Thursday, November 13, 2014

Menu Planning

I will be the first to admit, I am one of those people that get "hangry", so I was happy when they invented a word for it.  After working all day, I don't mind coming home to make a nice meal, but I do not want to be struggling to figure out what to make and try to throw something together from whatever is in the fridge/cupboard. 

I thought I would share some of my tips for menu planning:

Pick a day where doing a full grocery store trip works for you.  For us, that is usually Sunday, but if your time is more flexible, there are certain days at the grocery stores when the food is fully stocked, when things are marked down, or when it is less busy.  Find out what works for you. 

On the day before or the morning of that day, make a menu for everyday of the week.  Look at your calendar and plan around nights when you (or all of you) are out of the house and when leftovers are needed for lunches. 

When Dave and I will be home alone at suppertime, I like to make something the night before that we can just reheat, or pick something that Dave can make before he goes to pick up E.  That way we are less busy getting supper ready while trying to entertain E.

Cook big pots of things to reheat or freeze.
Another consideration when planning is looking to see what you have in the fridge or freezer and what you can use up before it goes bad.  Or picking a couple of recipes for the week that will use up all of the ingredient you have to buy, like boxes of spinach, bunches of cilantro, etc.
Using up leftover turkey and orzo pasta

I find a lot of recipes on Pinterest, and I have lots of favourite cookbooks as well. 

Write down your menu, preferably on a chalkboard so that everyone in the family knows what you're having. 

Make a complete grocery list from the recipes, and then go through your fridge and cupboard to check off what you already have.  Even though I'm in the kitchen when making the list, I sometimes forget to add items to my list thinking I already have them, so if you just add everything, then you can go through and check before you shop.

Then you're ready for the week.  Planning ahead ultimately makes everyone happier - you're eating better meals, you're throwing out less food, and you aren't scrambling at the end of a busy day. 

Good luck!

Avoid cooking what is just lying around in your cupboards

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