Weeknight Meal Planning Made Easy

spaghetti and meatballs with oregano garnish on rustic table shot with selective focus

Many of us are hoping to stay organized in the New Year, and what better place to start than in the kitchen. Planning your meals ahead of time can not only help your weeknights run smoothly, but can also help you stick to a budget or diet. Read below to find out tips on how to make your weeknight meals a breeze.


Plan Ahead

Avoid last-minute trips to the grocery store and stick to a schedule by planning your meals in advance. Use our printable menu planner to stay organized throughout the week and even keep track of your grocery list. Download it here! Consider making one night a week a “clean out the fridge” night, and do your best to eat any leftovers or use items that are nearing the end of their shelf life.

Use Your Leftovers

If you don’t want to eat your leftovers exactly as they are, do your best to repurpose them into new dishes. It may seem challenging at first, but after a while, you’ll find the perfect shortcuts that work for you.

That roasted chicken from yesterday? Pull apart the remains and throw in a homemade chicken noodle soup or chicken tortilla soup.

Leftover sautéed vegetables? Use in a quiche or frittata and voila! Breakfast OR dinner.

Stale bread? Make breadcrumbs to use for meatloaf, chicken tenders, or an oven-baked mac and cheese. You can even make bread pudding or croutons to use in a salad or French onion soup.

Leftover pork loin? Say hello to pork fried rice! You’re bound to have some eggs and rice handy.

Prepare in Advance

If assembling or heating up a meal is virtually all you have time for, consider preparing in advance. In fact, some recipes will taste even better the second day! Freeze leftover soups, stews and sauces to take out and defrost at a later date. Freeze diced onion, celery and carrot, and you always have a mirepoix at your disposal. If your goal is to stay away from the freezer, then simply chop or marinate everything the night before or the morning-of, and you’re already on your way to a faster meal.

Get Your Groceries Delivered

Don’t have time to get groceries? Check with your local grocer to see if they offer a delivery service. Or, choose another delivery service like one of the ones below.

1. Instacart

One of the most popular options for grocery delivery is Instacart. For orders over $35, deliveries are $6, or $8 for one-hour delivery. Not only can you order from multiple stores, but you can also schedule deliveries for days in advance. The company services a wide area and delivers perishable produce, which some services do not. Be aware that delivery costs, an additional optional fee, and a tip for your deliverer do add up. However, you can get $10 in groceries when you sign up and use our promo code on your first purchase: EMARKETING1CF169.

2. Amazon Fresh
If you’re an Amazon Prime member, Amazon Fresh is a great option for you. For $10, have deliveries under $40 delivered on the same day or the next day. You can even set specific two- to three-hour delivery windows to ensure your groceries don’t wait around for you to return. If you pay $15 a month, you can get unlimited free deliveries on purchases over $40. Keep in mind, these fees are on top of the annual $99 Amazon Prime membership, but Amazon makes it easy for you to shop around and compare prices. For those of you with Amazon Echo products, try asking Alexa to place your next order.

3. Shipt

With an annual fee of only $99, Shipt is cheaper than yearly subscriptions to Instacart or Amazon Fresh. You can pay the yearly fee, or choose to pay $14 per month for unlimited deliveries for orders over $35. For orders under $35, the delivery fee is $7. Shipt also allows you to set substitute preferences, so in case the store is out of your preferred item, you’ll be sure to have your second choice delivered.

Happy weeknight meal planning!