A few simple guidelines can make daily meal planning easier, quicker and more rewarding:
• Begin with a main dish for each meal, then add appropriate side dishes, striving for complementary flavors as well as a variety of colors and textures.
• Plan two- or three-component meals, using purchased items as well as from-scratch foods.
• Be realistic about the amount of time you have for meal preparation. When you have time, freeze an extra casserole or even leftovers in individual portions.
• Develop a repertoire of quick "dress-ups" (easy additions to purchased foods) to quickly produce tasty, appetizing dishes.
• Keep you menu lists to reuse, mixing and matching recipes later on.
• Solicit ideas and input from your family.