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3 Ways to Plan Simple Menus for Busy Nights

3 Ways to Plan Simple Menus for Busy Nights


I don’t know about your life but ours is a little chaotic sometimes. Between my pastor-husband and cheerleader-daughter, our calendar can get pretty chaotic.  And when our schedule is crazy, the first thing we tend to do is eat out more.  When the ball games start at 4:30 p.m., you can’t really eat before the games … and then they end around 7 and who wants to cook a meal then? So … Taco Bell, Jack’s, or our favorite local barbeque place end up providing our supper.

The problem is two-fold:

  1. It’s expensive to eat out four nights a week, and
  2. It affects our health.

So I’ve been working on a plan for the next few crazy weeks until basketball season ends.  In the process, I realized a few ways to plan a simple menu for the nights when you won’t be home to cook but need to eat something that won’t make you feel terrible when you’re done.

Here are three strategies I’m using to develop simple menus for the busy nights.

Keep it simple.

It’s easy for me to feel like I need to cook a full meal for supper. But when we are not eating until 7:30 or later, we need food that is easier on our digestive system.  I’ve developed a list of simple suppers that take less than 15 minutes to prepare. Meals like vegetable soup with bread or sandwiches with fruit are great examples of the keep it simple plan.

Cook once, eat twice.

I love to plan for two meals when I’m cooking. For example, if I make a ham for Sunday lunch, I set aside some of the meat to make corn chowder or pinto beans later in the week. Both of those can be done in my slow cooker and taste great when we come in after ball games.

Planned leftovers.

Another way to make sure we have something good to eat instead of driving through is by planning leftovers. For example, if I make spaghetti for dinner, I always make enough for us to have it again later in the week. Often on Wednesdays we have leftover night and everyone chooses from what’s in the fridge when we get home from church.  {We also do this on Saturdays for lunch which helps keep my refrigerator cleaned out and saves me from figuring out what to cook twice on Saturday.}

These are just a few ideas … I’m sure many of you have other tips. If you would, please share in the comments how you manage supper on busy nights {and maybe even some of your best quick and easy recipes??}.

image source: picjumbo.com

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Teri Lynne (20 Posts)

Teri Lynne is a word loving, idea slinging, encourager of rest, focus, and embracing life's seasons. Her priorities include good coffee, excellent books, and lingering conversations. She is the author of Parenting from the Overflow and Prayers from the Pews: The Power of Praying for Your Church and the co-author of Self-Publish: Moving from Idea to Product. Teri Lynne and her worship leading husband live with their growing-up-way-too-fast teenage daughter and their ever pitiful basset hound in North Alabama where she finds time to write in between the car line and rotating laundry.


  1. I think crock pots are the greatest invention ever. I still have the first one my Mother in law gave me about 40 years ago and it works just great. I love how I can fix meals in the morning and it can cook all day and be ready just in time for the evening meal. That’s what I like to do to fix meals when my schedule is busy.

  2. I use my crock pot and my rice cooker. I can’t cook too much ahead anymore as I have boys that are hungry all the time!

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