Thursday, October 22, 2009

Meal Planning


For a while, I was making a meal plan for the entire month and somehow sticking to it! It was a joy to be able to look at my list in the morning and know what we would be having for dinner. Things were easy then...but somehow I got away from monthly meal planning. I started back up recently with weekly plans for a month, and then two days ago I totally pulled the trigger on making a meal plan for the rest of October and I am SO glad I did! It really makes things simple to be able to look at the list in the morning and not have to think about dinner as much. I think it's also cost effective because I'm able to plan ahead and use up a lot of the bargain meat I have in the freezer, instead of running out every couple days for meat. As a rule, I try to incorporate at least 2 crock pot meals each week, as well as at least one leftover day a week.

For those who want to start meal planning, the first step I use is to take an inventory of food/meals I have in the freezer, fridge and pantry. You have to know what you've got to work with...and if you're like me, chances are there are packages of frozen meat that have been lingering in the back of the freezer.

After taking an inventory, make another list of all the meals your family likes to eat. Even if it's things that you don't have ingredients for on-hand. You still need a master meal list to give you ideas of recipes for the month.

Finally, take a 3rd piece of paper (or use the computer if you prefer...me? I'm a pencil and paper kind of gal) and merge the two other lists. My advice is to work with what you have on-hand to create a month of meals that you know you and the family will eat. Also, remember to build in meals of leftovers every few days. And you can also plan to double cook...ie, make a double batch of chili for week one and freeze half for another meal during week three. See how easy!!?

Here's the rest of my month, in order:

shrimp with tarragon pasta
homemade pizza
out to eat (if I'm lucky!)
ranch chicken
crock pot tostadas
gumbo
italian beef
quesadillas (from left over beef)
quiche (to use up eggs and veggies from fridge)
fly to new orleans (yippee!)

Do you meal plan? Let me hear about it!

1 comment:

TJ said...

I like to meal plan each week. I have the worlds smallest fridge/freezer and a very pick BF. lol So on Sunday I make a trip to my pantry to see what I have- them take out some cookbooks of just see what we feel like. I like having my BF pick new recipes out as well. Sometimes I get stuck eating the same thing and it is a great way to add new meals to the line up. Since it is just the 2 of us we always have leftovers so I either make lunches out of them or save it for another meal. Helps keep me on track for sure! :)