meal planning how-to & two weeks worth of meals
((This post is dedicated to two women I love so much and am
so blessed to have as cousins. Sarah & Jess, this one's for you guys. xoxo))
I don't know about you, but when I know what I'm making for dinner and have all the ingredients on hand, my afternoon goes so much better.
Like everything in my life, I go through phases where I am really good about meal planning and phases where I'm not at all. In the off phases I end up spending more money on groceries and more time stressing about dinnertime...it's not fun.
I'm at the point where I have quite a few meals that I know are easy to make and also taste really good so I have no excuses! My favorite recipe inspirations & resources are: everyday food magazine , allrecipes.com (of course), tasteofhome.com, foodnetwork.com, and clean eating magazine. I also love to browse foodgawker.com .
If I'm going to shop on Wednesday, I like to start planning on Monday. The first thing I do is go through my fridge/freezer and take note of what I've got on hand. Here's what I found on Monday when I looked:
(Grass fed, organic ground beef was on sale last time I shopped so I stocked up. :) )
The next time I have a few minutes, I start browsing though my recipe sources (as listed above) or my actual old-school recipe box, keeping in mind what I've already got on hand as starting points. I start making a list and either pull recipes or bookmark them online for the next pocket of time I get. I try to plan for 2 weeks at a time because I don't like shopping more often than that. (Even if I only plan for a week, though, it's still worth it.)
The next time I've got some time, I start my grocery list. I always shop with a list or I would forget
75% 98% of what I need. :) I go through each recipe and write what I need to make it, grouping items together by what section of the store they're in. If I don't know if I already have something in my cupboard, I write a check mark by it and "check" it next time I'm in the kitchen. If I've got it, I cross it off of my list.
In this case, I have ground mustard and breadcrumbs so I crossed them off of the list after I took this picture.
I'd like to note that I don't write out a plan for breakfasts and lunches most of the time. We eat the usual suspects for those meals so I always buy the same stuff: cereal, yogurt, bread, cookies, fruit, blah, blah, blah. I add that to my list when I'm all done if I didn't already do it.
I also always add a couple "easy" options for those nights when things go awry. Canned soup, chicken tenders or mac and cheese are always good to have around. :)
After this, I'm ready to shop! Once I come home with everything, I'm not set hard and fast on which day I serve what. Things shift around some but it feels SO GOOD knowing it's all HERE. I do try to think ahead a little bit so if I'm going to make Rotisserie Chickens on Wednesday, I can take them out of the freezer on Monday...things like that.
Here are links to a lot of the recipes on my list. (Some of them are regulars for me and I don't really have recipes for them...like tacos and pizza.)
pot roast & vegetables (I add my potatoes in with the beef and carrots. the secret to good pot roast is to cook it longer. if it's tough, it's not done.)
chicken barley soup (I'll use leftover rot. chicken for this)
Please let me know if you have any questions and/or if you found this helpful. I'd be happy to do it again if it helps someone!!
xoxo, dear ones.