Need Menu Inspiration? 5 Meal Ideas

by lydia on January 23, 2012

Need Menu Inspiration? 5 Meal Ideas
I’ve had countless people ask me what they can eat or make for their families that is easy, healthy and affordable. I also know we all get in a rut sometimes when it comes to meal planning, that having some fresh inspiration from others can be very helpful. So if that sounds like you, I have some good news. From now on, each Monday, I will post 5 dinners that my family enjoys.

Around here, we consume pastured/grass fed meats at every meal, lots of veggies, very little grains or starches, something raw or fermented at every meal if possible, and as much in season as possible. We eat soup or stew as a family at least one meal per week in the winter, as it is a total budget saver. Often we’ll have leftovers on the weekend so I can take a break from cooking.  We don’t have desserts very often, perhaps once per week. All our food is gluten free as well. If that sounds like the way you would like to eat, then be sure to subscribe to my feed and have a week of meals in your inbox each Monday. I may or may not include links to the actual recipes I post. The point of this is mainly to inspire ideas to implement.

Dinner #1

Spaghetti and Meat Sauce (with brown rice noodles for the kids – I used a variation of the recipe that I linked to for the Meat sauce, I’ll be posting my version soon!)

Zucchini ‘Pasta’ (for me – I use this handy little tool to make zucchini noodles)

Grated Raw Parmesan Cheese

Mixed Baby Green Salad with whatever veggies I have on hand chopped up and thrown in

Homemade Salad Dressing (my kids love my Poppyseed dressing, but usually it’s just a very basic vinaigrette)


Dinner #2 (for a busy night!)

Applegate Farms Grassfed Beef Hot Dogs, pan fried in lard and served on skewers with no bun. Organic ketchup and mustard for dipping.

Sliced veggies (We always have carrots and celery, sometimes cucumbers, peppers or snap peas.)

Homemade Ranch Dip

Popsicles (made from leftover smoothies)


Dinner #3

Fish in Parchment Packets (We use Wild Dover Sole or Cod and lots of fresh veggies and herbs. My kids love to help make this meal!)

Sauteed Veggies (whatever you have on hand)

OR,  a side of rice (soaked or cooked in broth)


Dinner #4

Braised Country Style Ribs (These were SO good!)

Broccoli Steamed in Chicken Stock

Roasted Butternut Squash

LF Apple & Beetroot Relish


Dinner #5

Slow cooked beef roast cut into cubes with beets, turnips, leeks and kale.

Raw Fermented Sauerkraut

These dinners were actually my meal plan for last week. I have 5 people in my family and the last two meals gave me some leftovers which we then ate on the weekend. Get more of my meal planning tips here, along with my FREE printable meal plan template.

My kids did not love the beets and turnips, but ate the meat in the stew I made. I often make meals that I know may not go over well, just to keep introducing a variety of foods to them, in the hopes that one day they will try it. It has worked often!  Besides, they need to know the world doesn’t revolve around them and I LOVE beets and turnips, and they are in season right now!

Hopefully, this week of meal ideas has fueled you to create some wonderful dinners for your own family.


Meal Planning Help

If you’re interested in using a meal planning service, I highly recommend Real Plans. I have been using them lately and they have been a true lifesaver. It’s a meal planning service that you can join (monthly or annually) and have access to their amazing database of recipes. Each week, they map out a meal plan for 5 breakfasts and 6 dinners and some extras to have on hand. It’s very customizable and user-friendly.



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Emily @ Butter Believer January 23, 2012 at 10:29 pm

Hey Lydia, I sent my readers over your way this week since I didn’t have a meal plan of my own ready yet! Hope you don’t mind. Funny that we both were thinking of something like this! Except, you’re amazing and have a week’s worth of your own recipes to share every week, while I continue to beg for them from my readers. LOL! xoxo ~emily

lydia January 24, 2012 at 6:52 am

Emily – you are so cute! I have no choice but to have a menu in my house – 4 kids kinda makes it really necessary! I will likely just post my menu plan from the week prior every week!

Write On, Jana! January 24, 2012 at 8:23 am

Between you and Butter Believer, I will have this meal planning thing down by spring… seriously! Thanks so much for the great ideas…

Suzanne January 30, 2012 at 8:39 am

Great post, Lydia. There are so many things on here that I want to try. I love beets and turnips too. Here’s one for you that’s great. Mashed white or sweet potatoes with turnips and parnips. The kids won’t even notice. I bet if you roasted the beets at about 450 for 20 minutes — cooked in coconut oil and a little S & P they’d devour them.

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