Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Guest Post - Meal Planning by Cara Heard

Guest post by my friend Cara.
Cara has the meal planning thing nailed. I aspire to such organization!

I really have been trying to meal plan. Sometimes, like tonight, it goes out the window. Tonight Griffin was asking for tortillas, Jon's not here, I didn't feel like cooking; so we went to Taco Bell. Here is my post on meal planning:
Saving money with Meal Planning. It is best to go through your pantry and refrigerator and freezer to determine what ingredients you have in stock. Then you can determine what meals your family likes that involve those ingredients. I try to keep my pantry stocked with go to ingredients we always seem to use and try to always stock the freezer when go to meats go on sale. I have read several articles on meal planning and there are two different versions that people use. There is either a set schedule plan, where you eat the same types of meals on certain days or more of a free form plan. On the set schedule it could look something like this, Monday is Pasta night, Tuesday is Taco night, Wednesday is Breakfast night, Thursday is Asian night, Friday is Flexible night, Saturday is Salad night, Sunday is Pizza night. While I like that plan, I never seem to stick to it. So mine tends to be more of the free form variety. Last week was set up as this: Saturday, we had company so I cooked spaghetti all day, served it with salad, cheese bread and pound cake with strawberries and whipped cream and wine. I like to write it all out so that I a.) don’t forget anything and b.) it reminds me what I need to do the day before or earlier in the day, like making up the pound cake and buying the wine. Sunday, I had the whole day laid out since we had company still. Breakfast was waffles, eggs and bacon. Turns out we were too low on waffle mix to make that so we had toasted leftover pound cake instead with the leftover strawberries and whipped cream. I had planned to do grilled cheese sandwiches and salad for lunch and leftover spaghetti for dinner. Monday was sautéed lime chicken, with cilantro lime rice and black beans. Tuesday was oven “fried” chicken, leftover rice and steamed broccoli. Thursday was breakfast for dinner, since it is the only thing my husband really cooks so we had waffles, I had purchased the batter mix by then, hash browns, bacon and eggs. Friday was frozen pizza night for my boys since I was going to a girl’s night at a friend’s house. They ended up meeting a friend out for pizza at a restaurant though. So here is the breakdown of how I came to those decisions. For Saturday, I already had in my pantry, most of the ingredients for my spaghetti sauce and all the ingredients for the pound cake and the strawberries in my freezer. I had canned tomatoes, spices that I keep in my freezer which was recommended after my husband attended some food classes for work. They keep longer and as a bonus, it gave me more cupboard space. I also had noodles in the pantry and meat and cheese toast in my freezer and garlic. So all I had to pick up was red onion, bell pepper and salad ingredients and a carton of whipping cream. For Sunday, I thought we had pancake mix to make waffles (turns out not enough so we improvised), and already had eggs and bacon since my husband had brought home a lot of bacon from work, he works at a pork processing facility. For lunch I had bread, cheese and the leftover salad from the previous night’s meal. And dinner was leftover spaghetti. So I needed to buy nothing for Sunday at all. Monday, I always have rice and black beans in the pantry, I had chicken breast in the freezer I had bought when it was on sale, so all I needed to buy was cilantro and lime. Tuesday, more frozen chicken, this time tenders, I had corn flakes in the freezer from the last time I had done this recipe, had parmesan cheese and eggs in fridge. So all I needed to purchase was broccoli. Thursday, I bought some pancake mix at store for the waffles and had the rest already. We had a frozen pizza in the freezer he could have warmed if he had wanted it. So basically all I needed to buy was produce to round out my dishes. Good luck and I hope this saves you money and time. Doesn’t everyone hate figuring out what to cook every single night? This way you only have to plan on one day and the rest of the week is easy as pie. Hmmm… pie sounds good. Wish I had the ingredients for it now!

Thanks, Cara! thegriffinshow.blogspot.com

No comments:

Post a Comment