Welcome to my new plan to keep my blog current. I am going to have set topic categories each day that I will blog about. Today’s category is Meal Plan Monday.
Some people plan meals while on the way home in five o’clock traffic. If you’re one of those people as I used to be (and sometimes lapse into being again), there is hope.
There are several ways to approach meal planning. Some plan the next day’s evening meal the night before after supper. Some people plan weekly or bi-weekly. As for me, I try to plan my meals monthly (although I often alter it to suit my needs throughout the month).
Even of those who plan monthly, some do a weekly (or monthly) meal rotation, repeating the same items month to month (or even week to week). I do not do this. Yes, we usually have some form of Tex-Mex during the week and pizza usually on Fridays, but I don’t repeat the same 20-30 meals over and over. Although, now that I think about it, that would make things easier.
I also don’t usually plan all three meals a day. As I mentioned in a previous post, I keep a stockpile of items that can be used easily for breakfast and/or lunch. I also try to keep potatoes, canned veg, frozen veg, fruit, rice, and pasta handy for supper sides. I focus on only the main dish of supper with vague mentions of side dishes.
I’ve also built up enough of a rotating protein stockpile so that I can plan most of my meals a month in advance. If I don’t have quite enough, I know that I will have enough by the time that date rolls around because usually the major protein sales follow a predictable pattern. Some people plan weekly based on the circulars. I use the non-perishable and protein items found in the circulars to plan future months’ meals. If a perishable non-protein item is on sale one week, I might swap out a meal using that ingredient for a meal I wasn’t completely happy about making (like lasagna from a super deal on ricotta and cottage cheeses).
I plan with leftovers in mind. Sometimes, it may mean making several things out of one ingredient (such as a roast or boiled chicken), utilizing the mean in two or more meals and the broth for another. Sometimes planned-overs (planned leftovers) means making extra rice when rice is a side to make fried rice later. Sometimes it means having the exact same main dish more than once in a week (or making two casseroles and freezing one for later–or for a neighbor or friend in need). I also sometimes plan a leftover day or a clean-out-the-fridge-and-freezer day. I will be posting my very soapbox-y opinion on leftovers a bit later this week.
So, the meal plan task is much less daunting this way. I know if I have a plan that I won’t be sliding into a drive thru lane (avoiding eye contact with those who judge me for my Taco Bell addiction) or worse, a booth at a “moderately priced” restaurant which, of late, has become disappointing in most cases–or at least not as often.
I try to wait until I have Josh’s schedule so that I know what to plan and when. This morning his boss e-mailed the schedule, so I am super pumped to get planning. I write the meal plan on my special Brookshire’s Celebrate Cooking calendar. Then, each Wednesday when the ads come out, I make my grocery list and (usually) shop on Saturday.
So, looking at this week’s menu plan, I planned the following:
Today: Chicken Enchiladas (ding! Tex Mex)
Tomorrow: Italian/pizza/BMT sub sandwiches
Wednesday: Loony Leftovers (including freezer), hot dog, or scavenge
Thursday: frito pie/chili-frito haystacks
Friday: pizza in some form (ding! pizza)
Tune in tomorrow for Tip Tuesday where I explain what does (and does not) work for me in the Pinteresting Blogosphere.