Friday, June 1, 2012

Meal Plan(ning)

I am a total foodie. I love cooking. I love eating. I love the beauty of food. I love it all. Such a love can get quite overwhelming when it comes to grocery shopping and preparing meals day-to-day. It can also be very expensive. In the interest of avoiding bankruptcy, I must meal plan.

I have found that my discovery of Pinterest has revolutionized how I plan meals and write grocery lists. See something delicious? It is as easy as repinning for later or clicking through immediately to the recipe. The night before I head out to the grocery store, I head to my "Noms" board and browse past finds for dinner inspiration for the week. I bring up all of the recipes, write down the ingredients I know that I need, and viola! my list is pretty much complete. It's easy; it's fun; it provides a plethora of diverse options you may not have thought about on your own.

Anyway, here was my meal plan for the week:

Tuesday: Cajun roasted whole chicken, roasted sweet potatoes, and green bean, corn, and tomato salad

Wednesday: Jerk Salmon bowls with mango salsa

Thursday: Roasted corn chowder with chicken, lime, and cilantro

Friday: Balsamic grilled summer vegetables with basil quinoa salad and grilled tempeh

Saturday: Leftovers or dining out

Sunday: Pork chops, wild rice, steamed broccoli

These days are not set in stone, they are just a general guideline. For instance, if Jason came home and wanted to go out this evening, I would just prepare tonight's planned dinner tomorrow night. You have as little or as much flexibility as you would like, depending on how perishable your food is.

Tomatoes from the garden

Hints and tips:
  • I usually start my week off by roasting a whole chicken. It's cheap, easy, delicious, and the leftovers can be used to create a new meal(s) later in the week. Example: I used the leftover chicken from Monday for the chowder on Wednesday
  • I also try to concentrate meals using fresh produce toward the beginning of the week, so they don't go bad.
  • When looking for recipes, I go as seasonal as possible. This week's meal plan was heavy in tomatoes and corn because I am currently up to my ears in cherry tomatoes from the garden and corn is 20 cents per ear at the grocery store. Seasonal produce is far superior, and it saves a lot of money.
  • I aim to make at least one freezer-friendly meal each week. This helps with future, busier weeks, when I don't have time for chopping, sauteing, and baking a full meal from scratch. If I always have a meal or two in the freezer, then I always have a backup plan. This is especially useful on a Saturday evening when you are just too lazy to cook.
Meal planning is totally different (and often non-existent) for everyone. I hope insight into my ways prove helpful to you. When executed from a different angle, sometimes what was once a major chore can become a lot of fun (especially if you add a glass of red wine to the process ;-) ).

Happy Friday everyone!

No comments:

Post a Comment