“What’s for Dinner?”

Ok ladies. I don’t know about you, but I always dread when my kids start asking me, “What’s for dinner?” Like how am I supposed to feed you 3,000 times a day and keep coming up with new ideas?

Last fall I embarked on a mission to get back in shape and eat healthier as a family. Throughout the year I developed systems that made this process easier along the way, and since I am a planner (ESFJ y’all!) this is how I made feeding my family every week easier.

Step 1Go on Pinterest and pick out some yummy recipes and make a board for “family dinner recipes”. I also try to keep adding to this list and mix things up seasonally too.

Step 2Keep a running list on your phone of what you need for the next time you go to the store. I keep mine in categories by which store I buy it from (i.e., Target, Aldi, Costco).

Step 3 Get a cute notebook that you use just for meal planning. I like to use fun pens, too, that are just “mommy’s special markers”.

Step 4Write out the date and days of the week you are planning for in your cute, new notebook and then get out your calendar.

I’m sure you all have busy lives like I do too, so I put down big events for each day as well (i.e., Labor Day, “First Wednesday”), so I know what type of meal to plan for (if any) or if we need to grab something to bring to an event. Then I assign a meal to each day.

Step 5Next, I write out a grocery list for each store I plan on going to that week. Don’t forget to add the stuff from the list you’ve been making throughout the week on your phone!

I do most of our shopping at Target and Aldi (because it is like the dollar store for food!!), but I also go to Costco probably 2x each month. Then I take a picture of my list, so I don’t need to bring my whole notebook to the store. (Yes, I know there are apps for grocery lists, but this is what works for me because I’m still ½ old school.)

Step 6Finally, here is the beauty of the notebook. Do this for about 6 weeks, and you will have a rotation of meal plans and grocery lists that go with them to draw from! When I sit down now to make my plan for the week, I can look back at what we haven’t eaten in a while or what was a family favorite. I also mix things up seasonally, which is why the notebook is nice to look back at too.

Now you are probably wanting to know what go-to meal is my family’s favorite right? Well here you go! It’s a healthy, easy meal that everyone in will love and actually EAT! Win, win!

Taco Bake Ingredients:

2lb ground turkey

Taco seasoning

Refried beans (I like to use black beans too.)

Plain Greek yogurt

Shredded Mexican cheese

Sides: Lettuce, chips, tortillas, tomatoes, salsa, guacamole, hot sauce,


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Brown turkey and add taco seasoning.
  3. Put meat in a 9×13 pan.
  4. Next layer beans on top of meat.
  5. Then add a layer of Greek yogurt (my family has no idea they aren’t eating sour cream), and sprinkle cheese over the top.
  6. Bake uncovered for 30min or until the cheese starts to brown and bubble.

Serve over lettuce, tortilla chips, or in a tortilla. I love to make this into a salad with some crumbled tortilla chips, salsa, and Cholula sauce for some kick! (And my husband thinks Guacamole is an added bonus too.) Enjoy!)

Kari Brookins is a stay-at-home mother of three from Mounds View, MN. When she isn’t mommin’ so hard, you can find her in the gym, hanging out with friends, or reading books for fun. She loves coffee, beach vacations, football, and Asian food. Kari and her husband have been married for 11 years and have been attending Substance for five years.

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