Meal Planning 101

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Food is something that really excites me. I know that sounds weird, but whether you are cooking, dining out or hosting a big dinner party, food usually brings a crowd together. It's not always the food that excites me (although that helps), but the company it brings. I have always enjoyed cooking, and I can thank my mom and dad for that. I grew up in a household that had two working parents, but we always had a home cooked meal prepared for us on the table each and every night. I enjoyed helping them prepare and cook, and that honestly is where I found my passion.

When I plan our meals
Saturday and Sunday mornings after indulging in a large breakfast, I sit down on the couch with an extra large coffee and turn the TV onto the Food Network or the Cooking Channel. Now that spring is here, a lot of the new episodes are airing so I haven't seen them before. If I really like an episode or recipe, I will usually re-watch it once it's over. I watch it the first time to just enjoy the show, but throughout re-watching the episode, I take mental and physical notes. If I know it's something I'd like to recreate, I will write down the recipe/ingredients/instructions. Most times, I will end up going to the website and printing off the actual recipe. I've been doing this for years and literally just have a stack of printed recipes laying around. I've been meaning to organize them into a binder so that I can easily find a recipe. Hopefully there will be a post about that in the near future!

How I plan our meals
Like I mentioned above, a lot of my inspiration comes from watching my favorite chefs. However, I am very traditional when it comes to reading and holding a book. I don't own a Kindle or Nook (is that what it's called?) because I would prefer to hold a real book. The smell of the worn pages just makes me smile. I will literally pick out a cookbook and read it from the beginning to the end like it is a story book. I will flip through the book and once a recipe sticks out to me, I will jot it down. Typically, I will get the husband's approval, but after cooking for him for so long, I kinda know what he likes and doesn't like.  I typically only plan for Sunday-Thursday because we tend to eat out on the weekends.

Once I pick out my recipes, I make my grocery list that includes all of the ingredients that I will need for the entire week. To avoid buying duplicate items such as spices, flour, milk, or ingredients that you typically have on hand, I always check my cabinets and refrigerator to make sure I don't already have it. I can't tell you how much money and time this saves me!

I prefer to grocery shop on Sunday afternoons. This way, I am able to watch all of my weekend cooking shows and can leisurely spend time planning what I want to make. 

Why I like to plan our meals
Saves money - buying in bulk is always less expensive 
Don't have to make multiple trips to store - I have been so guilty of this and have found myself at the grocery store 3-4 times a week and it is miz
Leftovers - I am a huge advocate of taking leftovers for lunch the next day. This saves a lot of money and calories! 
Able to eat earlier - because I already know what I am cooking and don't have to go to the store (because I did this on Sunday), then I can get home and cook right away. Because we are eating earlier, we are able to enjoy the rest of the evening just relaxing.
Healthier - I can pick the fresh ingredients that I am putting into dishes instead of eating processed foods out at restaurants

Favorite Cooking Shows
Pioneer Woman
Trisha's Southern Kitchen
The Kitchen
Barefoot Contessa
Dinner at Tiffani's
Real Girl's Kitchen

I hope this has encouraged you to start planning out your meals. It has really helped me because it now forces me to cook in more since I already have the food on hand and don't want to waste any food!
I would love to hear any of your pieces of advice or what you do to make meal planning fun and easy!

1 comment :

  1. We are big into meal planning and usually do it on Saturday's or Sundays as well! It is a great time saver and a big money saver - now I need to get all the cook books you shared! xo, Biana - BlovedBoston


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