Back to School Meal Planning


Back to school means back to routines, schedules, and meal plans around our house. Because I like to live life dangerously, or because I am just crazy (but who isn’t?), I decided to start back to work full time the week before the kids went back to school. I had been looking for a job since my youngest is now in Kindergarten, and it all just finally worked out. So then I was in a mad, wild dash to get the kids ready for school, the house ready for me to no longer be a SAHM, and me ready for a full time job. Not to mention getting the family adjusted to mamma not being around as much — I swear the dog and cat have had the hardest time with it!

Lots of lists were made, and lots of organizing and cleaning out was done, trying to simplify the running of the household since there will be less time at home and a lot less time to get all the things done.

The single best thing I did, however, was work on a back to school, back to work meal plan. I figured many of you could use this helpful tool, and I wanted to share it with you.

Feel free to tweak it however you like; you can add or take away until it best fits your family and your needs. I am also going to include a list of helpful links at the bottom so you can get your house uber-organized for back to school, too!

If meal planning seems too daunting or isn’t your thing, you can use a meal planning service. They come with grocery lists and recipes. I haven’t tried these myself but several of my friends have and they love them!

There are also apps that help you meal plan. I like to do it the old fashioned way, but I can see how an app would be wonderful. Here is an article about the 5 best apps.

I like to do my shopping on Sunday afternoon. If you coupon, then it’s perfect; you will have time to clip the coupons in your paper before you make your list (or whatever modern, app-driven thing is done now.) I make my menu and shopping list in the kitchen so I can check my pantry and fridge for ingredients already on hand. I use the same template each week, plugging in recipes that work for us. I also clean my fridge out before I go. There is nothing worse than coming home from a shopping trip and having no room in the fridge.

I also always allow a little wiggle room for the nights we are unexpectedly busy or just too tired to cook. We always eat leftovers either for lunch or for dinner, too. Here is my template:

  • Sunday: Something big that we can include in lunches the next day

  • Monday: Meatless Monday

  • Tuesday: Taco Tuesday

  • Wednesday: Leftovers or crockpot meal

  • Thursday: Crockpot meal or casserole

  • Friday: Leftovers

  • Saturday: Crockpot meal or grill

Using this template, I then write my menu for the week. I remain flexible, and sometimes switch the meals around depending on our evening schedules, if I remembered to thaw things, or if I just don’t feel like cooking.

Here is my menu for this week, click on them for recipes:

  • Sunday: chicken salad on croissants and green beans (leftovers will be lunch for the next two days)
  • Monday: Sweet Potato Fritters with Labneh
  • Tuesday: Pork Carnitas Tacos
  • Wednesday: stuffed sweet potatoes (with the leftover taco filling turned into BBQ, sour cream, jalapenos, and mixed greens), and Brussels sprouts
  • Thursday: mixed beans, cornbread, greens (I cook my beans in crockpot with one large box of chicken stock and water)
  • Friday: leftover beans and cornbread
  • Saturday: spaghetti with Crock-pot Meatballs, salad

Chicken Salad Recipe


  • Grilled chicken breast or rotisserie chicken from store
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • Sliced green grapes
  • Almond slivers
  • Chopped green onions
  • Salt and pepper


Shred the chicken, add remaining ingredients and mix well. Chill until ready to serve. I usually make this as soon as I get my groceries put away because the longer it sits in the fridge, the better it tastes. I serve it on large croissants (store bought) with lettuce, tomatoes and a side of fancy green beans. You just steam the green beans for 2-3 minutes, plunge in ice bath, then sauté them in olive oil, honey, and red pepper flakes for two minutes.

Here are some other great blogs to help you organize your home:

What other things do you do to help keep your house running smoothly for back to school?



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