Plan It- Don’t Panic: Week 1 of the Meal Planning Challenge

Welcome to Week 1 of the Plan It- Don’t Panic Meal Planning Challenge!

What? You’re not ready? You thought it started next Monday, the 26th of September? Oh, you mean the date on the pretty graphic I had made?

Ahem… you know you’ve got pregnancy brain when you plan a challenge to start on the 26th, and then you go ahead and start it on the 19th. I was convinced that this Monday was the first day of the challenge, spread the word, got pumped up, made my menu plan, and then realized that I was a full week early. Sheesh.

But hey, now that I’ve already prepared, and so many people are signed up and rearing to go, we’re going to start anyways this week, and those who aren’t ready can join in next week!

Our Menu Plan This Week:


*I rarely plan which vegetables I will make to go with dinner, particularly during garden season, because I like to just work with whatever needs to be harvested or used up or what we’re in the mood for. What my garden isn’t producing, I buy based on seasonality and price, so that I am not stuck purchasing expensive vegetables simply because that’s what was on the menu.

Like these colorful heirloom carrots I pulled from the garden this week!



  • Breakfast- Toast and fried eggs
  • Dinner- Chicken meal salad with homemade honey mustard dressing, garlic toast.
  • Prep- Thaw a roast. Soak muffin batter.


  • Breakfast- Smoothie and muffins*
  • Dinner- Fajitas made with shredded beef (LOVE this recipe), fried peppers and onions, more salsa, guac, sour cream (yes, we like Mexican food, especially when tomatoes and cilantro abound!)
  • Prep- Start roast early in day, by searing in a pan, then slow-cooking all afternoon until tender. Freeze bags of extra meat in 2 cup portions. Also, prepare canning supplies for tomato canning this Saturday, and make list of anything I still need to buy. Soak pancake batter.

*Just like with how I plan for vegetables, since I have quite a few muffin recipes that I like, and I typically have all of the basic pantry/fridge ingredients for any of them, I just decide the day before which one I want to do.


  • Breakfast- Pancakes with homemade honey butter syrup and fruit (my pancake and syrup recipes are both from Sue Gregg’s books)
  • Dinner- Cold pasta salad with chicken and fresh garden vegetables.
  • Prep- Buy my tomatoes at the market for canning tomorrow. Soak oatmeal.


  • Breakfast- Soaked oatmeal with raw milk or cream and honey
  • Dinner- Either leftovers or a non-supper, since I will be drained from canning all day (and possibly not finished canning even by dinnertime).


  • Breakfast- Yogurt, homemade granola (made in a double batch previously), fresh or frozen fruit
  • Dinner- Green garden salad or Greek salad, Reuben-style grilled sandwiches (leftover roast beef, sauerkraut, cheese on homemade bread)

You’ll notice that I don’t plan for lunches. I like to do lunch very casually. We eat leftovers whenever they are available, which is probably half of the time. The rest of the time, we eat simple fare like various kinds of sandwiches (with whatever we have on hand), quesadillas, taco salad, salmon melts, 5-ingredient mac and cheese, etc. with a smoothie, some raw veggies or fruit, or pickles/sauerkraut on the side.

Have you joined in the conversation?

Things are absolutely hopping in the Plan It- Don’t Panic Facebook group– over 787 members and counting! Wow.

I’ve been blown away by how actively everyone is participating in the group. I think you’ll find it an incredible resource, with recipes and meal planning helps being shared, as well as great conversations on topics like menu planning for allergies and special diets, pregnancy diets, picky eaters and more.

For those who prefer Twitter, use the hashtag #mealplanit for more meal planning discussion.

Now it’s your turn… share your menu with the rest of us!

Please link up to your menu plan, and take some time to look through others for inspiration. If you would kindly link back to this link-up in your own post, that would be great. Thanks for joining in!

For those without a blog to link up to, why don’t you share your menu in the comments?

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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  1. I love the idea of getting your muffin and pancake batter going the night before. Do you have a special recipe that you do that with or do you do that with any muffin/pancake recipe? I always thought you needed to get those baking right away because of the leavening in them?

  2. I just found this challenge tonight from a mention on Kitchen Stewardship, and I am excited to participate. We need to focus on frugal and healthy home-cooked meals this fall. Here is my plan for the week:
    Sun: B–french toast from leftover homemade bread, fruit
    S–shrimp bisque, sauteed spinach, homemade French bread
    Mon: B–cereal, fruit
    L–(the kids usually pick two days to buy lunch at school, and this is one of them)
    S–chicken and pasta casserole, waldorf salad, peas
    Tue: B–pop tarts, fruit
    L–pack (sandwiches, veggies, fruit)
    S–cheese coneys, chips, apple slices
    Wed: B–sausage sandwiches
    S–breakfast for supper (goetta and pancakes)
    Thu: B–cereal, fruit
    S–tacos, toppings, homemade refried beans
    Fri: B–cereal bars, fruit
    S–tailgate party and homecoming parade at my work (bring dessert)
    Sat: B–homemade cinnamon rolls
    S–baked tilapia, couscous, brussels sprouts, fruit

  3. jennifer davis says:

    I would love to try out some of your recipes from your meal plan, do you have those on your blog? thanks!!

    • @jennifer davis, The only ones currently on my blog or that I know of online are the one’s that I’ve linked to. I will be trying to add a few more recipes to my blog of meals that we regularly eat during the course of this challenge. Any specific recipes that interested you?

    • jennifer davis says:

      @jennifer davis, the battered white fish sounds yummy…do you use a wheat free batter? also what is chicken meal salad? I am also looking for inspirations for my sons lunches every day., two weeks in and im already growing tired of making sandwiches:0 I know what you mean about pregnancy brain, I am pretty sure by the third there isnt much brain left., many days I have trouble remembering if I fed our Golden Retriever..(probably cause she’s the only one in the house that cant voice her opinion!) Thanks for sharing recipes, I was due yesterday and have been quite panicky about meals, thank goodness my Mom is coming Saturday!

      • @jennifer davis, Sometimes I make my batter wheat-free, depending on if we need to adhere to any dietary issues. I’ve done it with rice flour plenty of times. It’s basically just flour, seasonings, egg and cold water, all mixed together. The chicken meal salad is basically a really hearty salad that I copied from a restaurant that we like to eat at. It includes lettuce, radichio (which I often substitute with purple cabbage), avocado, pepper, tomato, shredded carrots, hard boiled eggs, cheese, and then baked chicken slices.

  4. Its a great planning menu.Its good to see some a lot of of meal plan i get some ideas.Thank you for inspiring.

  5. I don’t plan lunches either Stephanie. I find it fits better in with our homeschooling day to just pull out some simple things when it’s time to eat. We usually have a spread of cheese, raw veggies, olives, leftover meat, fruit. The kids will pick at it until their tummies are full and then we wrap up the rest and save it for the next day’s lunch or snack.
    It’s nice to see so many other meal plans to get some ideas to change things up a bit. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. I was almost confused because I have had in my mind that it was last week, so I’m relived that it really does start next week because I wasn’t ready. I am attempting to plan for a month, never done this! I usually do week to week so I hope to be ready by next Monday.

  7. I thought maybe you’d be giving us something special to help US start next week! I had assumed I had another week, but made the plan anyway. Going to post in the linky now.

  8. Whoa. Honey butter syrup…sounds good. :)

  9. Forgot to mention–I love how you included prep! I MUST include that in mine next week! That’s half the “battle” right there!

  10. I am loving this link-up already!! It’s naptime, and instead of working, I just went through every post and pinned SEVERAL new recipes I want to try (now that’s working for my family, right??). :) I’m so excited about adding these new dishes to my family’s meal line-up. I especially liked the post with lots of recipe links. I’m hoping to include more and more in my plans.

    Thanks for doing this, Stephanie!! :)

  11. Alicia Fick says:

    Super excited to start! I started menu planning (again) earlier this summer thanks to a link you did to money saving mom’s menu planning resources. I was also inspired by reading your book. Hooray for anything that makes life easier AND yummier! :) Thank you for all you do! Praying for an easy, smooth and healthy pregnancy.


  12. I am so excited to have some more accountability! I am great at planning, bad at following through. Today I am going to Trader Joe’s with menu plan in hand so there is no excuse. Thanks for hosting Stephanie!

  13. I was so excited about Meal Plan Mondays I started last week. I was so excited this morning that I walked out of the house without this week’s plan – which is currently hanging on my fridge!

    It will be up tomorrow – in the mean time, enjoy last week’s, which I found to be a mostly successful plan. With a few, erm… adjustments.

  14. A couple thoughts after reading over your plan this week… I need to graduated to spouted grains (your sprouted flour tortillas) and soaking grains. I’ve tried to soak a couple of times and then the recipe comes out all lumpy. Ew, so I haven’t tried it much more. Do you make your own tortillas or do you purchase them from somewhere? Is it somewhere local or online?

    I also really like how you don’t plan lunches, that would make it so much easier on me. I think I’ll pass on planning lunches next week. I plan breakfast and dinners so much more efficiently anyway.

    And, this year we have been part of a CSA, but I do hope that someday we will have a garden!

  15. I actually missed the date on the graphic also – our meal plan is complete so I will share! Our breakfasts stay pretty simple but I like to give the kids a choice (and if they sleep in by chance I want to allow it!) breakfasts here include; oatmeal, toast with cream cheese, cereal with milk, muffins, french toast, egg in a hole, scrambled eggs or frozen waffles/pancakes (from our double batch making the week before!)
    Our dinners this week include:
    Sunday: Roasted chicken quarters with potatoes, carrots & onions
    Monday: Sloppy Joes with twice baked potatoes
    Tuesday: Tortilla Soup (with leftover chicken from Sunday!)
    Wednesday: Minstrone Soup in homemade bread bowls
    Thursday: Great-Grandma’s cheesy noodles with broccoli (homemade noodles by MY grandmother, with a little american cheese & ground beef)
    Friday: Vegetable Soup (probably in another bread bowl due to my husbands complaining about soup this week!)
    Saturday: Hot dogs/Bratwurst & foil pack vegetables on the grill!

    (and on a bright note I only need 4 things at the grocery store- thanks for the challenge!!)

  16. lol, the funny thing is that I didn’t even read the graphic until last night. And, then when I had that recipe exchange I thought… oh, I’ll promote that for a week or so, I was so confused because you kept talking about it coming up. But, I didn’t pay attention to the graphic until I had already made my meal plan. Anyway, if that all makes sense, the short of it is. I’m ready. :)

  17. Haha! I thought I caught you saying “next week” in your last post about this, and I was thinking “did I miss something?”


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