cooking meals at home seems to be rather uncommon these days. i myself was not inclined to cook nor would i have considered myself a “foodie” until after i met ryan. the day we were introduced, we chatted about how many great places there were to eat in our town; the following week, the dating + dining out began. it was so fun having someone to go around with, finding new restaurants + trying new foods! once we were married, we sat down to look at planning a budget for our combined two humble salaries + then again drawing the purse strings a little tighter when we made the daring decision for me to stay home with our first child. we realized we would get more out of home-cooking, but it would be still a few more years + welcoming another baby to our crew until we fully embraced making meals ourselves.

looking back it seems crazy, naive, foolish even. what did we eat? why/how did we not cook?! we attended a participatory gourmet cooking class complete with take home recipes, read countless articles, searched everywhere for tips + tricks, then printed out more meal planning tools than i’d like to admit! eventually this had to stick, right??

fast forward seven years later + we’ve learned, that similar to establishing a weekly cleaning routine, when applying a flexible meal schedule to our busy weeks, something just clicks for us. over time, this has proven to be a sturdy trellis that has allowed habits to form while also encouraging some creativity which lessens the frequency with which we burnout on cooking.

it all started with a very unlikely catalyst! read that story here.

so here it is, after trying beaucoups of recipes to find our family’s tried + true favorites, i give you our weekly meal schedule. take note, this is different than a meal plan, as this does not include specific recipes. we realized having a category for each day of the week is a method that works well for our family. the only “rule” to be followed is to plan for a little chaos, be flexible + have a backup plan.

if for any reason we can’t stick to the schedule–groceries are low, something went bad, we thought we had that ingredient, the power went out, then we have backup items for any night of the week. for example:

if we haven’t made it to the grocery store yet or are lacking ingredients, then we rely on some fallbacks. each week when we shop, we check inventory on a couple versatile staple items that are frequently enjoyed + easy to work with. some lettuce or a salad kit is a great standby, adding a bit of protein in is even better. we’ll pick up a few chicken nuggets to feed the kids + top off our salad with the rest. spaghetti os + grilled cheese is another fan favorite! when the familiar situation arises when no one is in the mood for what we have planned, we each have a favorite way to enjoy a warm bowl of pasta -cacio e pepe- is mine, so we keep a variety of noodles stocked. all of these go great with butter, parmesan or marinara sauce + voila–home cooked meal in a pinch! despite the odds, we still get time to sit + visit with the family despite the chaos. that’s a win!

everyone knows life to be unpredictable, but if we forget to leave some margin for an unexpected opportunity to share dinner with friends or those spontaneous yummy cravings, then life becomes monotonous + we personally are known to bail on the plan. —flexibility is the vehicle for variety, the spice of life!

it took us years to get this just right + chances are the schedule will eventually need a change-up, but i would so love to help you cut to the chase + find the schedule your family is going to love. would you like to know more? email me! pencil + ink creative can help you love where you live in so many ways, even if that place is in the kitchen!

here’s to more meals together at home!

mary catherine

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