Simple Pantry Cooking

Easy Menu Planning | cooking uncomplicated

Menu Planning Made Simple

simple easy homemade family menu plan

free simple menu planner

Today we start school back up! We homeschool year-round, so we start early in order to take extra weeks off during the year and be finished in May. It’s totally worth it. After all, it’s over 100-degrees here in the afternoon: might as well be doing school instead of playing Minecraft, I figure!

So for this month, I’m trying out a new menu planning idea: I have the same weekly rotation of breakfasts and lunches – and I’ve noted in my calendar when to do the prep. Then on busy days, I’ve prepped the food the day before. I’m looking forward to see if it works; that is, if I actually remember to do the prep ahead when I have it planned out! Of course I’ve already simplified dinner planning quite a bit, but with 4 kids needing lessons plus a toddler, I need food to take as little brain power as possible.

So, here’s the eating plan for this week:

Breakfasts This Week

  • Monday: Sunday leftovers with scrambled eggs
  • Tuesdays & Thursdays: German pancakes
  • Wednesdays & Fridays: simple homemade granola with homemade yogurt
  • Saturday: Daddy-made pancakes
  • Sunday: whole wheat cinnamon rolls (made on Saturday)

Lunches This Week

  • Monday: cheesy potatoes
  • Tuesday: quick artisan bread, cheese, fruit & veggies
  • Wednesday: leftover bread from Tuesday, cheese slices, pepperoni, fruit & veggies
  • Thursday: rice with carrots & peas, topped with butter or cheese, watermelon
  • Friday: microwave nachos with refried beans

Dinners This Week

Simplified Dinners eBook

  • Monday: grilled balsamic chicken, salad, garlic toasts
  • Tuesday: chicken fajitas with the fixings, cucumber salad (’tis the season)
  • Wednesday: chicken & cheese pasta salad, watermelon
  • Thursday: “bits & pieces” – leftovers, cheese, veggies, etc. all in cubes
  • Friday: fried rice
  • Saturday: hamburgers

Recipes for dinners on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday are found in my ebook, Simplified Dinners. Streamline menu planning, grocery shopping, and dinner cooking with Simplified Dinners!

Simplified Pantry

Simplified Pantry promotes homestyle cooking with basic ingredients. It is possible to cook good food without a pantry full of specialized products. Limits can actually be freeing and promote creativity. Limits make keeping what you need on hand simpler and easier to achieve. Simplified Dinners takes the thinking out of the whole dinner cycle of planning, shopping, and cooking, and makes it easy for you to customize the healthy, whole-food recipes provided according to your family’s tastes.

a low-effort menu plan

simple easy homemade family menu plan

<img src=”” alt=”menuplan” width=“300″>

This is the last push to finish out our homeschool year. Next week is testing, then we get a 6 week break! I am really looking forward to that break, so I tried to keep this week’s menu plan extra simple and low-effort.

Also, we’re starting to harvest strawberries, raspberries, lettuce, and peas from our garden. I love the fresh produce, but it does take time to care for the plants, to harvest, and to wash everything adequately. So, it’ll be best if the other components of our meals are easier; that way we can enjoy the season of spring harvesting!

Breakfasts This Week

  • Weekdays: simple homemade granola with yogurt and berries from our garden!
  • Saturday: Daddy-made pancakes
  • Sunday: vanilla scones with strawberries and whipped cream

Lunches This Week

  • whole wheat rolls, cheese cubes, and apples
  • cheese melted on chips with fruit
  • leftovers when possible

Dinners This Week

Simplified Dinners eBook

  • grilled chicken, grilled flatbread, salad
  • crockpot pulled pork on leftover flatbreads
  • pork chalupas, glazed carrots, coleslaw
  • tuna patties, garlic noodles, and coleslaw
  • no-mess pizza, salad
  • hamburgers, oven fries

Streamline menu planning, grocery shopping, and dinner cooking with Simplified Dinners!

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What’s for dinner this week? Good stuff; good stuff.

simple easy homemade family menu plan


Another week, another need to have a plan for how to feed the family. Here’s my plan for this week. After our homeschooling day is done, we have yard work to accomplish before hosting a family wedding reception in our yard in June, so I tried to pick quick, easy, satisfying meals for this week. My energies are going into too many other projects to be creative in the kitchen right now.

Breakfasts This Week

  • Weekdays: simple homemade granola with milk or yogurt
  • Saturday: Daddy-made pancakes
  • Sunday: whole wheat cinnamon rolls (made on Saturday)

Lunches This Week

Dinners This Week

Simplified Dinners eBook

Streamline menu planning, grocery shopping, and dinner cooking with Simplified Dinners!

Making Simplified Dinners Whole30 Compliant

How to Make Simplified Dinners Whole30 Compliant

Simplified Dinners, even the gluten-and-dairy-free edition, is far from Whole30 compliant, yet I am still using many of the meals from it in my whole30 plan. Simplified Dinners is written to be flexible, and this month I will be proving how flexible it can be. Sure, I’ll be skipping pizzas and bean pots, but I can make a stir fry without rice, leave the beans out of the soup, and eat fajita topping with more peppers and onions and no tortilla or sour cream. You don’t need a whole new, special “Whole30 approved” recipe for any of that. It’s just normal dinner cooking without the starch, or beans, or dairy, or soy sauce, or … well, I’m getting sad now, but the point is that it’s possible.

Simplified Dinners gives you the idea and the backbone, but lets you create a dish based on what you have on hand and what your personal tastes or dietary restrictions are.

I know it is unconventional to have “recipes” without giving specific amounts – and often not even ratios – for ingredients. It startles people and it baffles many, and I’ve issued refunds for people who just can’t wrap their minds around cooking “freehand.” But doing it that way makes it clear that you can make it how you want it. Rather than being the servant of the recipe, compelled to follow it as the master, you are the master who can use the recipe – or not – as you like.

Here’s an example of a recipe from Simplified Dinners and how I’ll be adjusting it for Whole30:


Simplified Dinners, Whole30-style

You’d think all the pasta dinners would be forbidden, right? But what if we just saute up zucchini, peppers, and onions and serve the pasta sauce on top of that? Would that work? There are six pasta variations in Simplified Dinners:

  • Sausage Penne: Well, this would work just fine if you can find Whole30 sausage (no sugar used). Good luck. Let me know if you find any at a normal grocery store.
  • Quick & Easy Spaghetti: Totally works; just leave off the Parmesan cheese on top.
  • Clam Penne: Check to make sure the canned clams don’t have soy in the broth. Use olive oil instead of butter. Instead of a roux, just reduce the broth and add a splash of chicken broth instead of cream (it will take longer and be richer and not quite so thick).
  • Stroganoff: You could serve this over broccoli instead of zucchini and it’d be delicious! Of course don’t add butter or Worcestershire sauce or wine soy sauce or sour cream. Instead, use 2 cups or more of beef broth and reduce it by half. I might try a squirt of balsamic vinegar or tomato paste.
  • Chicken Alfredo: Sure, it won’t be creamy, but you can replace the roux & dairy with chicken broth and just let it reduce by at least half and it will still make a yummy dish! I bet it will be yummier than trying to make cashew cream.
  • Asian Penne: Well, it won’t have soy, so maybe it’s not-so-Asian, but you can still make it with broth and leave off the forbidden ingredients.

See, you don’t need totally new and special recipes. You can simply adapt. Cooking is art and it’s ok to try your hand at it without a paint-by-numbers kit that a super-specific recipe provides.

So, even the normal edition of Simplified Dinners, the one that assumes dairy and grains, can be adjusted, amended, and still useful for Whole30 cooking. Most of the roast recipes (and that entire page is free in the Simplified Dinners sample) and the marinades are compliant with Whole30; a couple do call for sugar or soy sauce, but guess what? Just leave it out. It’ll be ok. It’ll be less sweet, but it’s not going to ruin anything. Maybe you’ll even discover you like it that way!

Simple, Family-Friendly Whole30 Plan

I start posting pictures of everything I am eating on Whole30 on Wednesday! You can sign up to get those pictures delivered by email for free every morning, too:

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