3. Kelly Says:

    I have been meal planning for ahile and it does help save cash at the grocery store. I LOVE your recipes and the gourmet meals you make. I hvae jotted down LOTS of your recipes to try over the next few weeks & months. My hubby will be so happy! Yum.

  4. Thanks Kelly! I really appreciate you taking the time to check out this lil ol' blog of mine and that you have found some tasty recipes to try. Let me know how they go :)

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Wow! Amazing blog! I'm a med student and as life gets busier, one of my biggest fears is not being able to make good, nutiritous meals for my fiance. :( But your recipes look amazing; your weekly plans and shopping lists are great and most things look manageable, even for a novice like me!!!

    Making the firecracker shrimp bowties tonight. :)

    And while this doesn't ahve anything to do with the food: I just wanted to add that you are also absolutely gorgeous!!!

  6. Matt Says:

    You've created such a beautiful and helpful blog! Congratulations. We also like to Meal Plan at springpad and will be sure to be regular visitors to your blog!

  7. Katie Says:

    Hey - it's Katie (The Bartz Backyard). I got your comment and I just wanted to apologize...

    I had put links back to your original post...I thought I did it right. I went back and edited that particular post so that none of your recipes are actually on my post - there are just links to that correct? I'm so sorry. I'm new to this blogging thing and I've tried to give credit to everyone I get my recipes from, so thanks for commenting. And, by the way, the recipes are GREAT! Keep 'em coming. :o)

  8. Hi Katie it looks awesome, thanks! I appreciate your willingness to change it. I've been checking out pics of your family and they are beautiful. I'm glad you are all enjoying the recipes :)

  9. cindy Says:

    I have just discovered your blog and am anxious to follow your wonderful meal plans and recipes. Is there a way for me to subscribe to your posts? I can't seem to find a link to do this.
    Thank you!

  10. Thanks Cindy for pointing that out....the way this layout was designed is kinda weird. They put the subscribe button on the very bottom of the layout on a leaf. To correct this I put a subscribe button just under the welcome.

    Thanks for reading!

  11. Jennifer Says:

    I just wanted to tell you, that you have quickly become my favorite food blogger. I have a bookmarked recipe section, and most of the recipes I bookmark come from your page! Thank you! A loyal reader!

  12. Brooke Stromsmoe Says:

    Kindra - I am BEYOND impressed!! And inspired a little, too ..... What a beautiful blog, wonderfully written and photographed. Hope to see you soon. Maybe you wanna make us dinner?

  13. Wow thanks Brooke. We should defs hang out soon...and I would for sure make you dinner. Any requests?

  14. Mandy Says:

    So glad I found your site! I have just started meal planning about three weeks ago and I'm finding myself addicted too. I don't wish to dedicate my entire blog to meal planning but I do want to track what I eat and save the recipes I try for future reference. I'm also looking to save money as I recently went from being a working mom to a stay-at-home mom and still want to "contribute" financially. I look forward to browsing your old recipes and reading new ones to come! -- Mandy

  15. Unknown Says:

    I recently came across your blog, and it is fantastic! I love how you include photos of each recipe you tried out, and I love the variation of different foods each week. You have definitely inspired me to start meal planning! My husband has mentioned a few times that we eat the same meals all the time, so this week I made a meal plan and I can't wait to see how well it works out!

    Thank you :)

  16. Thanks for the encouragement Ashley. I'm so glad that you have been inspired to meal plan and hope you love it. You made my day!

  17. Holly Says:

    Hi Kindra! I, too, just ran across your blog from the $5 Dinner Mom. I used to plan meals week by week when my kids were little (they are 22 and 24 now!) and got away from it. I also like Indian food and Thai food and food food food.

    I also have a vertical labret!

    Anyway, thanks for your blog. It will help me get back to the once-a-week grocery routine.


  18. Holly Says:

    Hi Kindra! I, too, just ran across your blog from the $5 Dinner Mom. I used to plan meals week by week when my kids were little (they are 22 and 24 now!) and got away from it. I also like Indian food and Thai food and food food food.

    I also have a vertical labret!

    Anyway, thanks for your blog. It will help me get back to the once-a-week grocery routine.


  19. Holly - hopefully you are able to get back to meal planning. It helps me make all those delicious ethnic meals week to week :) Thanks for your comment and for checking things out!

  20. Khawaga Says:

    Gosh what a great blog and what a great idea. Good on you, and well done, and I'll df be following some of your ideas! Best wishes.

  21. Khwaga that's so sweet of you, thanks so much.

  22. Maureen Says:

    Hi Kindra

    Just a quick question, I love your ideas. I want to make the slow cooker butter chicken and was wondering if I could double or possibly triple the recipe. I know sometimes you can and others not so successful, or if you know someone that may have.
    Keep up the good work

  23. Hi Maureen,

    I have actually doubled the slow cooker butter chicken recipe before with great success. I can't give you exact measurements, but I know I doubled everything except for the spices. I probably did 1 1/2 times for the spices, just so they wouldn't become overpowered and it worked out well.

    Good luck!


  24. Karin in Saskatoon Says:

    I love your blog! I came across it a couple of weeks back when I was looking for something to put on Salmon burgers (the scallion cream cheese is amazing!). My fiance and I are now following your meal plans and it's working out great! No more "what are having for dinner?!" or having a fridge full of food but nothing that grabs you and says "make me!". So far, everything we've made has been delicious and we're saving money but shopping smart and not eating take-out. Thanks a bunch and keep up the good work!!

  25. Unknown Says:

    I just made your cauliflower soup and cheddar herb biscuits for dinner tonight.. holy crap, so good! My boyfriend devoured everything and I am so looking forward to some leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I'm going to start working my way through the rest of your recipes!

  26. Karen Says:

    So with a 3 year old and a 6 week old daughter, I've decided to get organised. I'm starting my meal planning menu tomorrow and am stupidly excited! You have SO many tasty looking recipes! I will let you know how I get on . . . !

  27. Karen - I hope all has been going well for you so far!

  28. Anonymous Says:

    Kindra -
    What a neat site! Love the "day-planner" layout! Sometimes we forget that Homemaking is a job and requires organization and planning! Found your site by doing a search for "taco bake". Feel like I have stumbled on a real gem!
    God's blessings to you! -Penny

  29. Penny - thank you so much! I hope you find lots great recipes :)

  30. The Old Codger Says:

    I am an 80 year "Old Codger" and have loved Indian food since I served in Malaya some 60 years ago. For the past two weeks I have decided to take over the Slow Cooker meals from my wife. I have managed to cook two acceptable meals in our new slow cooker, but there was always something missing. Hit and miss cooking do not really work so we found out.
    But since finding this site I think things are going to change.
    I must apologize for having downloaded a recipe before reading your conditions, please forgive me, it will not happen again.I am however looking forward to cooking up my first meal from what appears to be a wonderful site.
    I can now add cooking to my poetry writing and family history research to my interests.
    I just need to work my way around this site so that this old codger might pick up a few friends.

    My respects to all.

  31. Ashley Says:

    I just stumbled onto your blog and really look forward to following! My husband and I have been trying to come up with a meal planning process that works for us and I was wondering how you create your templates each week? Do you just continuously update a computer document that links to excel? Or do you type in your lists each week? Can't wait to try out one of your meal plans! Happy Day :)

  32. The Old Codger - Wow I'm impressed! Great job cooking and trying new things. I hope you tried some recipes and liked them. There's no issues with downloading recipes. I just don't want my recipes reprinted and someone trying to pass them off as their own on their own site. I'm curious to hear what you've made!

    Ashely - I've been meaning to write a post for awhile now on how I plan. I just use a sheet of paper and write my meals on it, and then check off the ingredients on a homemade grocery list that I made in Word. The lists that are on this site are made using Google Documents and I make them specifically for this site. My own meal planning method is much more primitive :) Happy planning!

  33. melinda Says:

    I have always struggled with meal planning and I thought I had researched and used about every tool on the internet(none every really worked for us). The other day I literally prayed and asked God to lead me to a resource that I could actually use. This time I did a search through "Ask Jeeves" and your sight is the first that came up. I know it was an answer to prayer. Your recipes are the first I've come across that have the exact combo I'm looking for; a hint of gourmet but also something my kids will eat!

  34. Melinda you seriously made my heart swell up and almost burst when I read your comment. If you have any questions or need any help, just ask!

  35. Travel Heart Says:

    Hello, I came across your site via Pinterest and a mouthwatering photo of Chicken Tikka Masala :) I'm very excited to find this because I just balanced my budget for last month and realized how much I spent on restaurants and eating out - yikes!! Thank you for posting this site! I have some questions about how it all works, but I can't remember what they are right now so I'll probably post again as I get into the process.

    Best Regards,

  36. That's great Jami! For sure, any questions just fire away!

  37. Anonymous Says:

    Hi, I looked for a "contact me" link, but didn't see any. So I'll post it here. Hopefully you're still checking comments (I saw you recently went back to work). I am creating a "family" recipes cookbook, for our family only. It is just a small book of our favorite recipes right now. I wanted to ask your permission to include your Italian Sausage Soup recipe. I will be listing your blog as the source for the recipe. This is not going to be sold. It is actually sort of a memory book for my kids for when they are older. A book of their favorite dishes for them to make for their own kids, hopefully. Anyhow, this soup is one of their favorites and I would love to have your blessing to include it. You can email me directly at kim (at) jedd (dot) com.

    Thank you for the great recipes!


  38. Kim - of course you can, that sounds fantastic! What a wonderful gift for your family :)

  39. Anonymous Says:

    Thank you!!! I also made your hamburger soup last night. Another of our faves. Too bad my cookbook doesn't have room for them all!


  40. Anonymous Says:

    Hi Kindra!
    I just found your blog through Pintrest and am looking forward to trying some of your recipes! My one question is, with your love for Indian food, have you been able to find a good crock-pot dahl recipe? If so, could you post or link to it? Thanks!

  41. Kindra Says:

    Hi Kelly,
    As much as I love Indian food, I really am not a big fan of dal! I've never really had a dal I liked, so never had the need to recreate it. Sorry!

  42. Anonymous Says:

    HI! I have been following your blog for about 6 months now. I just have to tell you, it's the best. I just went through orgjunkie and her 100 or most posters for meal plans. I did not find one that compares to yours. Here's why: You provide the actual recipe with gorgeous photos in each post! I love your site! Just wanted to say thanks!

  43. Anonymous Says:

    Oh, and I love how you re-purpose leftovers to another meal later in the week. Great stuff!

  44. Kindra Says:

    Anonymous - THANK YOU!!! That seriously means so much. I love hearing great feedback like this...what people like/what they don't like. Then I know what to do more of in the future. Thanks for reading!

  45. LMcLaughlin Says:

    I love your blog! It is so helpful to have a printable grocery list by section, plus your meals are fun and different. Is there a place to access the archives? Thanks!

  46. Anonymous Says:

    Just found your blog via Pinterest and so very happy I did - I meal plan but it's for the same 10 or so meals week after week. Very excited to try new meals (with all the work done by you, so good). Thanks - your blog is gorgeous and crazy helpful.

  47. LMcLaughlin - I'm so happy you are enjoying it! Here's a link to all the meal plans:

  48. Dalia Says:

    Your first year of marriage sounds like the first almost 5 years of mine....our 5 year anniversary is this year by the We spend so much on food and just like you said we never have anything to eat and resort to take out way too much. I'm glad I found your site. After browsing a little, it looks like this may help me a ton. I am also in the process of making a menu board like one I found on hopefully put our meal planning strife to an end once and for all! :)

  49. Michelle D. Says:

    Kindra you are an inspiration! I found your blog through pinterest and I I am so happy that I did. Your blog is a wealth of information and so very well written and organized. All your hard work will help me get out of the dinner rut I've been in for far too long. With my picky eater growing up and becoming more adventurous I look forward to this style of cooking. It offers everything I love, planning, organization, saving time and money at the grocery store, great tasting, easy recipes. Now only to work on my "love" of cooking, that's never been high on my list! Between you and the year of crock potting blog I found a while back my family will be vey thankful.

  50. Dalia - I hope you find some stuff that helps you! A cute menu board is definitely a good idea, but make sure it's not too complicated or you'll never use it. Trust me, I'm a totally visual person, but I'm also lazy! Sometimes I'm lured in by how pretty or creative something is, only to drop it a couple weeks later because its too time consuming. My meal planning consists of a sheet of paper :)

    Michelle D. - I'm so happy to inspire you!

  51. Unknown Says:

    Kindra! Where fore are thou? I only just found you and then you disappeared my fellow blogger!

    I LOVE your posts and I'm dying for more!

    Much Admiration!


  52. Lady Brady - Haha, thanks so much for the sweet comments! I just had a baby, but I'm hoping to be back in action here :)

  53. Anonymous Says:

    Hi, Kindra -

    Would you please email me as soon as you get a chance? I'm with a company called Project Mom.

    Thank you!
    Laura Moss

  54. Unknown Says:


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    I recently came across while researching the good sites and would like to discuss the possibility of paying you to display an advertisement on the site.
    We have a large customer base of clients prepared to pay to display discrete adverts, contextually matched to the content of the page on high quality sites like yours, and this can be a great way to generate an income without compromising your website.
    Please email me back if you would be interested in finding out more and I will send you a follow-up email outlining the opportunity in more detail.

    I look forward to hearing from you shortly.

    Best wishes.

  55. Natasha Kay Says:

    I found your blog long before Pinterest (when I fell in love with your Shredded Chicken Flautas!). Thanks for the great recipes. :)