Planning meals for the week? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 06-03-2007, 06:04 AM - Thread Starter
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So this thread in TAO got me thinking.

I'm like the OP there ... no planning, just throw something up. And usually it's a total home equivalent of fast food ... something frozen in the microwave, or pasta, or ... you know.

Have been trying to fix this. Have to learn how to parent properly sometime, right? And that includes feeding my family with a little bit of intelligence, as opposed to making it just something that has to be done so do-it-fast-get-it-over-with.

Okay. So if you make a meal plan for the week, what does it look like? I tried that, and it was, "Sunday, leftovers; Monday, chicken; Tuesday ..."


So is it like that, or is it a detailed list with specific recipes or what?

Will take specific recipe suggestions, too.
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#2 of 6 Old 06-03-2007, 10:04 AM
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I plan menus every week, including breakfast and lunch on Saturdays and Sundays. During the week, it's just me and the baby, and we eat leftovers or Ramen for lunch, plus oatmeal or cheese toast for breakfast. I actually cook those meals on the weekends.

I like to cook, which plays alot into it. I read cookbooks like novels, I subscribe to tons of magazines, and when something strikes me as interesting, I write it down for the next week's menu plan.

When I try to plan by the seat of my pants, we eat really, really simple and easy stuff, like refried bean burritos or quesadillas or grilled cheese and tomato soup. Tasty enough, but boring. So, by planning, I make sure that I get a chance to try all the recipes I stockpile. Otherwise, I'd get into a funk and think we never get to eat anything good, then we'd get take out to solve that, and it's a spiraling downhill kind of cycle.

So, anyway, to answer the question, I plan out the recipes I'm going to use, write down the page and cookbook right on the meal plan. I also plan sides, although my grocery list might say "something green to go with meatloaf." I wait until I'm there to see what looks good.
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#3 of 6 Old 06-03-2007, 11:21 AM
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I plan my menus at least a week in advance, usually two or three. You can see this week's menu in my post in the "weekly Menu" thread (or whatever it is called, a few threads down).

I plan my meals by how much I have to spend on groceries pretty much. I go through the sale ads and check out the loss leader stuff (the items on the front and back pages). Whatever main item is on sale is what we have. This week, it was chicken... so we have four chicken meals for the next two weeks. I always include a few quick and easy meals, like spagetti, soup & sandwiches or bean burritos. We don't usually follow the meals to the letter by day (like Monday we MUST have chicken), but we do use the meal list as a guide since we know that we will have everything on hand to make those meals listed.

I love to read cookbooks and magazines too If I am at a loss or feeling in a rut, I look for something that sounds good to make with the sale item. This week's sale is easy though... chicken fingers, grilled chicken and veggies on salad, chicken tandori, smothered chicken casserole.

The Tabbie Family; DH , DS , DD , a few :, a couple : and me.
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#4 of 6 Old 06-03-2007, 11:22 AM
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Oh, it's "menu sharing anyone"! :

The Tabbie Family; DH , DS , DD , a few :, a couple : and me.
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#5 of 6 Old 06-03-2007, 01:33 PM
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When I've got my act together, I do much as the others - before I go grocery shopping I make a list of 6-7 meals that may get us through a week, maybe 10 days depending what leftover dinners we have, and if we end up out. I don't assign days to the meals but keep the list posted on the side of the refrigerator and choose whatever looks good on a given afternoon.

I keep recipe/dinner ideas several ways. I have a folder of bookmarks for dinner specific recipes (likewise breakfast and snacks), I have a binder with page protector sleeves to slide things in from magazines or friends, I have a few cookbooks, and then there is our Cooks Illustrated collection.

When feeling in a rut I'll either browse or go to the library. Most cookbooks don't have many recipes I'm terribly interested in so the library is *wonderful* for trying out a few things before deciding to buy. When browsing allrecipes I've stuck to only recipes with five stars and I usually skim the reviews to see if there's a consistent recommendation for a change to the recipe.

I also keep, in my binder, a simple handwritten list of dinner ideas - no recipes, just a list. Some of the items I need a recipe for and some I can just whip up. It really helps when my two are running around, I'm trying to get out the door to the store, and I realize I have no dinner plan list. My brain usually dries up right then - ack!

The one thing I'm trying to get better at is keeping an inventory of our chest freezer that lives in our basement. I fear that I've got some ruined food down there because I'm not good about remembering what's in it and I don't base my menus around that.

I think one thing that's helped me get away from packaged anything is I've allowed myself to get grossed out by ingredients that I can't pronounce the name of. I will instead make a big batch of lots of things and freeze it for quick meals - down to things like tomato soup to heat up with fresh grilled cheese sandwiches.

It does amaze me at how little food I buy when I have a plan to follow. I read through the list of ingredients and check if we have them on hand and only add what I need to the shopping list. I can often walk out of the store with only the bottom of the cart covered and we eat great (well, minus the vast quantities of cheese I love...).

Good luck!

dust.gif & superhero.gif :: 9/2004
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#6 of 6 Old 06-04-2007, 07:33 PM
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I've tried making a menu plan for the week, but something inevitably comes up that throws us completely off. Of course, my husband does a lot of the cooking, so he makes what he wants instead of looking at the menu plan. : Guess that's the price I pay for not having to cook every night.

But, I really would like to get one made that we can stick to. Trying to figure out what to eat is a real pain in the bottom.
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