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How to Get Delicious Dinners on the Table (Even if You Hate Meal Planning)

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Meal planning. It’s such a great concept, isn’t it?!? But are there any meal planning alternatives? What do you do when your meal plan doesn’t work? You’ve figured out how to set up a meal plan, spent time creating a schedule, grocery shopped for all the things….

And then….

I love the idea behind meal planning, and trust me when I say that I’ve created meal plans from start to finish. But it doesn’t always work, does it?

meal planning alternatives - what to do when you hate making meal plans

I’ve had all the ingredients laid out on the counter, only to realize that I forgot to thaw the chicken. Or the kids were sick and I never even made it to the grocery store. Or I’ve shopped on Monday, only to find that the green beans had fur growing on them by Friday.


Meal planning is hard enough, but then you have to actually cook the meal!

Maybe you love cooking, but just can’t find the time to get dinner on the table. Or, maybe you can’t cook to save your life.

Either way, dinner doesn’t have to be difficult, even if you have no idea how to meal plan.

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    How to make dinner (even if you can’t cook)


    We don’t eat out that often. My kids have food allergies and trying new restaurants takes on a whole new level of terror in our house. I’ve had to get creative when cheating on our meal plan.

    Confession time: I’m a pretty bad cook. I can’t pair ingredients to save my life and my son once told his teacher that he was grateful for waitresses. #Worstmomever

    When I make meal plans, they usually consist of our favorite (i.e. simple, foolproof) meals: spaghetti, tacos, and the occasional stir fry, so clearly we’re not creative on our cheating. 😉

    So how do I cheat if we don’t eat out and I’m a terrible cook?

    We use Hello Fresh.

    It eliminates the need to grocery shop, sends every ingredient that I’ll need in clearly labeled pouches so I know not to give my kids the walnut glaze, and has very specific instructions that even I don’t mess up,

    Hello Fresh sends my family of four three meals a week. It’s enough to feed us (and we usually have leftovers). It’s also healthy, and you can choose recipes based on your family’s diet restrictions.

    The other four days when we’re not using Hello Fresh? We use our “time crunch” helpers.

    How to make dinner when you have no time

    I’m a little bit of a hoarder (just ask my mom, who freaks out every time she sees the stockpile of toilet paper, kleenex, and paper towels in my overflowing pantry).

    While my hoarding tendencies save my family the embarrassment of running out of toilet paper, it’s also saved us when it’s time for dinner.

    If you love to cook, try batch cooking. Each time you make a meal, prepare double the amount and freeze half.

    I’ve been doing this for years with shredded chicken and fresh fruits or vegetables.

    But preparing an entire meal ahead of time? That sounded complicated, not to mention tasteless (mushy noodles, anyone?!?).

    Then I found MyFreezEasy, and I’ve been batch cooking ever since.

    Every month, there’s a new downloadable meal plan. You can choose meals based on what you have on hand (use those 10 packs of chicken that you bought when it was on sale). It’s also really easy to select meals based on how you want to prepare it (you can choose slow cooker, Instant Pot, or traditional recipes).

    It’s great if you’re trying to meal plan on a budget.

    The MyFreezEasy menu also contains simple recipes (even I can make them). You can cook them all at once (Sunday Funday takes on a new meaning) or you can make them two-by-two (prep two meals at the same time – one to make and one to freeze).

    We finally have a stocked freezer.

    And on those days when I forget to thaw something? I just use my Instant Pot!

    Whether you hate cooking or just need a jump start getting something on the table, using Hello Fresh or MyFreezEasy (or both) can make preparing dinner so much easier. Your family will be fed (no waitresses needed).

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    Lorelai @ Life With Lorelai

    Friday 19th of January 2018

    Hey, Alison! Just wanted to let you know that we loved your How To Get Delicious Dinners on the Table so much when you shared it at the #HomeMattersParty last week, we’ve FEATURED it THIS WEEK! Hope you can check it out when you get a sec. Happy Friday!!! ~Lorelai Life With Lorelai / Home Matters Linky Party


    Tuesday 9th of January 2018

    Ive used Hello Fresh before myself and absolutely loved it, it is a little pricey but if you can afford it then everyone should totally do it!

    #DreamTeam Shevy

    Fiona Cambouropoulos

    Tuesday 9th of January 2018

    Hello Fresh sounds a great idea for planning healthier meals for the family #DreamTeam