I’m no Lucy Ricardo. I have never planned meals. Can you believe it? I’ve been married for six years and rarely have I been truly ready for mealtime. It didn’t bother me until Emma was born, and then I started wishing for something different – to be actually ready for dinner. I was tired of staring blankly into the refrigerator and wondering, “What can I make for dinner?” when my stomach was already growling. Not planning your meals is a sure way to keep you reliant on quick foods that aren’t necessarily good for you. We shop at Costco and so bought a lot of chicken pot pies, frozen meals, and mixes. We barbecued, and I ate a lot of rice (I actually love rice so this works for me – but my husband doesn’t care for it so it’s been different for him, lol).
I also have become bored with making the same meals over and over again. Go-to recipes have been spaghetti and meatballs, meatloaf and rice, fried chicken, burritos, beef stroganoff, and pasta alfredo with chicken. Good food but they get old eventually when you eat them every week for years. ;-)
I hope my mother-in-law isn’t reading this post. LOL
So I decided last month, in the midst of my pregnancy starvation (man, I am hungry ALL THE TIME!), that I was going to try some new recipes and have a PLAN. So I looked through my way-understocked pantry and freezer and wrote down all of the main ingredients that I had. Then I began searching slow cooker recipe blogs; I had decided to start with crockpot recipes since they’re easy. I searched for recipes with the meat and ingredients I had and started adding them to a calendar.
Oh, this is the online daily meal planner (free!) I’ve been using to get organized and I love the way it’s working so far! I’ve just been adding crockpot and casserole recipes along with the link to the recipe under the day I think I might want to eat it. I’ve added a pizza night and leftovers night, too. What I like about this particular calendar is that I can drag and drop the meals onto different days if I change my mind (which I usually do) – I don’t print the calendar out because I want to be flexible. Here’s a screen shot for this week (click to see it full size):
Monday: Leftover night (pasta)
Tuesday: Crockpot Cranberry Chicken (recipe)
Wednesday: Twice-baked Potato Casserole (recipe)
Thursday: Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwiches
Friday: Pizza night
Saturday: Chicken pot pie (recipe)
I planned for the entire month and made a list with the ingredients I would need to buy. It worked out well and wasn’t too expensive, either! I like this way of planning our meals. :) And I’ve already tried three new recipes, two of which were keepers! I’ll share those in the near future.
Hopefully I’m able to keep this up. I am planning on making extra to freeze in the months before I’m due to give birth so that I won’t have to think about meals, though.
Do you plan meals? What’s your method?
This post linked to the Menu Plan Monday Linky at OrgJunkie.com!
I am not affiliated with the free Meals Matter planner – just wanted to share that I like it!