Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Meal Planning 101

I usually plan my meals out for a month at a time. I have been doing it this way for years just because it helps my mind to see what is coming up and it eliminates a lot of stress on my part. Grocery shopping is easier too. I try to shop for 2 weeks at a time, but I guess I could do the whole month, if I had enough freezer space! :) Here are a few tips of how I plan the whole month.

1. I take a blank calendar and fill in my month. Then I take my home/school calendar to compare and write in the activities that I don't have to cook for...like church events or out of town weekends. I usually fill in a date night on one Friday a month in hopes of getting asked out (hint hint to my dear hubby if you read my blog)!

2. Next, I work the easy meals in. Like Wednesday night dinner that needs to be quick before church or nights that there is ballgame or practice. I have some old standbys like breakfast, grilled cheese and tomato soup, Sloppy Joe's or chili.

3. I like meals that I only have to cook meat once and it will last 2 or 3 meals. A roast in the crock pot is a good example of this. I will cook a roast for Sunday lunch with potatos and carrots and maybe corn and green beans on the side. After lunch ,I will divide the leftover meat and broth into two bowls. In one bowl I will toss the rest of the veggies and a can of tomato soup for yummy vegetable beef soup. The other I will shred the beef, add a can of cream of mushroom soup and some steak sauce. When I am ready to serve that, I will warm it, add a cup of sour cream and pour it over egg noodles for beef stroganoff. Three meals. One roast. Love it! Spaghetti sauce is another meal that you can make extra and have it with noodles one night add seasoning and chili beans and have chili another night.

4. I try to have one or two meatless meals a week. It helps on the grocery bill and they are so easy to make! Pasta is easy with Alfredo or marinara sauce. Beans are not a big hit at our house, but I usually do a pot of pintos or black bean soup once a month....no one complains too much! :)

5.My last few open dates left on the calendar are random ideas. Sometimes we have been studying something in school and we will tie our meal into that. Like Chinese food or pancakes on Fat Tuesday. I may have a new recipe I've clipped out of a magazine to try. If not, I add in some comfort foods like meatloaf or chicken pan pie to complete the month.

6. Another hint I have learned is to always write in pencil. You never know when someone may ask you over or out to dinner....or if your husband decides he wants pizza, by all means... erase that meal and go out.!There are times when Mommy gets to go out for a church meeting/meals or dad needs to cook. I usually rely on the nasty things I cannot eat for those time such as frozen chicken nuggets or ramen noodles.

7. If you are like us and eat most of your lunches at home as well, go ahead and make more and plan for leftovers..if it is not eaten then, it can be frozen for later.

~ If I can figure out how to link my meal calender on to my blog, I will post my meal plans each month for some ideas!


JB said...

YOU are your mothers daughter!

Rachel said...

Awesome!! Thanks for sharing! :)