If menu planning makes you want to stab people, or you just plain don’t have time, I’ve got you covered with This Week’s Eats. This week, the name of the game is crockpot and sheet pan dinners because life with a newborn is no joke.
Life with a newborn is no joke.
Thank goodness for menu planning, is all I have to say. Because otherwise, we would be eating cereal for every meal. I have zero energy when 5 o’clock rolls around and zero motivation to think about food, other than whether I’ll be able to eat it warm.
Crock pot meals and sheet pan dinners have become my go-to’s because of a.) how easy they are to pull together, and b.) how hands off they are. With crock pot meals, I can prep everything while the babe is napping and then magically present dinner when the husband gets home. (I definitely feel like I’m winning at life on those days.)
The sheet pan dinners are just as easy since most take minimal time to prep and throw in the oven. I can get it all done while the babe plays and wrap it up when she starts whining for attention, which is about 10 minutes tops. Bonus with the sheet pan dinners: they are a breeze to clean up afterwards. Which is mostly a bonus for the husband since my hands are occupied with baby.
Having said that, this week’s menu features two different crockpot meals (huzzah!) and a sheet pan meal thrown in for good measure. A stove-top dish and an oven-based meal round out the week to give us a variety of flavors to choose from. It’s going to be a good week, my friends.
Some basics about how we eat.
Before diving into the menu plan itself, I thought it would be helpful to share some basics about how we eat, and therefor how I plan. If you don’t care about those details, feel free to scroll down to the bottom for the recipe links and the big black download button.
I plan for 5 (five) home cooked meals with 2 (two) days for leftovers and/or freezer finds. We don’t always get through all five recipes, but I like to have them planned anyway. I also keep a fairly well-stocked pantry and sometimes swap out a meal when the mood strikes. (Usually happens when soup is on the menu because my husband isn’t always a fan.)
While there are 4 people in our family, only two eat what I’m cooking at any given time. The baby isn’t eating solids yet and Anna (my 5 year old) is super picky and eats maybe 4 things total. I always encourage Anna to try what we are eating and she usually obliges. Doesn’t mean she likes it, but she tries it. And I’m okay with that.
I have a few dietary restrictions and overall food preferences to work around. My husband is currently gluten-free. I’m dairy-free. Together we really only overlap on vegetarian and vegan meals, beef, and turkey. It can be challenging to find new things to eat and keep our menu interesting, but I like the challenge. (Most days.)
Finally, we tend to eat the same things for breakfast and lunch each day so I don’t bother planning for those. I mean, it’s written on my menu planner but only because there’s space for it. I never erase it though. I should probably switch to a different planner so that I have more room to write out our dinner menu.
- Roasted Broccoli and White Beans
- Sweet Potato Pakoras (from my archives) and salad
- Slow cooker aloo gobi (spiced cauliflower and potatoes) with rice
- Kung Pao Meatballs (from my archives) with rice and green beans
- Slow Cooker Autumn Minestrone with salad or sandwiches
The printable + shopping list: