Our previous solution to this was batch-cooking. However we found this ate up our weekends and also resulted in a lot of mince-based meals (chilli, spag bol, lasagna, shepherds pie) and curries, which we like, but not constantly.
We came up with a new solution. We made a list of all the meals we like to eat. It is by no means comprehensive: there are 35 meals on out list. Then we categorised them into:
- Chicken dishes
- Fish dishes
- Beef dishes
- Pork dishes
- Lamb dishes
- Vegetarian dishes
For each dish, we compiled a shopping list.
Each week, we now choose five meals from the list on shopping day, and we already have the list ready-made. Choosing five days allows for one evening eating out or with friends, and one miscellaneous day.
Of the five dishes we choose, we try to have one from five of the six different categories. This way we always have variation. So far so good with this method.
It means we always have between 1 and 5 choices for our dinner any given week, with all requisite ingredients in the fridge/freezer/cupboards, and each meal will be one we love and look forward to. It takes all the horrendous "What will we have?" conversations out of the equation. We also do not have to repeat a meal in a month. In a few months time we will review the meal list and add to it or take stuff away that we're not interested in anymore.
I just thought I'd share this idea. If anyone else has meal-planning tips I would love to hear them, or if anyone would like a copy of our meal plan, let me know.