Whether you are a beginner in the kitchen or just want to begin again, check out my tools and tips for meal planning.

It’s so simple, and the best part is that once you start the system, it will grow, become more refined and make meal planning as easy as 1-2-3.

But that’s not all!  There are many benefits of using my guide to meal planning.

– Going to the supermarket becomes less of a chore.

– Think of all the time you’ll save while shopping.

– You only buy what you need, which means you’ll spend less money.

– You can budget better (and who doesn’t wish they had extra money in their pocket).  

– You’ll be able to coordinate foods to use in various meals throughout the week which will help minimize food spoilage.  That’s another big money saver!

With my system, you’ll end up making what everyone likes to eat, so as I always say, you can “Keep everyone around the table happy.”

What you want to do is print a blank calendar template.  And look! I’ve made one for you, and it’s a free download. Click here for my Free Meal Planning Calendar Template.


The Beginner's Guide to Meal Planning - Instant Download

Here is how I started out and you can adjust this to suit your family’s tastes.

I started by choosing two evenings a week for meat/chicken meals. (We always have fish and meat/chicken on Friday night for Shabbat, so this is two meals in addition to that).  

Monday & Wednesday: meat/chicken

Sunday & Thursday: dairy

Tuesday: fish

Saturday night: pasta or pizza 

If you keep kosher, the advantage of choosing your meat days is that everyone in the family knows when the dairy days are and to not get fleishik by mistake).

It should look something like this:


Here I have one fish, two dairy, three meat/chicken.  It almost sounds like a Dr. Seuss book.  If you eat a vegan or vegetarian diet, just fill out your calendar template accordingly.

Start by filling in meals that you know your family likes to eat.  Do a little research though rebbetzinunplugged.com for other recipes your family will enjoy, including starters and side dishes. Then add those to your new calendar template.  

You don’t have to fill out the entire month at once.  Even if you have just two weeks filled out, you can repeat those meals. 

As time goes by, add new meals that your family enjoyed and you can remove ones that didn’t go well. (Eventually, you will have three months worth of meals to choose from).

When you have about three weeks worth of meals, take a weekly calendar board like this one, and pick 7 meals from your filled out calendar.  Add a green vegetable and a starch and youre ready to go.

It’s as easy as that.  It takes about five minutes and you’re all done!  If you’d like to take a peek at my three months worth of meals, you can check that out here.

From Spaghetti and Meatballs, to Vegetarian Lasagna and Risotto, these meatless lentil meatballs are so easy and delicious, they’ll be stars amongst your dinner rotation ideas.

Everyone’s Looking for New Ideas for Dinner 

How about a new twist on an old classic.  Spaghetti and Meatballs is known to be a crowd pleaser, but more and more people are becoming acquainted with a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.  Or how about that guest who is on a keto-diet?  

Have no fear, lentils are here.  Lentils are a delicious and easy substitute for meat and cheap too.  In additon to being a great source of protein, lentils are also rich in iron, folate and relatively low in calories.

Meatballs without the Meat

Although canned lentils are fine for ready to eat food, I recommend using dried lentils for this recipe.  Dried lentils are better for cooked foods like soups and stews, whether cooked in a traditional pot or in a crock pot.

Dried lentils are easy to use.  Just rinse them well and cook lentils like rice, one cup of lentils to two cups of water.  Each cup of dried lentils yields approximately two and a half cups of cooked lentils. Another benefit of using dried lentils is that you control the salt/sodium content in your food.

Alongside rice, lentils should be a staple in everyone’s pantry, whether you are new to cooking or very experienced in the kitchen.  Lentils come in many varieties and can be seasoned in a myriad of ways, making them an ideal addition to your cooking, from a simple meal to an extravagant one.

Easy & Delicious 3 Ingredient Olive Dip. Green and black olives, olive tree sprigs


Real Life Meatball Story:

This story has become one of my children’s favorites.

Before we got married, my Italian husband and I were speaking on the phone.  Hearing the pots clanking and the water rushing from the faucet, he asked what I was up to in the kitchen.  

In his Italian accent, he started the conversation with:

Him: Are you cooking?

Me:  Sure am.

Him: And, what are you going to cook for dinner tonight?

Me: I’m making Spaghetti and Meatballs.

Him: What?

Me: Spaghetti and Meatballs

Him: What’s that?

Me (concerned): What do you mean?

Him (questioningly): You’re having pasta and then you are having meatballs as the main dish?

Me: No, just the classic Spaghetti and Meatballs.

Him: Um…..classic? How does that work?

Me (puzzled): What……..?

Him:  Like, are you going to eat it all at once, everything together?

Me: Um, yesss..…

Him: What do you do, put a meatball on top of the pasta?

Me: No, they are small. Some on top, but most mixed into the spaghetti.

Him: Interesting…..we don’t usually eat the meatballs mixed into the spaghetti.

And so, there you have it! American girl meets Italian boy and now he loves my Spaghetti and Meatballs! Especially when it’s with these meatless lentil meatballs.

Meatless Lentil Meatballs

No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4
A Meatless Dinner That Everyone Will Love


  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup sliced onion
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 egg


  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Rinse lentils well.
  • Add lentils and water to pot.
  • Bring water to a boil, then simmer for 25 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, saute onion until carmelized.
  • Add shredded carrots and continue to saute’ for 5 minutes.
  • Combine cooked lentils with onion and carrots and add remaining ingredients, except the egg.
  • Preheat oven to 425 F / 220 C
  • Pulse with immersion blender (or food processor).
  • Add egg and pulse a bit more.
  • Form meatless meatballs and bake on a baking sheet.
  • Brush with extra virgin olive oil.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes. (depending on your oven, you may find it useful to rotate the vegetarian meatballs halfway through cook time).
  • These meatless meatballs are great with spaghetti, as a meatball sandwich or as a Vegetarian / Vegan pate’, similar to refried beans.


Tip #1: One cup of lentils to two cups of water.
Tip #2:  Use parchment paper for quick and easy clean up (Save even more time by using the pre-cut kind).
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: dinner, lentil, lunch, meatless, pasta, vegan, Vegetarian

You May Also Like…..

If you like these Meatless Lentil Meatballs and Italian cooking in general, then you’ll love my Bisse Italian Biscotti recipe. 

What other ways do you incorporate vegetables into your meals? Waiting to read your responses in the comments below!

Pin It