Meal Planning – What We Do – and Assigning Chores

-By Tammy


We have got it pretty well down after 20 years so I tend to forget how challenging meal prep and chores can actually be in a marriage. Yet, this is something that over 50% of couples argue over! The wife doesn’t feel like she’s getting enough help, you have no idea what to have for dinner and 4:59 pm, the husband is tired from work and the last thing he wants to do is housework. We get it! But that’s also why it’s so important to have a chore list and meal planning set in place beforehand. Everyone in the house should have jobs, I mean, they live there, right? No ONE person should be doing everything. It takes everyone to make a smooth-running household and it WILL NOT just happen on its own.chore chart

I know it may sound juvenile but it’s really not. It’s smart. Having a chore chart is essential. Start by writing down all the household things that need to be done daily, weekly, and monthly. Then assign. Ask who wants what. If no one pipes up, assign things. Make it as even as possible and talk about the reason behind assigning things. Maybe someone is really good at vacuuming, maybe another is great at cooking, and I know, not everyone likes to do chores, but they are part of living in a household, so get over it.

They hold people to it. Sure there are things that come up, but for the most part, it’s up to the person that agreed to do the chore, in the beginning, to complete it and stay on task. AND it’s okay to remind the members in the house to complete their chore, just not in a condescending or nagging way. If everyone stays on top of chores, no one feels like they are doing everything.

Chore Chart

Every household is different but I wanted to be really transparent and tell you about our system, which works for our family:

TimTIM:

Works on our business about 40% more than I do so I do about 40% more household chores than he does. He pretty much handles the garage and some outside things.

  • Xander and Tim trade-off mowing the lawn back and forth.
  • Tim vacuums probably 30% more than I do.
  • Cleans our shower
  • Get the mail

TAMMY:Tammy

  • Meal preps, shops, and cooks most dinners (because I love it) – Kids are on their own for lunch and breakfast with food provided because they are old enough now to feed themselves and put items on the shopping list when we run out. I am not responsible for remembering to get their food items. It’s their responsibility.
  • Clean kitchen
  • Pays bills (yes, this is a household chore. Someone needs to do it!) 😉
  • On Friday is laundry day. I try and do it all at once and be done. If there is laundry in the room, I’ll do it all together. I’ll fold and put away our own clothes, not the boys.

XANDER:Xander

  • Empties garbage, recycle, and compost when asked
  • Mows lawn every other time
  • Trades back and forth with Caleb on emptying the dishwasher (They each have a magnet and they swap the magnet depending on whose turn it is.
  • Bring laundry to laundry room if they want me to do it, Then I dump it on their bed to fold and put away. If it’s not in the room on laundry day, they must do it themselves.
  • Pick up dog poop
  • Trade off with Caleb cleaning the litter box
  • Take all garbage bins to the curb on garbage day

CALEB:Caleb

  • Trades back and forth with Xander on emptying the dishwasher
  • Sweeps upstairs and stairs at least once or twice a week.
  • Empties garbage in bathrooms and downstairs
  • Clean his bathroom
  • Trade off with Xander cleaning the litter box
  • Bring laundry to laundry room if they want me to do it, Then I dump it on their bed to fold and put away. If it’s not in the room on laundry day, they must do it themselves.

This list is subject to change and grow as other needs pop up. If they do not complete a task when asked, the Internet is shut off (usually the cause of not completing a job). These jobs can be on a paper on the fridge or on a list somewhere until everyone knows their jobs. But stick to it! Consistency is the key to getting things done all the time and for no one feeling overwhelmed that they are doing everything. Everyone can see they have a job. Everyone must agree to the plan and be responsible. Then you’re not arguing against each other but the plan THEY all agreed to. Different perspective.

Meal planning

Then comes meal planning.

This seems to be one major course of contention in many households. People need to be fed, we need to eat, obviously, so why is this so hard? Well, if you don’t like cooking it can be painful! So then we cheat and eat fast food because it’s easy, cheap, and convenient, but we all know it’s not healthy. Eating at home is always a healthier option and cheaper too. I think it’s just a lack of planning.  If we get ourselves in a habit of chores, then we can also get into a habit of meal prep.

There are literally millions of recipes out there. Easy ones, quick ones, cheap ones, etc.. But because of this, it can seem overwhelming. Just start with one week. If you feel like doing a month at a time is more obtainable, do that. Spend at least an hour, usually at the beginning of the week or your day off and find recipes your family will like. Write down a shopping list of items you’ll need that week and shop once and done. Look at what you have going on in the week and whether a quick meal, slow cooker or Instant Pot® meal would work and plan around that. Make more complicated meals on nights you have time.

When the kids were actually in school, I bought a good balance of foods for them to grab and go. They picked one from every box or tray and got their milk, water, or juice at school. They were responsible for breakfast.

A friend actually asked me about my meal prep so I wrote up the following on what we do. Tim suggested we add it here for reference. This isn’t everything we do, but a good percentage of it. Some are easy, some are a little more complicated. This is a little rough but I think you get the idea.

You can download the PDF and pop it on your fridge for a quick reference but here’s our list and how I meal prep (And this is KETO-Friendly very low carb as we have been doing this for about 9 months now.)


Meat

Chicken Breasts (OR A rotisserie chicken from the store already cooked)

Fajitas | peppers, onions, tortillas, toppings

Shredded for tacos

Split and stuffed with cheese and spinach (frozen spinach rung out) Bake

Herbed chicken on a sheet pan with all veggies (one and done)

Cheesy stuffed Poblano (https://www.ibreatheimhungry.com/cheesy-chicken-stuffed-poblanos-low-carb-gluten-free/#0xPQDxw62dMZgFx4.32) MY FAV

Cooked and sliced and made into a chicken Caesar salad with romaine lettuce, croutons, Parmesan cheese, and Caesar dressing (Substitute Salmon or Shrimp) – this can also be wrapped into a tortilla as a lunch item or rap

Cobb salad with chopped chicken, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, nuts, and bacon with your choice of cheese on a bed of lettuce and any dressing

Teriyaki chicken burgers, marinate chicken breasts in teriyaki sauce, bake, grill, or sauté them until done, top on a bun with a canned pineapple slice, swiss cheese, lettuce and tomato

Chicken Thighs

barbecue chicken on the grill with barbecue sauce

Coat in seasoning and roast in the oven with slices of lemon and onions

Chicken Wings

Big bag from Costco, lay them out on paper towels to thaw and dry off, lay them out on a sheet tray, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake for one hour at 425°. They are delicious as is or you can put in buffalo wing sauce, barbecue sauce, or anything else the kids like

 

Pork Tenderloin (smaller)

Sear on the stove and then roast until internal temperature is 145°

sauces or toppings as you cook could be:

  • soy sauce and ginger,
  • barbecue sauce,
  • garlic and lemon juice
  • honey and balsamic
  • wine and mustard

Roast in a pan with cubed sweet potatoes and apples

Pork Loin – Bigger Can be done as any of the above, just not as tender

Pork Shoulder (butt)

Perfect for the instant pot or crockpot, low and slow

  • Can of tomatoes with cumin, salt and pepper, and chili powder
  • Orange juice, cumin, salt and pepper and a little lime juice

Can be shredded for tacos, pulled pork for pulled pork barbecue sandwiches, heat up on the flattop or on a grill for crunchy bits for carnitas

make it into a delicious sandwich with crunchy bread, grilled onions, cilantro, garlic mayonnaise, and romaine lettuce (makes a killer sandwich)

 

Ground Beef

Hamburgers, served with frozen French fries

Meatballs, with spaghetti and sauce, garlic bread and a Caesar salad

Meatloaf, served with mashed potatoes, peas or green beans, or mashed cauliflower

Ground beef tacos

sloppy Joe’s, mix in a can of tomatoes and sloppy Joe seasoning and put it on a bun

Chuck Roast (pot roast, shoulder steak, Chuck pot roast, blade steak, or short ribs)

Cook the same as the pork shoulder. Instant Pot or slow cooker, can of tomatoes, Worchestershire sauce, garlic and onions. Can be shredded for barbecue beef sandwiches, just a plate of shredded beef, can be made into tacos or enchiladas or even fajitas.

Stew meat (top or bottom round)

Chile (https://foodchannel.com/recipes/fire-roasted-steak-chili-beans)

Chili Colorado (I cheat and use enchilada sauce instead of breaking down chilis)

stew with carrots, onions and potatoes

beef stroganoff, slow cooker or instant pot

Flank Steak

Fajitas

Marinated beef stirfry with veggies over rice

a nice grilled steak as long as you cut it across the grain and don’t overcook it

 

Veggies and no meat dinners

Black beans with a have a cup of salsa and cumin stirred in, warmed up, and served over white rice covered in melted provolone cheese

vegetarian lasagna either with noodles or zucchini ribbons. Mix ricotta cheese or cottage cheese with mozzarella, and egg, Parmesan, and roll up in the middle of noodles or zucchini, stack them up right on a layer of tomato sauce, pour the rest of the tomato sauce on top, sprinkle with cheese and bake for 30 minutes. You can add meat to the sauce if you want

Huge baked potatoes with butter, sour cream, sautéed broccoli, cheddar cheese

sweet potatoes, roasted or mashed

asparagus, sautéed in a pan or roasted or grilled with garlic and butter

mushrooms that of been sautéed or roasted, especially in a cream sauce

pan roasted carrots with pecans and maple syrup

roasted broccoli sprinkled with salt and olive oil until crispy

Zucchini and yellow squash, served raw, grills, roasted, or shredded into casseroles

Raw cucumbers in sesame oil and chili flakes OR sliced up and mixed with a little sugar, sour cream and yogurt, salt and pepper

kale salads with sliced almonds and cranberries,

iceberg which salads with tomatoes, avocados, bacon, and blue cheese dressing,

Caesar salads,

Apple Waldorf salad with sliced apples, celery, walnuts, in a sweet mayonnaise dressing

Halved avocados sprinkled with lemon juice, soy sauce, shredded ginger, a little bit of garlic and balsamic dressing

Mediterranean cheese board: the kids actually love this one, get a sheet tray or a big cutting board and put the following on it or whatever you have:

  • sliced deli meats and salami’s
  • sliced cheeses
  • hummus
  • nuts
  • olives
  • baguette bread or crackers
  • sliced apples or pears
  • pickles
  • dried fruit
  • dips or sauces
  • tomatoes or veggies

 

Fish

Fish Tacos

Seared or BBQ

Roast halibut covered with minced garlic and Parmesan cheese and maybe some herbs

Salmon goes really well with soy sauce and maple syrup coated in black pepper

Shrimp over any pasta, salt and pepper and sear

Baked fish – Cod works better dredge it in a little flour, egg, and Panko breadcrumbs or ground up pork rinds and then shallow fry in oil until done

Wrap fish in bacon or prosciutto, sear in a cast-iron pot and then pop it in the oven for a few minutes to finish. Serve on a bed of creamed spinach or wilted greens


The point is to give you ideas for whatever is on sale, in season, or with what you might have on hand. Cook with the seasons, utilize farmers markets, buy good quality as often as you can and savor it! Enjoy your food, rather than just blazing through it to get to the next thing is not really living your life.

So split up that chore chart, start with something tangible and small and build on it. You should be able to find a routine that works for everyone in the house and REMEMBER: BE GRACIOUS! We all forget and make mistakes. Have grace and forgiveness and patience with your family members but remind them to stick to the list so that everyone pulls their weights.

Oh, and I believe that kids as little as 2 can start helping out, even if it’s just picking their clothes up off the floor. Get them started young and develop harder tasks as they get older.

LOVE YOU ALL! ❤️


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