I am not sure if I have shared this before, but over the last year I have become a serious meal planner. I figured I would share with you what I do when I meal plan so it might help. I use a form that you can get if you sign up for emails from this website.
I used to just add meals randomly but I have developed a method that works for me, although it may not work for anyone else. I will share my basic premise as follows. I like to cook new recipes constantly. I have a few tried and true ones I make for company but when it is just me and my husband I cook new things all the time. I like to expand my horizons and I try not to get bored. The only things I tend to avoid are seafood.
I use this meal plan to plan out five dinners, which usually make enough for the two of us and leftovers for lunch, three breakfast ideas, and depending on how light the dinners are I add in a lunch idea or a few for backup meals in case we run out of food. I also usually use the snack section to make a dessert for the week, because I have a serious sweet tooth. I always say I have a dessert stomach and will always have room for dessert. I like this form because it allows me to write my grocery list for the week right on the plan and I take it to the store with me to go shopping. Although sometimes my list ends up at the bottom and the back of the page depending on what is currently in our house.
One other thing I do is at the top I put a note and star things I will need to do ahead of time, whether it is freeze a banana or cook a chicken breast or whatever needs to be done before I start the recipe to make it easier. These things I typically tackle on Sundays. This means I am reading recipes ahead of time so I know what will need to be done in advance to make my life easier.
I start by thinking about what I would like to test for the blog this upcoming week. Then I look at the cook books I am currently cooking my way through, which I wrote about before. I am currently cooking through a cookbook of family recipes, which I refer to as the Yellow Cookbook, as it is a yellow binder that contains my holy grail recipes. My yellow binder has recipes that I have cut out of cookbooks with an Exacto knife as well as family recipes and they are in sheet protectors. I have cooked all the main recipes in my Yellow Cookbook with the exception of dessert & extras (spices, nuts, sauces). Once I have filled my list with those recipes, I think about recipes that are seasonal. Finally I add recipes from a list I cull through the blogs I have read. I use Pocket to store all those recipes and just select one from there to cook. I typically favorite the recipes that are seasonal and start there. My lunch ideas are typically my go to we ran out of food recipes, fried rice, dragon noodles and turos csusza, which I will eventually share on this blog.
I figured I would start sharing with you what I actually cooked in the past week so you can be excited about what is yet to come and I can keep you up to date on what I am cooking. I also figured it would be a good way to share cooking gems I have found along the way. My Instagram photos will most likely reflect these dishes as I cook them, in case you are looking for the recipe or where they are from.
Last week I ate the following:
(Sunday through Saturday)
- Baked Beans with Sweet Potatoes and Chipotles from the New York Times (but I topped it with some extra brown sugar)
- Grilled Cheese with Salami and without Salami
- Turkey Potstickers (testing for the blog)
Overall: This past week I cooked for only myself, so I ate much less variety than normal. I enjoyed the baked beans, but to me none of these recipes were worth making again.
Hopefully this inspires you. I have to say meal planning changed my life and has made me able to really budget when it comes to food in a way I found difficult previously. If you have any questions or want to know more leave me a comment and I will respond as best I can.