So I want to talk about something near and dear to my
I love food. Re-phrase: I love good food. Food that makes me feel good and food that makes me happy. Don’t we all!
So lately I have been cooking A LOT. We’re talking pretty much double what I was ever doing before because I have a RAVENOUS-MAN-CUB-DINOSAUR-CHILD who eats more than I do (no joke). He eats so much that sometimes I don’t even get as much as he does.
So, meal-planning has been in full swing these days because going to restaurants has long been gone post-child. Take-out is sometimes inevitable but for the most part, let’s just admit it, I’m snobby when it comes to food. I don’t like getting take-out (how do I know if the beef is grass-fed? WHAT IF THEY USED PAM COOKING SPRAY!) Fast food? FORGET IT. I’d rather chew off my own arm. See?
Let’s talk meal plans. Every week I really really try hard to set aside an hour or two to just plan the meals for the week. I make it a thing and make some tea, maybe put on some music, grab a cookie and my cookbooks and start drooling. I have a few go-to cookbooks that I absolutely love and can always rely on because I have mostly tested the recipes and know how they are. So I think the first step in meal-planning is to have good sources (in my case, cookbooks). That may look different for you. Maybe it’s a food blog with great recipes, or maybe you have one of those super-rad old school recipe boxes filled with grandma’s award-winning chili and cornbread-type recipes.
mmmm…chili…is it Fall yet? Ok focus!
After you’re all comfortable in your favorite chair and armed with great recipes, it’s time to decide what is in season. It’s always tastier and less expensive to buy foods that are in-season. I’ll head over to GoodEggs to see what’s looking good and kind of base my meals for the week around the fruits and vegetables that are in season.
Something to note here is that I do have what I call “repeat meals” every week. So that means on certain days, I make the same meal. Every week. It’s just kind of become tradition but it’s also easier for planning because you know that certain days are taken care of. For example, every Sunday night I make a roast chicken for dinner. Then I use the leftovers the next day for soup. I can always count on that and serve it with whatever veggies are in season. Also, pizza night is every Saturday. YUP, we eat pizza once a week. So see? That’s three dinners that I don’t have to come up with every week. You can do as many “repeat meals” as you like. I need variety so I keep the repeats to just a few. But breakfasts and lunches tend to be the same every day, more or less.
Ok, so we’ve figured out what’s in season and we’ve narrowed down how many actual meals we need to come up with for the week. Write down that number and start planning! Look through cookbooks or blogs, or other recipes and whatever pops out at you, bookmark it. Because if you’re really excited about it, you’ll be more likely to cook it. As you’re looking through recipes, have a grocery list going of all the ingredients you’ll need that you don’t have on hand and try to consolidate ingredients for other recipes so you’re not stuck with a pound of carrots but you only need three for the soup you’re making. And that’s really all there is to it. It really just takes a few planning sessions to get into your own groove.
Here’s a couple samples of my weekly meal plans for inspiration. You’ll notice that I repeat or alternate just a couple of breakfast and lunch meals every day but I usually try to keep dinners a little more interesting. Have fun planning!