As a home cook, I always cringed at the thought of meal planning. While advice given from the online world was quality, the homework was intense. These fabulous cooks recommended planning meals a month in advance, complete with a weekly shopping list.
Their advice? Pull out your cookbooks and get creative! Be inspired! Make your meals something to be proud of!
THE PROBLEM WITH MEAL PLANNING
While I wanted the end result, this entire process didn’t jive with how I managed my own kitchen.
Planning meals four weeks in advance takes time. Brain power. Organization. The thought leaves some of us so overwhelmed, we never begin!
Many homemakers have a limited budget to work with. We don’t grocery shop weekly, or even bi-weekly! The more we shop, the more we spend. So we visit the grocery store little as possible. When we do, we employ the 9 Tips for Saving on the Grocery Bill.
3). Meal planning can save money, but it often has the opposite effect. Most of us will be drawn to luscious arrays instead of real, humble foods. If constantly flipping through cookbooks, it’s easy to grow discontent with our ‘grocery’ situation and blow the budget.
THE FEELING WE ALL DREAD
But what can we do?
As a homemakers, we all know the feeling. Four o’clock rolls ’round and we find ourselves there again, mentally scrambling in attempt to scrounge up dinner for a famished husband/family.
“We could do spaghetti and meatballs. But we had that just last night”
“Maybe a roast! No, there isn’t time to thaw one out.”
“I have it! Chili! But wait…I didn’t pre-soak any beans. The family wasn’t impressed the last time I attempted to feed them chili filled with half cooked beans.”
I’m sure you know the routine, that feeling and the mad rush that ensues!
A SIMPLE MEAL PLAN
What if you didn’t have to constantly flip through cookbooks or plan a month in advance? If you didn’t have to blow your grocery budget or scramble like a mad woman every time four o’clock came ’round?
What if you compiled common, everyday recipes you already make on a regular basis, and put them in a binder? Like a custom cookbook for your own kitchen?
Suppose you took 2 minutes of every morning to open that binder and choose simple meal/s for the day? Added on another 5-10 minutes for food prep?
HOW TO FORM A SIMPLE COMPILATION
When I realized simple meal planning would help relieve the pressure often felt, I decided to step in. But it had to be simple. Here’s how I began and where you can start too!
Record your recipes throughout the upcoming weeks, until you have a simple collection.
Continue adding as you happen across great recipes, but most importantly, utilize what you now have!
Every morning thumb through your tried-and-true recipes. Choose your meal/s for the day. Take 10 minutes to prepare. This could involve making a salad, thawing meat, scrubbing vegetables, grating cheese, soaking grains, starting a crock pot meal, etc.
When the time comes to prepare your meal, you not only know what you are going to do, but goods are already prepped!
THE WONDER OF IT ALL
The freedom I’ve experienced from this system is wonderful!
When preparing meals for your family or guests, you can turn to your collection of friendly old recipes and carry through as you normally would. No guessing, no stressing about how it’ll turn out!
If you use this method of meal planning, recipes will be your own. They will be based on what you can afford, foods you are comfortable preparing and better yet, meals your family enjoys!
Last and most importantly, be sure to read part 13: The Practice of Hospitality!