I know how hectic this time of year is, and I wanted to share with you how I create a simple meal plan during extra busy times – like the holidays!

So you can focus on all the other “stuff” that needs your attention and not worry about dinner.

This simple strategy comes from my Capsule Pantry method and you don’t need a fancy planner or even a Trello board (as much as you know I love me some Trello meal planning!).

What do you need for a simple meal plan through the holiday season?

Just grab a piece of plain paper, fold it or draw a line down the middle (length-wise). Then here’s what you do:

1. In the left hand side, jot down some dinners your family loves. After each dinner idea, write the ingredients it uses in the right hand side. As you come to one you already wrote down, put a little check mark next to it.

2. Circle all the main ingredients (these are usually proteins unless it’s a vegetarian meal or something else is the star ingredient).

3. We want to get our main ingredient list down to no more than 4. So cross out any of the main ingredients that do NOT have a checkmark next to it (in other words, are only used in ONE dinner idea). And cross out any accompanying ingredients to that main dish (ex: if Chicken Parm didn’t make the cut, cross out chicken breast, sauce, and spaghetti if they’re not in any other dinners).

4. You should be left with a list of dinner ideas and that use and re-use the same ingredients (hello master grocery list!). Transfer the ideas to your meal planner and you’re done!

Do you need more dinner ideas?

Stop making the same thing over and over.

Here’s my one-flip-switch idea:

Pick 3 dinners from your list and do a one-flip-switch. I’m going to use Chicken Parmesan as an example.

1. Find one dinner idea that uses the same ingredients but is in a different format (turning it into a casserole or soup or sandwich, maybe?). ex: chicken parm soup, chicken parm casserole, or pulled chicken parm sandwiches.

2. Then find one dinner idea where you flip the main ingredient. Just make sure you use an ingredient that’s on your master grocery list. ex: meatball parm or pork chop parm or shrimp parm.

3. Finally, find a 3rd dinner idea where you switch one ingredient to something totally different. ex: switch the sauce to alfredo, or enchilada, or lemon butter.

Free Holiday Dinner Planner

This is just one of the simple strategies I teach in the Capsule Pantry Blueprint.

That’s where I show you how to set up a capsule wardrobe for your kitchen, so you know exactly what’s for dinner and always have the ingredients at your fingertips.

I break it down into 3 simple steps:

1. Clear out the clutter that’s holding you back

2. Create a simple, easy meal plan that your family will love

3. Have your backup plan ready for when (not if!) your meal plan fails

I do NOT teach you to meal plan every week. I don’t have time for that, and I know you don’t either!

This program is designed to eliminate your stress in the kitchen, not create more. If you want more information, you can check out the details here

Free Holiday Dinner Planner