1 February, 2012  |   7 Comments

Meal Plan, Listing and Shopping

Meal Planning

Yesterday, we talked about my thought strategies and meal planning. Today, it’s all about the listing. (Right Homefries?)

Like I said, I list out all the foods that we have that I want to use up.
Then, I list out all the recipes I’ve seen that I want to make.
Then, I list the ingredients I need to get at the store.

The Listing of the Recipes
It’s hard to come up with recipes.

New recipes are scary and daunting and not to mention all of the questions in my head:
Will my picky three year old eat it?
Will my meat-obsessed husband eat it?
Will it be good in leftovers?
Can I make twice as much ahead of time and freeze?

The only way I overcome my fear of new recipes is by challenging myself.

Self challenges include:

  • No recycling a food-related magazine unless I’ve prepared at least one recipe from it. (Thanks Melissa Summers!)
  • Make at least 5 recipes from every cookbook.
  • Clean out my Epicurious recipe box every 6 months.

These help me consistently make new foods and try new techniques.¬†And for reals, I am honest with my shortcomings. As aspirationally Vegan as I am, there’s just no getting around that dinner for my family includes a starch, a veggie and a big chunk of protein, usually meat.

Another way I challenge myself is through interesting side dishes. Side dishes are perfect for safe weekday dinner experimentation. I’ve made an amazing spinach and ricotta filled cannelloni slathered with marinara that I served with just plain roasted chicken breasts. (That’s another dish that can be made ahead of time, frozen and tastes good in leftovers.)

The Listing of Meals, part one
I already have my list of foods in our cupboard and refrigerator.
With that list, I get some recipe ideas. Then I write down a sketchy, ugly list (list number two!). I list out a tentative first meal plan. On that meal plan, I make it scribbly. Then, I add dishes I want to make, ingredients be damned.

I look at when we’re eating chicken and what dishes leftover chicken can go into.
I look at when it’s a good time for something complicated.
I look at if I’ll be home for dinner.
Then, I look through the recipes I want to make and list out what I need to buy.

On that same piece of paper as I’ve scribbled draft 1 of our meal plan, I write my shopping list.

This same piece of paper thing is important. When I have the meals I want to eat all on the same list as my ingredients, I’m constantly surprised about what I forget.
(e.g. Oh RIGHT, I forgot we’re out of rice.)

The shopping list includes new ingredients as well as items copied from the big chalkboard in our house, that holds notes and reminders as we run out of supplies (contact solution! diaper wipes!) during the week.

We have drawings

The Listing of Groceries
The shopping list is also grouped in terms of grocery store layout. You know your grocery store as well as I do. Let’s organize the list by the way we shop. It saves oodles of time.

(My grocery list is grouped: Vegetables, Meat, Pantry, Non-foods, Dairy, Bakery.)

Meal Plan

Now I’m not going to pretend I always only go to the store once a week. We house a tiny almond milk addict as well as a handsome dairy milk addict. We eat roughly 89 eggs a week. We’re going to run out sometimes.

But by making this effort, I keep my trips minimal. I do my best.
(Just like you.)

So tell me about your grocery list, what works for you?

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7 thoughts on “Meal Plan, Listing and Shopping

  1. 1

    […] Jane! You're my meal planning guru! I love it […]

  2. 2
    Hanna says:

    Love that picture of your girls all dressed up!

  3. 3
    michael says:

    well, i thought i was organized, but i guess not! You taught me a thing or two… Thanks :)

  4. 4
    BethT says:

    First, I want to know what cheesy tomato toasts are. And second, I have a new attitude about meal planning and I am conquering this week with renewed gusto and excitement!

  5. 5
    Becca says:

    wish i am organized like you! I like the dress of your
    princess.

  6. 6
    summer says:

    Wow! This has changed my whole view of weekly meal planning. Thanks for the template. There is a filled out one on my fridge as I type this.

  7. 7
    elaine says:

    i too try to make a meal plan and grocery list every weekend. i usually plan the meals around, recipes i want to try, what we have at home and what is on special at our local market-it totally helps! i love that you wrote all this out-i actually did get the idea from your meal list some time ago…THANKS!

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