How I Get Protein-Rich Dinners On The Table With Ease

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Last week was officially the first week of the Fabulous Fall Challenge and I promised to share how I get simple, protein-rich dinners on the table without a big fuss. Let’s talk about getting wholesome meals planned and done without the pomp and circumstance. I promise I’ve found an easy way!


When Superman and I met, I was a workaholic stylist that didn’t eat very much food, especially meat. Dinner for me usually consisted of a big bowl o’ cereal.  He was a country boy that was used to meat-veggie-potato dinners – if you know what I mean.  

Oh Geesh, this should be interesting!

I had not learned how to cook one single thing growing up and now it was crunch-time. It was just me and the cookbook I received as a wedding gift. I started with convenience meals from boxes, then moved up to semi-homemade meals where I started substituting in real ingredients, and finally I learned how to recreate our favorite southern meals in a healthier way without losing the flava and that resulted accidently in plenty of protein-rich dinners.

The real breakthrough was when I figured out how to plan meals, buy ingredients, save loads of money, and then get those meals on the table in the quickest and easiest way possible. One thang is for sure- if there is a shortcut, I’m gonna find it but it just took me twenty forevers to figure this one out. I’m prayin’ that this helps you bless your family with amazing food but also blesses you because now, you can finally have fun and not dread it like tax season.

What’s amazing is that instead of dreading it, I adore planning, buying and cooking meals for my family!


Where to start

1.  Only think about meals for one week at a time

This cuts down on the overwhelming pressure to do too much at once.  I personally try to grocery shop every Friday so I know that I need to have meals to get me to the next Friday…and that’s all.  

2.  Know how many meals this week to plan for

Superman and Princess go on a Daddy/Daughter date so I know I don’t have to plan for that meal each week. Fridays we have “family movie night” so we’ll get take-out and watch a movie unless the hubs wants to grill a steak and potato.  That leaves me with only five meals to plan for the upcoming week.

3.  Look at the calendar for the coming week to see what activities you have planned

I know that each Thursday night, I need to have a crockpot meal because I will be gone most of the day.  I know on another day of the week that we’ll be heading out the door about 5:30 so that night’s meal needs to be quick or on the go.

Now that you know how many nights you must prepare for and how many crazy nights that you will need on-the-go meals, what will you cook?  I start with a list of the {mostly lean} proteins that I will plan my dinners around.

  • Chicken
  • Ground Beef
  • Cubed Steak
  • Fish
  • Seafood
  • Pork
  • Egg
  • Ground Turkey

Next, I check for any leftover meals in the frig or freezer that I can jazz up, add to, or change completely. I can usually plan a meal from a one leftover meat in the frig with random ingredients. I always have eggs in the frig so I know I could fall back on breakfast-for-dinner if I need to. OK, so if meal #1 is made with chicken, and meal #2 is breakfast for dinner, then I’ll plan the other three meals around the other meats so we won’t get bored.

4.  Check your freezer for meat

Hopefully I can find at least a meat or two in the freezer that I can plan a meal around. This week I found leftover ham we had cooked for our Son’s wedding reception and a pack of pork chops. We typically don’t eat pork that much but guess what? We are this week! I’ll just be sure to space these out from each other.

Yipee, now I only have to purchase and plan for one more protein in one more meal.  Woohoo.  

5.  Add a vegetable and a good carb and you’ve got a meal

You’ll get better and better at this part, and later we’ll talk about using the veggies and carbs that are on sale at your store.

See how easy that was?!  I just wanted to take you through my “thought process” of how simple this can be once you plan around your protein first.

If you need some meal ideas to use with your protein-rich meats, I’ve shared how to cook Cube Steak, Tilapia, Meatloaf, Parmesan Pork Chops Chicken, and Salmon. Next in the series, you’ll come along as I show you how I take the next step and save the most money on those ingredients you do have to purchase to complete a week’s worth of meals. 


Lose the stress and get you excited to cook protein-rich dinners for the week


More you may like:

Guilt-Free Chocolate Chip Muffins

How to Make Taco Soup – Yum!

Bulk Coconut Oil – How to sneak it!

Healthy Meal Plans

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Published on HuffPost and Okefenokee Living Magazine and other publications, Shan is a Family Travel Journalist and lover of all things ‘calm & cozy home.’

She shares travel reviews & insider secrets that Women REALLY want to know about southern family destinations and creating cozy homes they can’t wait to go home to.

Her hope is that overwhelmed women feel like family travel and cozy home gurus in their own right.

☕️ It’s THE REAL DEAL around here ☕️



  1. October 14, 2015 / 11:33 am

    Oh yes, this system of planning a week ahead and working with you have is an excellent one! With my family of 12 this plan has been a blessing for us!

    • Shan
      October 14, 2015 / 11:52 am

      Thanks Haley! Yes, I wish I had learned this a long time ago. It sure makes my life more joyful and less stressful. 😉


  2. October 14, 2015 / 3:36 pm

    Great tips! This is pretty much how we do things after some trial and error. Planning for longer than a week is really daunting, and I find it makes me feel deprived because over the coarse of a month I am almost certain to want to change my mind.

    • Shan
      November 1, 2015 / 6:10 am

      Yes, one week is all I can do right now too, Kerry! It makes everything so simple knowing I only have to worry about seven days at a time with shopping, prepping, and cooking. I love it.


  3. October 19, 2015 / 5:38 pm

    Wonderful tips. Eating fresh and healthy is so important. I love that your hubby and daughter have a date night each week. That is so fantastic. Thank you for linking up to Tips and Tricks. Hope to see you again tonight.

    • Shan
      November 1, 2015 / 6:11 am

      The date night is super special. Even my son and Hub went on a “guys night” when he was growing up. It warms my heart. Thanks!!!


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