The Never-Ask-Me-What’s-For-Dinner-Again Weekly Meal Plan
Author’s Note: I posted this on Instagram last week, and the response was amazing. As close to viral as anything I’ve ever had happen to my feed! And there were TONS of great taco-related ideas, as well! So I thought I’d post an update here.
Did you know that Steve Jobs, President Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg all wore or wear the same thing every day? They say it was to eliminate unnecessary decisions, save brainpower and reduce decision fatigue. Sounds like a good idea to me—that’s why I believe in yoga pants, can I get an amen? (Also see: white jeans on any occasion that doesn’t allow for yoga pants.)
Around our house, we were gearing up for the school year a few weeks ago, and I realized I was getting REALLY sick of hearing, “What’s for dinner?” Or, tired of coming home and our precious daddy-o had made Mac and cheese, AGAIN. And I made a really crazy decision: we were going to eat the exact same thing for dinner every day of the week.
This is our no-fail, once-and-for-all, never-ask-me-again-what’s-for-dinner meal plan. This is the best weekly meal plan I have found for our family.
I knew if this strategy was going to stick, it was going to have to be easy to remember, so I went for my favorite memory-making device: alteration. I also knew that the recipes were going to have to be kid-friendly AND keto, which is no small task. We have one kid who pretty much hunger strikes until we drive through Chick-fil-a, so coming up with a series of easy, week-night-friendly (read: as little clean up as possible) was going to be a challenge.
The odds were stacked against me.
But good golly, you guys. Not only did it work, but it’s stuck. And my friends keep telling me I’ve got to share this. So, here you go, the weekly meal plan to end all weekly meal plans:
Monday – Meatballs
Doesn’t matter what kind. We mostly go for Italian, but Swedish, curry, or even hamburgers. They’re just flat meatballs after all. And for my health-nut friends, you can do meatless Mondays.
Tuesday – Tacos
Duh. You knew this was coming, right? We did ground beef for several weeks, and the kids got tired of it, so we did chicken this week and will rotate back and forth.
Wednesday – Breakfast for Dinner
WHAT, you say? That’s not alliteration? I was having trouble coming up with something kid-friendly, keto, that worked with Wednesday. And you guys, guess what we had at dinner for our WEDDING? Breakfast. So, around our house, it’s Wedding Food Wednesday, which means: BREAKFAST FOR DINNER. Holy ground, if anything ever was. @janahunterinteriors even taught me about putting bacon on a sheet pan and then eggs and only dirtying one pan, so amen all the way around.
Thursday – Chicken
Again, was having trouble with the alteration thing here. And chicken and green beans is a weeknight MUST, so Thursdays it is. Also, I discovered #changeyourlifechicken from @thelazygenius and my life is, as promised, changed.
Friday – Fish
Gluten-free fish sticks for the kids, salmon with pesto, lemon, and roasted veggies for adults. Again, one pan. I’ve barely run the dishwasher at this point.
Saturday – Steak
Because it’s Saturday. Sautéed greens or a salad make this a complete and delicious weekend meal.
Sunday – Soup
For whatever reason, we often end up with a lot of extra taco meat, and we use this for a soup recipe on Sundays, usually. Beef taco becomes chili or taco soup. Chicken becomes posole or white chicken chili or chicken noodle soup, depending on how it was originally seasoned.
And yes, we have done this EVERY SINGLE WEEK since school started. It’s requiring fewer and fewer modifications, and the grocery bills are actually getting lower, too. And the kids LOVE it. With the exception of getting tired of beef tacos there for a minute, the routine is solid gold for them. And it’s ONE LESS QUESTION for me.
Now, on to all those taco-related suggestions you guys offered:
- Taco Salad – Easy switch from tacos and back again. Adding beans would be yummy as well.
- Taco Pizza – Suggested by our favorite babysitter, Taylor. I’m not sure if she was kidding or not, so I told her she’d have to come over if we tried this.
- Fish Tacos (or shrimp) – No shellfish at our house, but fish tacos is a great idea!
- Pork Tacos – There were a few great recipe suggestions for this. I’ll list them below.
- Taco Ring – This one from Pillsbury. While I KNOW this is delicious, Pillsbury is a special-occasion thing around our house, bc carbs are not friends.
- Steak Tacos – What I love about this idea is that, while not that different from fajitas, my kids love steak and love tacos, so combining the two together will broaden their palettes without inciting a riot.
- Sheet Pan Fajitas – Anything that goes on one pan, I adore. In fact, my not-so-secret mission is to one day figure out how to use one pan to cook dinner seven days.
- Taco Cups – Love this! I’ll have to do some searching for recipe ideas.
- Quesadilla – Also great! I do homemade tortillas (gluten-free) when I have the time, and I bet they would be delicious as quesadillas!
- Sheet Pan Nachos – Oooh, I love nachos and I love sheet pans.
- Rice Bowls – I love bowls, too. My only drawback to bowls is I’d have to dirty more than one pan. Lazy? Smart? I think we know the answer to that one.
- Tostadas – Also fun!
And here are some specific suggestions offered by some Insta-faves that I just had to share:
- From @thinksplendid: For tacos, I make a mix of 1 T cumin, 1/2 T ground coriander, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp cayenne and multiply that ratio until I have a spice jar full. Dump frozen chicken breasts (we get the giant bag from Costco) in the crockpot, put in however much spice mix you want, a 1/4 c of water and set in low for 8 hours. Dinner is ready when everyone gets home. Cayenne can be withheld and added later if adults prefer more spice than the kids. Spicy mix was originally for fish tacos and works on beef, too. ALSO, I found that serving two veggies at dinner and saying “you don’t have to eat both, but you have to choose one” cut down ALMOST ALL vegetable-related kiddo complaints bc it gave them a sense of power and autonomy. It’s not the best solution for everyone, but nutrition was the battle I picked, not the whining. I just eat the leftovers at lunch the next day.
- From @rachnordgren: This recipe has adobo in it, which is spicy, but I’ll agree that it takes chicken tacos to the next level—we can only add a teeny tiny bit to ours, and I store the rest of the adobe in the fridge in a small jar.
- From @palomasnest: Easy taco variation: put a basic pork roast (”pork shoulder”) in the slow cooker in the morning with a jar of green salsa (I use a tomatillo one, but a basic red one would work too) and cook on low all day. By late afternoon it falls apart when you shred it with a fork. We eat it on tacos or nachos, over baked sweet potatoes or rice, or in quesadillas … lots of yummy flavors but not spicy so the kids like it, too!
- From @vmurph8: For tacos, we often make zucchini taco boats. Slice zucchini or squash in half horizontally, scoop some of the centers out to create a “boat”, drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and bake for 15-20 minutes at 425 degrees. Then use the boats as you would normally use a shell or tortilla and fill them up as you like. They work for both chicken and beef.
- From @adriennewilliams: Pulled pork tacos! Crockpot a pork butt or shoulder all day (I don’t even add anything but some broth and s&p).
- From @lupineletters: We made the baked turkey tacos from @thedefineddish last week and they were a huge hit! Also, stealing this plan. Thanks for sharing! Also, the Bahn Mi meatballs from the Well Fed cookbook is another recipe that gets rave reviews, and again, keto-friendly!!
- From @houseofbois: Awesome idea! I had a taco recipe from home chef the other day that was ground beef but it was Asian style. I was surprised by how good it was. There was sesame oil and soy sauce in the meat. Quick pickled veggies on top (radish, English cucumbers, purple cabbage).
- From @cre8tivegirl: Pork tacos! Pork loin in the crockpot with green chilies. Leftovers are pulled pork sandwiches or chili Verde on Sunday!
- From @spruceroad: We like chili pulled pork for taco nights (easy, delicious and in the crockpot!).
- From @megowen2: We do Roasted chickpea tacos! They get all crunchy when roasted. We use Peas and Thank You’d recipe!
- From @yellowbuttonbaby: Taco bowls! – do cauliflower rice or spinach as your base with taco meat, salsa, cheese, avocado, sour cream etc delicious and easy to switch up
- From @cjenkins08: Check out @eunamaes carne asada taco recipe. It is so good! She also has a refried bean recipe that is delicious.