Meal Planning

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I think I mentioned awhile ago that my husband and I do our best to plan our meals for the week.  It’s a total lifesaver!  Things can get hectic during the week, so it’s nice to have something organized to grab onto.  It also helps us eat better.  When you have a menu planned for the week and all the ingredients nearby, you’re less likely to order pizza (we still slip sometimes though, real talk).  We used to plan Monday through Friday, but always found that come Saturday we had nothing in the fridge.  We’d end up scrambling to think of something and not eating as well.  Now we plan Saturdays along with everything else and that buffer keeps us consistent through the week.

There are several things we consider on Sunday mornings as we plan for the week:

Do we have a surplus of anything?

How do we have 3 bunches of broccoli, 4 bags of mushrooms and somehow no eggs?  I’m trying to be better about not wasting food.  One way to do that is to use up stuff before it goes bad.  In an instance like above, we’ll make a plan to have stir fry that week.  Chicken breast, whatever is in the veggie drawer, and some sauce gets thrown in the wok and served over rice or noodles. An instance like theabove is also a good reason to make an omelet, frittata, or Egg and Quinoa Cups.

 

What’s on the calendar for the week?

We typically entertain at least once a week, so we try to take a look at the calendar to see what we have going.  We have a board game night with friends every Thursday.  As I’ve mentioned, I serve a dessert for that, so I’ll plan what that dessert will be.  My husband also has his gamer friends over once or twice during the week. When that’s the case, I’ll either make a dessert for that or we’ll serve an appetizer or dinner.  That also gets added to the list of things we’ll be preparing for the week.

 

What are we getting in our Full Circle bag?

I’m not sure how may of you have heard of Full Circle.   It’s similar to a CSA in that you get farm-fresh organic produce once a week.  It differs from a normal CSA in that the produce is delivered to our doorstep and we can swap out things we don’t want.  Our bag from Full Circle comes on Thursday mornings.  As part of our meal planning process, we’ll check to see what we’re getting and see how we can use the items. We also take this opportunity to swap out things we don’t want.

 

Are there any recipes we’ve been wanting to try?

I am always seeing new recipes on some of my favorite blogs or other places online.  All of this gets added to my Pinterest board, so I’ll often take a look at that.  We also subscribe to a monthly box from Turntable Kitchen.  In that we get an LP, a few recipes, and at least one ingredient for the recipes.  We still have a lot of those recipes we haven’t tried so we’ll flip through those for inspiration.

 

Is there something I am making for the blog?

I have a calendar I try to stick to for the blog. That means I am always testing a recipe or am making something that needs to be photographed, sometimes weeks in advance.

 

Can any of the leftovers be used for lunches?

My default plan for work during the week is granola with Greek yogurt for breakfast and Egg and Quinoa cups for lunch.  However, sometimes it’s nice to mix it up.  I look at what we’re making for the week and if it looks like it’ll be good for lunch, we’ll plan to make a little extra.

 

Once we’ve answered all of those questions, we put together our game plan and also write a grocery list.

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Grocery list in AnyList

Sometimes we’ll do the shopping on Sundays, but usually my husband does it on Mondays.  We recently found an app called AnyList and it has changed our lives!  We have multiple shared lists on it, like a running grocery list, a Costco list, a Target list etc.  It’s great because we can both add to the lists whenever we want and then when one of us is at the store, we check the list and get what we need (I sometimes feel like a stalker because if I happen to look at the grocery list as my husband is shopping, I can see where he is on the store by what he’s crossing off the list in real time- so weird!).

 

 

 

Here is our menu for this week:

Monday (Memorial Day): BBQ ribs, potato salad, grilled Zucchini and cornbread

Tuesday: Pulled pork mini tacos

  • My husband Derek is having his gaming group over on Tuesday, so we wanted to make something easy and hand-held.  This fit the bill.

Wednesday: Kale Salad and Sesame Shrimp

  • This Sesame Shrimp is something I make a lot, so I’ve been meaning to finally photograph it and write down the recipe for the blog.
  • Kale Salad is great for lunch, so we’ll make enough to have leftovers.

Thursday: Baked potatoes with leftover pulled pork and fix-ins from Tuesday, Game night dessert: Aunt Betty’s pound cake

Friday: Hoisin Beef lettuce wraps with sautéed sugar snap peas from the Full Circle bag

Saturday: Grilled chicken with Turntable Kitchen (TK) Peach & Tomato Panzanella Salad

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Our menu board

Planning our meals for the week takes about an hour on Sunday mornings and is definitely worth it.  I hope this helps some of you.

What are your tricks for staying organized?  What meals do you make just for the leftovers?

 

 

 

4 Comments

  1. Great tips, I am meal plan every week but I'm awful about making the meals, lol!
  2. Great tips, I meal plan every week but I'm awful about making the meals, lol!
  3. I love this, as a single person household I make one crock pot dish and subsidize that with rice or a salad and that's my lunch all week at work. I'm way worse with making dinner every night, especially in the summer I will usually just eat Popsicles or popcorn.
  4. I just checked out AnyList Very cool-can't wait to use it!

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