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#UnclogYourDay with Meal Planning Made Easy

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UnClog Ur Day $1000 Contest courtesy of Drano

What’s for Dinner? I hate this question. What I hate even more is when I have to say, “I don’t know.” There is nothing more stressful than scrambling at 4 p.m. with no defrosted meat, no prepped veggies and a clock ticking down. For years I’ve made great strides in doing a meal plan and grocery list to match so we have very few last second runs during the week.
There have been many methods that I’ve tried:

  • Meals on index cards
  • Random searches online
  • Spreadsheets
  • Stack of cookbooks with recipes flagged

meal planning session

What works best for me is a simple piece of paper with each day of the week listed and the meal that is planned. If I’m extra motivated I will use a calendar and plan 2-4 weeks at a time. We tend to eat the same meals: tacos, pasta, grilled chicken and pizza but each week I like to add in a new or revised recipe. Last week’s “new recipe” was Chicken Marsala. We made the investment into some quality wines, added mushrooms to the grocery list and enjoyed something new. Adding a new meal expands the kids’ taste buds and gets us out of dinner ruts.

Along with the meal plan we always have old standbys for those nights when things just don’t go as planned. Sometimes it’s ordering from our favorite pizza place, sometimes it’s pulling frozen meatballs from the freezer to whip up a quick batch of spaghetti. The meal plan is a guideline to keep us organized during our busy days.

Ultimate Unclog Your Day” Drano® Snake Plus Giveaway
How do you avoid meal time madness? Help others make their family meal time run smooth by sharing YOUR tips and tricks. And to help unclog other parts of your day beyond meal time, we are hosting the Ultimate “Unclog Your Day” Drano® Snake Plus Giveaway. To enter, simply comment below this post to share with us your own tip, trick or idea for a chance to win 1 of 2 $1,000 gift certificates redeemable for a consultation with a professional organizer, a home cleaning service and/or a gift certificate to a major home retailer, provided by Drano®. Use the gift certificate to buy home organizing products to keep your home clog and clutter free!

Follow Mom (@LkWhtMomFound) and Dad (@anddadtoo) on Twitter and tweet this giveaway 1 time per day. For the tweet to qualify, please leave a link to each Tweet on this blog post (not the other blog posts). You can tweet one of these three messages to qualify:

  • Want 2 #unclogyourday? Visit @lkwhtmomfound @anddadtoo for chance to win $1,000 prize to organize your day! Rules: http://bit.ly/npKWGB
  • Drano and @lkwhtmomfound @anddadtoo want 2 #unclogyourday! Enter for chance at $1,000 prize! See rules: http://bit.ly/npKWGB
  • Check out @lkwhtmomfound @anddadtoo for a cool contest. Unclog your day w/ a $1,000 prize! See rules: http://bit.ly/npKWGB

Subscribe to LookWhatMomFound…and Dad too! via email or RSS feed, bottom of page.

To receive these extra opportunities for entries, you must first leave a comment describing ways to unclog your day on the blog post.
Your entries must follow the linked rules or they won’t be eligible for prizes. This contest ends 11:59 pm, September 13, 2011. The winners will be emailed and will have 72 hours to claim their prize. For complete rules please read the Ultimate “Unclog Your Day” Drano® Snake Plus Giveaway Contest Rules.

Drano® Snake Plus
The new Drano® Snake Plus can help you unclog life’s toughest messes. Drano® Snake Plus is a brand new, innovative product that resolves the toughest clogs the first time, guaranteed or it’s free!* Drano® Snake Plus combines a flexible, easy-to-use 18-inch tool with a powerful pro concentrate gel, the thickest and most powerful gel from Drano® that clings directly to the clog, quickly dissolving it.

Drano® wants to help families everywhere unclog their days to enjoy more quality time with family and friends. Thanks to Drano® for sponsoring this fun campaign.
*see drano.com for more details

Disclosure: LookWhatMomFound.com is working with SC Johnson to help get the word out about the new Drano® Snake Plus. We are paid to write about Drano® Snake Plus, but our thoughts and opinions are all our own.

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  1. My husband and I unclog our mealtimes and arteries by not eating meat. Cooking is less complicated that way, and so much healthier, especially heart healthy. I don’t remember which brand it is, but someone makes a delicious veggie meatball that would be great with spaghetti if that’s your thing. My husband’s thing is meatball subs, and they are EXCELLENT for that. Sub rolls, those veggie meatballs, jarred pasta sauce, and shredded cheese. It’s ready in a snap and you feel like you’re eating something that’s not good for you because the veggies are hidden! My husband didn’t even know the difference.

  2. Ashley H. says

    I make a menu at the begining of the week so I know exactly what we are going to have and what I need to get from the store so i don’t have to make multiple trips.

  3. Angela A says

    I like to stock up on groceries and keep of list of what is going low and I have it ready in our pantry or frig. so that I don’t have to stop what I am doing to run to the store. I have little stickies and notes all in my purse, my desk at work, and at home. lol (I run to the store on my lunch breaks sometimes at work).

  4. Angela A says

    Follow Mom (@LkWhtMomFound) and Dad (@anddadtoo) on Twitter @lecreolemoon is me!

  5. Angela A says
  6. Mandy O says

    We keep two note pads on the refrigerator. One is a running grocery list which we add to as we use the last of something, or as some crucial item is getting low. The other pad is for our meal plan for the week. Breakfast is generic, so it is not listed. Lunch is listed so that I will know if there is anything special. For instance, I don’t need as much sandwich meat if my husband and I both have several lunches out/catered for work. Dinner is planned on Saturday. The relevant items are added to grocery list. Once the shopping is done, we are ready to go! One other handy tool I use is just a running list of meals and sides. This helps for when I am “brain dead” when meal planning.

  7. Judith says

    I am in the same boat. I have tried making ahead meals spending all day making meals for the week. I hated this. I tried weekly family meal planning that one is not so bad. As the kids got older each person responsible for 1 day this one is good for a month and then we starve 6 out of 7 days. So unless you love to cook I think that life will go on as before and the grill cheese optiion.

  8. ginette4 says

    This is how I avoid mealtime madness, I plan the meals weekly, took out what I need the night before (out of the freezer) and once we arrive home I always have some veggies cut up and set them on the table so everyone can eat a healthy snack while they do their homework and I prepare the meal.

  9. Katherine says

    I plan my mealtimes with a menu monthly, usually on Mon. pasta, Tues beef, Wed Pork etc>>>>>

  10. We unclog mealtime with the Crockpot especially in the winter. Throw all the ingredients in before we leave for work, put it on a timer and we come home to a delicious meal. During the summer we take a different meat out every morning and grill as much as possible. If we forget pasta is always our back up. It is easy and requires no prep. 🙂

  11. My best tip for avoiding meal time madness is freezer cooking! Make a big batch of food ahead of time and freeze it for quick meals later. For example, you can make homemade burritos, wrap each one in foil, and tuck them all in a large ziploc bag in the freezer. When you’re ready to eat, just pop one out and heat in the microwave! You can either set aside an afternoon to make a large quantity of food to freeze, or just double one meal during dinnertime and freeze half. Thank you for the awesome giveaway!

  12. I follow you both on Twitter (@hardertobreathe) and tweeted this here: http://twitter.com/#!/hardertobreathe/statuses/101774096253202433

  13. I subscribe to you RSS feed using Google Reader via this Google account – supercoupongirl AT gmail.com. Thanks!

  14. One of the best tips I’ve learned to avoid mealtime madness is to prepare meals in advance. Prepping meals a head of time can help you keep your sanity ( well maybe mine) but really, it helps things run more smoothly and you’ll have more time to unwind, relax and enjoy your family.

    I also have my kids help me prepare meals. I’m not sure why but when they help out they seem to want to eat more of it without complaining too much about the veggies they love to hate. And also, not forcing foods they don’t like also help mealtime to be less stressful.

  15. I subscribe via email.
    cocktails with mom {at }gmail {dot} com

  16. Judith says
  17. Tara O. says

    I avoid mealtime madness by having a list of meals for the week with recipes handy. I also keep several quick and easy meals on hand (frozen pizza, soup, etc.) for days when I don’t feel like cooking.

  18. Tara O. says

    I subscribe to your emails!

  19. i avoid mealtime madness by cooking in bulk on sunday afternoon. that way we have meals easily accessible in both the fridge and freezer throughou the week.

    julie_reuter92 at yahoo dot com

  20. Chelsea Reboulet says

    We use our crockpot! It makes meal time a breeze, start a roast in the morning and when you get home in the evening dinner is done and the house smells wonderful!

  21. I make a list of dinners for the week before I go to the grocery store and many times I extra-cook on Sunday to save time during the week so we can just “reheat & eat”. I also have my children help cook dinner with me to save time; someone makes the salad, another cooks the potatoes or bakes brownies for dessert; it helps them learn how to cook and saves me some time in the kitchen too.

  22. Alicia E. says

    I avoid mealtime madness by making sure we have “essentials” in the house like chicken breasts, eggs, spices, potatoes…things that we can throw together however we feel like to make quick, delicious meals!

  23. Alicia E. says

    I subscribe to Look What Mom Found by email and Google Reader RSS!

  24. We plan weekly meals and keep quick to prepare meal items on hand in case some unforeseen circumstance prevents us from preparing the planned meal, items such as spaghetti, hamburger helper, etc.

  25. subscribed via email

  26. Jeff Legg says

    My wife and I work oppiste shifts so that someone is always hone with our impaired son, so mealtimes are all over the place with each of us usually eating at different times. On grociery day we talk the weeks meal ideas through for each day, making a list of what we need, then usually my wife gets most of the grocieries and I end up cooking the boys dinners. Sometimes she makes up a big batch of something that we will eat on for a few days. But it all starts with a little family planning session.

  27. I love to mealplan. It also helps to unclog your day because there aren’t those last minute trips tothe store for items missed/or needed. It really irrates me when I decide what I want to make for dinner and I am missing one ingredient… When I get home and relax..the last thing I want to do is run out to the store.


  28. Donna B. says

    I unclog my day by using online grocery shopping at my local store. I shop during my lunch hour, and pick it up after work. I’m still able to take advantage of all my stores sales & coupons, plus I save a TON of time and avoid impulse purchases.

    • Donna B. says

      I also make use of ready-made items from the store, like rotisserie chickens and premade salads to help with mealtime. Add a frozen vegetable (nuked in the microwave) and a bagged salad, with some bread from the bakery or frozen dinner rolls (heated in the oven) and I can have a tasty, nutritious dinner on the table in under 10 minutes (plus I make extra, so I have leftovers for lunches the next day).

  29. For meals I always make sure we have enough staples in the house to make something quick and easy. I’m also not afraid to make someone else cook, if they’re hungry, let them do it!
    hmcnaron at gmail dotcom

  30. Donna B. says
  31. Donna B. says
  32. Donna B. says
  33. Donna B. says
  34. Donna B. says
  35. Donna B. says
  36. i plan my meals on shopping day so i know what i need to have in the house, so things don’t get clogged
    nannypanpan at gmail.com

  37. e-mail
    nannypanpan at gmail.com

  38. Donna B. says
  39. Leslie Galloway says

    To keep mealtime from becoming, “Let’s just go somewhere…” I keep a binder of my super-easy recipes that have really basic ingredients. That way if one of the kids has swim until 4:30 or we just stay too long at the park, I always have time to throw something together.

  40. Leslie Galloway says


    following mom & dad
    user: GallowayLeslie

  41. Leslie Galloway says


  42. stacy h says

    i am a big fan of the freezer! every week i try to make a menu incorp. easy meals, freezer ready meals, something new and something that will have enough leftovers i can freeze for later. that way we have a constantly revolving menu, no one gets bored, we aren’t tempted as much to eat out, and we save a lot of money! balance is definitely the key. i look forward to involving my kids in cooking when they are a little older, too. might not be as quick but think it’s important =)

    hancoci_s at msn dot com

  43. kathy pease says

    my kids are teens so each night we take turns making meals it is wonderful 🙂

  44. kathy pease says

    rss google feed subscriber kathypease(at)gmail(dot)com

  45. Donna B. says
  46. Steph A says

    We try to plan out meals ahead of time with a weekly meal plan, we trade off on making meals and we eat alot of leftovers!

  47. brian e. says

    Thanks for the giveaway…since we do our grocery shopping on the weekends, we prep all the vegetables we will be using during the week for salads, cooking, snacking, etc. Saves time when you can just reach in the fridge to grab, for example, two cups of carrots to add to a recipe, etc.

    senorpiero [at] yahoo [dot] com

  48. Donna B. says
  49. Donna B. says

    I Subscribe to LookWhatMomFound…and Dad too!

  50. susan smoaks says

    one way to unclog is to learn how to say no, you cannot do it all!

  51. addrienne mertens says

    in this family we eat whats put in front of us. we know the uncertainty of meals in the past has taught us just to eat it with no fuss and everyone helps to buy and prepare.

  52. addrienne mertens says
  53. addrienne mertens says

    i subscribe to the emails
    thank you!

  54. Cee Love says

    Although I do not use a meal plan or calendar at all, I feel that the way I do mealtime can be a little organized. I am one of those people if I want chicken today or beef, that is all I can eat so pre planning never works for me. Here is what I do instead.
    1. I cut all my veggies, onions, green pepper and other peppers, carrot, celery, etc or side dish veggies as well I prep them and divide to appropriate 1 meal sizes. The best way to do this is all at once and freezing your veggies twice. What I mean by twice is I will cut up all my onions both sliced and diced then I will take 2 cookie sheets and lay them on it in a thin as possible layer and freeze. Then once frozen I store them in a freezer container or freezer bags. This keeps the veggies from sticking together and makes the container or bag have a .prefect grab as I need option. I also do the same with meats separating in to particular sizes I want and/or cutting as I need and freezing twice if multiple meals are packaged together. Keep flour, sauces, spices, side dishes, whatever you prefer your food to normally be cooked with I.E. My favorite is Hosion sauce I keep that in stock. Then I say I want chicken in the morning, pull it out to defrost, and all the other ingredients I need or at hand and do not need to be defrosted.

  55. Cee Love says

    I am following both of y’all as @cheap4kids

  56. Cee Love says

    I subscribed to your e-mail.

  57. i’m not a great cook but I’m learning to utilize the crock pot more and have had some great successes. Doing this helps us have easy nights where we can just come home, eat and spend time together instead of me being in the kitchen