Meal Planning and Recipes for the New Year


I’m sure there are some moms out there who look forward to cooking dinner every night. I, however, am not that mom. I do it, though. Five nights a week (well, every Friday is pizza night at our house, so technically, four). 

The hours around the time I make dinner are insane at my house. Between kids screaming and running in and out of the kitchen, asking me how much longer until it’s ready because they’re starrrrving, having to change Netflix from one movie to another, meltdowns from tiredness and whatever else is happening that day, there’s almost always some sort of drama involved. 

I’m all about making things easier, especially during this time of the day. Here are some ways to make this process smoother and, hopefully, less stressful for you, as well as some quick and easy (and sort of healthy?) recipes that may help you out. 

Meal Planning

Meal Planning and Recipes for New Year - My menu planner
My menu planner

One of the habits I have that makes life easier and saves me from asking myself what’s for dinner each night is meal planning. I’ve been doing it for years and it’s a huge time saver.

I usually plan out my meals for the week on Saturday or Sunday while making my grocery list. While many of the items on my grocery list remain the same from week to week, what changes are the items I’ll need for my dinner preparation.

I have a cute 8×10 framed menu planner on my wall next to my pantry (which I found on Pinterest) and once my plan is complete, I write it in dry erase marker, making it an easy switch from week to week. 

Grocery Pickup

I’m not a paid spokesperson for Walmart (although I’d be great at it), but let me just say that Walmart Grocery Pickup is the best thing that’s happened to shopping in forever. I’ve been using it since right after it came out and it is the biggest convenience and time saver. Not having to take my kids in the store with me (because they think it’s a trip for them to buy all the things or look at all the toys and then be sad they aren’t getting them), or even just spending the 45 minutes or hour it takes to get everything, stand in line, and load my car, is just wonderful.

If you haven’t used the service, it’s so incredibly easy. From your phone or tablet, use the Walmart Grocery app (or from your laptop just go to here) to select the items you want and your location for pickup, then pay. That’s it. I’m usually there for no more than ten minutes. My groceries are loaded up for me and I’m on my way.


Chicken is my favorite, so the majority of the things I cook involve chicken. Even when I make spaghetti or tacos, I use ground chicken. Feel free to subsititute whatever meat you’d like in these recipes. 

Crispy Parmesan Chicken

I found this yummy recipe on Pinterest. It takes only 15 minutes to prep and 40 to cook, so it can be ready in less than an hour. Chances are, you probably have most of the required ingredients already in your pantry. I usually serve it with mashed potatoes and a vegetable. 

Oven Baked Chicken Parmesan

My great grandfather came to the U.S. from Italy, so it’s no wonder Italian is my favorite type of food. I’ve been using this recipe for years and it never disappoints! The prep time is about 10 minutes, and it cooks for 30. Again, ready in less than an hour. My go-to sides for this recipe are salad and garlic bread. 

Chicken Casserole

One of my favorite meals since I was a kid, this chicken casserole is super quick and easy. Ten minute prep time and 30 in the oven. Poppy seeds are optional, and I opt not to use them; but again, most of the ingredients are probably in your pantry already. I usually just serve this with small green peas and flaky biscuits. 

Meal Planning and Recipes for the New Year - Chicken Casserole
Photo from The Girl Who Ate Everything (used with permission)

Crock Pot Chicken and Gravy

I rarely use my crock pot, but this recipe is worth it. From the first time I made it a few years ago, it remains one of my favorites. The prep time is about three minutes of dumping ingredients and stirring them. Put this together in the morning, set the crock pot for eight hours, and it will be ready in time for dinner. This is delicious with mashed potatoes and green beans. If beef is more your speed, check out this crock pot beef tips recipe.

Crunchy Taco Cups

I figured I’d better include one recipe that wasn’t all about chicken. While I do use ground chicken for this one, the recipe calls for ground beef. Before I made this for the first time, I didn’t even know where to find won ton wrappers (hint: they’re with the produce). Prep and cook time for this recipe are around 15 minutes each. I use the microwavable 90-second brown basmati rice, and dinner is done in around 30 minutes. 

Try one or more of these recipes when you’re looking for something quick and easy. You can check out my Pinterest board to see more of my favorite recipes.

Happy New Year and Bon Appetite!