Join Date: Jul 2008
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I'm thinking that you have made it way too complicated. But that's just me. I start meal planning with what I already have. Write down everything that we are low/out. Then check the store ads for what's on sale. Make my list of main dishes from that. I don't plan side dishes other than having them always on hand. Staples like potatoes, pastas/noodles, rice, vegetables (frozen and fresh), dried and canned beans, fruit are always on the list. Along with milk, eggs, cheese, butter, oatmeal, garlic, herbs and spices. Just about any side dish (or main dish for that matter) can be made from these staples.
I reread your post and then mine. I take back the complicated comment. Upon rereading, I think that we do the same thing. It's just that, after 35 years of doing it, it's all up in my head instead of down on paper. There are some weeks that I don't write anything down and just look at what we have. Then go to the store(s) and buy from memory. We do go to about 5-6 different places for all our grocery shopping. Farmer's market, farm stands, regular grocery store, alternatitive/health food/organic grocery store, over stock stores (Big Lots! and 99 cents stores), Costco.
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