Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

February 10, 2013

"Meal Planning"

I say "meal planning" in quotation marks, as I don't truly consider what I do to be a formal process.

I cook breakfast every day...the hubs and I usually eat cereal, and the girls have their rotation of oatmeal / cream of wheat, scrambled eggs / Greek yogurt / cottage cheese, and fresh fruit.  On the weekends I make a "family" breakfast, often French toast or banana pancakes.

For lunch, I usually send a sandwich to work with hubby and I make one for myself.  I try to rotate the girls between a sandwich + veggie + fruit one day, and then an all veggie / fruit lunch the next.

I don't count those meals into my "planning".  I always have those staples on hand.

My "planning" comes into play at supper.  On average, I cook three dishes a week.  I plan for leftovers, with the intention of us eating each meal twice.  Some weeks I might cook a fourth quick meal, or one dish might last us three meals, or we might get a pizza or a rotisserie chicken.

Each week, I think about what dishes I'd like to make.  I check what I have in the pantry / refrigerator / freezer, and make my grocery list from there.  I try to make different kinds of dishes...not three stews, for example.  And I try to vary the primary ingredients...not three chicken dishes.

None of this is rocket science, I know.  A couple of months after the girls were born...when I was doing my best to establish myself as the stay-at-home-mama-with-the-mostess, I discovered one thing that has been super helpful.

I keep a log of the meals I make.

I don't do this in any kind of formal fashion.  I used to write in a pretty journal, but this year I switched to an Excel spreadsheet.  I jot down the meals I made, and where I got the recipe.

The beauty of this comes when I inevitably feel that "I don't have anything to make"..."I'm tired of everything"..."what in the world can I cook this week?"

I can glance back over the past couple of months and realize, "It's been two months since I made white bean chowder, it's high time I made it again" or, "I forgot about that chicken recipe from Pinterest, and we all loved that."

I share this little tip, as it's an easy way for me feel a little more on top of things in the kitchen.

(And I'll also share this little funny...the pretty journal I used to employ?  It was once...long before children...a wine journal.  My, how times have changed!)

Week Dish Source
31-Dec Stuffed shrimp / bacon-wrapped smokies…appetizers Allrecipes / Pinterest
  Honey chicken Pinterest
  Chicken in creamy pan sauce Recipe binder
  Baked shrimp scampi Allrecipes
7-Jan Chicken breast in the crockpot with spaghetti sauce Crock pot cookbook (adapted)
  Chicken pot pie Allrecipes
  Mexican style chili (with black beans) Kitchen Primer
  Cheese ball / stuffed eggs / veggies Pinterest / mine
14-Jan Pork loin / sweet potatoes N/A
  Pork loin made into gyros N/A
  Juvec N/A
  Shrimp cocktail N/A
21-Jan Split pea soup Heathly Choice cookbook
  Garlic cheddar chicken / fresh corn Allrecipes
28-Jan Potato soup my recipe box
  Spaghetti with meatballs Allrecipes
4-Feb Baked chicken with Dijon mustard and maple syrup Pinterest
  Chicken pot pie Allrecipes
  Juvec N/A


Brad Jenkins said...

I was wondering how long it would take you to mention Excel in this post. Thanks for not disappointing!

Anonymous said...

:) i do the same type of thing...but i need to be more formal about keeping a list. we also get into a groove. we really really like korean beef right now, so we'll eat that every week. but then i forget about the stuff that we had in december :)

maybe i'll have to get over my hate of excel!