Back to Me Time: Fall Meal Planning

Food, Menus


There was a time before I spent all of my waking hours on the internet when I would spend my “me time” reading the stacks of magazines that I’d impulse buy while standing on line at the grocery store. In today’s digital world, there is something extra special about receiving a handwritten note in the mail, flipping through a paperback book or settling in for some “me time” with a few favorite magazines and a chocolate chip cookie or a glass of

Last week when I was waiting to check Jewel-Osco, I picked up a copy of People StyleWatch, an old favorite title, and Real Simple, which boasted a feature about “instant meal planning” that included a month of family dinners. As much as I love to read about fall fashion colors and fall decor, it’s a good food or recipe feature that will really hook me.

Though some people criticize magazines for setting impossibly high standards of perfection, I love that the articles and recipes inside are aspirational, but not out of reach. In the 30 minutes that I spent flipping through Real Simple with the television off and my phone out of reach, I felt inspired to create my own meal plan to help me keep organized for the week and on track with healthy eating.

Not only does creating a meal plan leave me feeling productive and accomplished, but who doesn’t love to pore over food photos and recipes for an hour? Even if I stray from this when things pop up like after-work drinks or an impromptu dinner out with friends, it saves me time overall during the week to have a plan in place. Though I don’t plan out my meals every week, it’s been hard to get back into a routine now that fall is here and having a sketch in place is helpful.


chicken broccoli alfredo

Skinny Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo is a perfect way to kick off the week: something that feels indulgent, but will get you off to a healthy start.


shrimp tacos with spicy citrus slaw

Shrimp Tacos with Spicy Citrus Slaw for #TacoTuesday. This is a great recipe all year round and if you’re feeling adventurous, you can enjoy your tacos with a Perfect Margarita.


pistachio crusted pork cutlet

Pistachio Crusted Pork Tenderloin alongside a bed of fresh, peppery arugula. Pick up a bottle of a Syrah full of ripe berry flavors and spicy notes to round out your #WineWednesday.


chicken salad

Keep it simple! Pick up a bag of pretzel croissants on your way home from work — they’re delicious — and whip up a super simple chicken salad with cranberries and almonds.


how to assemble charcuterie

Take the night off from cooking: you worked hard all week and you deserve some “me time.” Create a simple cheese and charcuterie board, Italian chef style. If you’re entertaining friends add a herbed cheese dip too, to add a little more variety. Cocktails, too? Opt for a nice refreshing Aperol Spritz.


classic turkey chili

If you’re tuned into college football, why not make it a little festive? Whip up a pot of easy turkey chili and a loaf of whole wheat beer bread. If you have friends joining you, add either hot spinach artichoke dip, baked goat cheese marinara dip or French onion dip with caramelized onions and thyme.


bacon and egg quesadilla

If you’re lucky enough to enjoy a lazy Sunday, make it breakfast for dinner. Bacon & egg breakfast quesadillas are quick and fun, while a spinach and cheddar breakfast bake may parlay itself into weekday breakfast leftovers.


Bonus! If you shop at Jewel-Osco, take advantage of $1.00 off participating titles (PEOPLE®, InStyle®, ®, Real Simple®, and Sunset®) with this digital offer until 10/18/15 while supplies last.

Tell us in the comments: how do you spend your “me time?” What projects or recipes have magazines inspired you to accomplish?


This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and PEOPLE StyleWatch® and Real Simple® but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #BacktoMeTime

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  • Reply
    Erica (@Erica's Recipes)
    September 24, 2015 at 4:46 am

    I read food magazines like most people read books lol, always turning the corner of a page with a recipe I might “someday” give a try. I do this especially when I travel for work and still enjoy it. Also, I do meal plan, quite a bit in fact, I have to say I LOVE your friday night idea of the cheese and meat board as a meal – I will definitely be trying that!

  • Reply
    Michelle @ The Complete Savorist
    September 23, 2015 at 10:01 pm

    I love my magazines…they are how I get my “me-time” in. In fact, I am about to have some Me-Time with my new Real Simple. Great menu.

  • Reply
    September 23, 2015 at 7:56 am

    I do like flipping through magazines, but I never seem to have the time! I’ll have to carve out some time so I can be inspired!

  • Reply
    Nancy | The Bitter Side of Sweet
    September 23, 2015 at 7:38 am

    I am all about me time but never take the time. I do have a stack of magazines that I need to look at and always need help with meal planning!

  • Reply
    Sheena @ Hot Eats and Cool Reads
    September 22, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    Such a great meal plan! I’d really love to try them all!

  • Reply
    Nutmeg Nanny
    September 22, 2015 at 9:20 pm

    Sooooooo basically I’m coming over to your house this week for all these yummy dinners 🙂

  • Reply
    September 22, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    These are great. Looks like a great way to meal plan.

  • Reply
    Carrie @Frugal Foodie Mama
    September 22, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    I am pretty sure that I have a stack of magazines about a dozen deep that I really need to catch up on! Perfect excuse for me time. And many of them are food magazines, so I am totally taking care of the meal planning at the same time. I like the way you think, lol. 😉

  • Reply
    Katerina @ Diethood
    September 22, 2015 at 10:05 am

    I was just thinking about how I used to go to Walgreens and pick up a bunch of mags to read. I haven’t done that since forever ago!
    I love your menu! Friday is my fave!! Cheese boards are the best. 😀

  • Reply
    Joanie @ Zagleft
    September 22, 2015 at 8:04 am

    These recipes all look fantastic. I love keeping meals super simple and a cheese and charcuterie board is a meal my husband and I enjoy often. I love all your suggestions!

  • Reply
    September 22, 2015 at 7:22 am

    I love reading food magazines and will read people while I’m getting my hair done. I meal plan every week. It helps save money so you don’t waste food and helps you make better choices.

  • Reply
    Andi @ The Weary Chef
    September 22, 2015 at 3:18 am

    All of these look so delicious! I must try each! Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  • Reply
    September 21, 2015 at 9:57 pm

    Your meal plan would fit my schedule perfectly! I take Fridays off too and look forward to a simple bite to eat and a glass of wine to top off the dish!

  • Reply
    Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet
    September 21, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    These meals all look fabulous! I’ve always enjoyed flipping through magazines to look at the recipes!

  • Reply
    Renee@Renee's Kitchen Adventures
    September 21, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    I’m a terrible meal planner, but am working on it!! I’ve started to meal plan and prep as a service to my neighbor, and along with planning her meals, I actually am planning ours too. It’s really such a time saver.

  • Reply
    Michelle @ Blackberry Babe
    September 21, 2015 at 8:36 pm

    I would love any of these meals! And love he charcuterie suggestion. We do that on Fridays quite a bit, when were all out of effort.

  • Reply
    Jaren (Diary of a Recipe Collector)
    September 21, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    I’m all about the foodie magazines! All these meals look fabulous!

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