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How to Streamline Meal Planning

Watch the Streamline Meal Planning video

In today’s vodcast, I chat about how to Streamline Meal Planning and lots more! Get to know more about these topics in the following blog post sections:

These conversational vodcasts are available to the Kitchen Pioneers who have joined my YouTube membership community—The Traditional Foods Kitchen Academy.

Affiliates note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. My content may contain affiliate links to products and services. If you click through and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission. It does not affect the price you pay.

Traditional Foods Kitchen Academy

My in-depth vodcasts are exclusively available to members of the Traditional Foods Kitchen Academy, who we call Kitchen Pioneers. You can learn more about my optional YouTube membership community, including members-only videos and exclusive perks.

This membership community is optional. I’m still publishing my weekly detailed instructional cooking videos on my public YouTube channel that you can watch for free. (Thanks so much for being a Sweet Friend and subscriber!)

In addition to links to the latest Kitchen Academy vodcasts, this blog post lists some of the public videos that I talk about in my vodcast.

How to Streamline Meal Planning

Meal Planning can be tough on home cooks. We can spend an evening meticulously putting together a meal plan and then go out the next day shopping for all the ingredients. We have the best of intentions when we make meal plans, but if our week goes awry because family plans change, our schedule may fall apart. Then the food spoils, and as the saying goes…the best-laid plans often go astray!

So that is why when it comes to meal planning, the best thing to do is keep it simple. Don’t force yourself into a corner where you can only plan for very structured meals with very specific ingredients. Instead, assign a “theme” to each day of the week, and then make sure you have the basic building blocks in your pantry to build a meal around that theme.

And the keywords here are “basic building blocks.” Learn how to always have a well-stocked pantry with the following foods:

  • Canned meats, chicken, and fish
  • Canned and dried beans
  • Tomato sauce in jars, as well as dried tomatoes
  • Dried mushrooms
  • Assorted semolina pastas
  • Easy to cook whole grains, including rice, farro, and oat groats
  • Olive oil and other fats, such as Ghee and Coconut oil that can be kept at room temperature

In addition to the foods listed above, be sure to keep fresh foods on hand that last more than a few days, such as:

  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • Lemons or Limes
  • Onions
  • Potatoes, white and sweet
  • Winter Squash (in season)

With these types of foods on hand, you can prepare many meals quickly and with little effort. I talk more about this technique in my member video.

Themed Meal Plans

I can’t take credit for the idea of using a “theme” to streamline meal planning. I actually learned the idea from two wonderful cookbooks, titled The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner and The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner Again.

If you are not familiar with the Food Nanny (aka Liz Edmunds), I highly recommend you get to know her. In her cookbooks, she shares recipes for cooking real food—simply. And she shows you how to create your own themes for each day of the week to make meal prep a snap.

For example, Liz will have the theme of “Chicken Night” assigned to one day of the week. That means she knows that she will cook chicken for dinner that night. She may not choose a specific type of recipe, but she just knows that it’s best to defrost some kind of chicken the night before to cook the next day.

Then, when it comes time to make dinner, she’ll scan her pantry and her fridge and see what she has to pull together a meal built around that chicken. No special ingredients are needed, and nothing goes to waste!

The Importance of a Well-Stocked Pantry

In my member vodcast, I go into a lot more detail about how to stock your pantry so that you can create meals around a theme without having a hard and fast meal plan.

And speaking of stocking the pantry, if you have not had a chance to download my FREE 36-page Essential Four Corners Traditional Foods Pantry List, be sure to do so. I share everything you need to stock in your Four Corners Pantry: Working Pantry, Fridge, Freezer, and Extended (or Prepper Pantry).

Sample Recipes for Meal Planning

I talk about multiple recipes for meal planning in my video, including my upcoming beef stew recipe. Here are a few easy-to-make recipes that are my family’s favorites and that your family may enjoy too:

Start Your Kitchen Journal

Have you started your Kitchen Journal yet? If not, what are you waiting for! 😉 It’s a great place to add your flexible themed meal plans. And I show you how to get started in my Kitchen Journal tutorial video.

More Kitchen Pioneer Videos

Catch up on some of the recent videos in our membership community:

Remember that you’re always welcome to post questions and comments on my videos at any time, and I’m glad to reply.

Stay in Touch with Mary’s Nest

  1. Subscribe to My YouTube Channel for Traditional Foods Videos (Free) - When you subscribe, be sure to click on the notification bell that will let you know each time I upload a new video.
  2. Subscribe to Mary’s Traditional Foods Newsletter (Free) - Get a free 36-page eBook for signing up: How to Stock Your Essential Traditional Foods Four-Corners Pantry.
  3. Join the Traditional Foods Kitchen Academy (Optional Paid) - For more detailed videos and exclusive members-only perks, join my YouTube membership community.
  4. Order The Modern Pioneer Cookbook (Optional Paid) - Get a printed book of Mary's nourishing recipes from a Traditional Foods Kitchen. This bestselling cookbook is published by Penguin Random House with their DK imprint.

I look forward to having you join me in my Texas Hill Country Kitchen!

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Favorite Kitchen Supplies

In addition, the following links and promo codes will help you save on fermentation supplies and grain grinders.

Use promo code MARYSNST for a one-time 15% off Masontops and Breadsmart products on

Learn more about Mockmill electric grain mills for making fresh flour and their Flake Lover's Flaker that flakes whole grain in minutes.

Amazon Shop and Shopping Guide

  • Visit Mary’s Nest Amazon Shop
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