Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Meal Planning

Planning for meals around these parts has been scarce to none in recent months...err...year...years. Preparation, feeding, and cleaning up is never-ending especially with five of us being home for all three meals every day. I've been in a major funk. But NO MORE!!!

I planned out meals for two weeks, made the grocery list, and went shopping. Let me pause here and give a shout out to my local Wegmans for their 1 hour childcare service. Life-saver!!! One little helper with me, three boys happily playing video games with the lovely lady who is there all the time. Anywho...

I know "they" say shoppers spend less money with a plan and a list...it's so true! I was a little shocked when I checked out with two weeks worth of groceries that my bill was only slightly higher than my more frequent, weekly, and random shopping trips without a plan. I even had diapers, wipes, and two club packs of meat that will be shared with weeks 3 & 4 meals. I tried to account for every meal (that's 42 meals!) and snacks. We'll see how well I did at the end of this two weeks. Of course, I'll have to make a mid-week stop for more milk (because we LOVE it and drink at least 3 gallons every 5 days) and fresh fruit - most likely apples & bananas. I prefer to rely on made from scratch goods more often than boxed goods...like Banana Chocolate Chip muffins (thanks, Jana!!!). This was Monday morning breakfast...tried to make it pretty for our morning sit down. Canned peaches from this summer (thanks, Mom, for the help with canning!!!). Super yummy!

On a side note, I've decided to end the self-imposed moratorium on eating the canned foods I put up from the summer. Do you do that??? I spend a lot of time canning and don't want to eat it all up right away, so we don't eat any of it. Then I realize summer is coming round again and I've got shelves full of delicious canned goods that we should have been enjoying all winter long :o) !!! Silly me! Here's my little tricky trick (though I'm sure all you smarty pants out there already do this!)...all that delicious juice from canned peaches is too good to be dumped out, don't you think?! I add water to each jar to cut the sweetness a little and...voila...we have juice for the day!!! My kids love it and I feel good about giving it to them - peach juice, water, and sugar.

I'm debating about sharing my menu plan...you all might think I'm a fruit loop or be afraid to tell me how fattening my meals are or I don't know...he, he! I guess I'm weird like that...

I made Sour Cream Noodle Bake on Tuesday and we ate the leftovers tonight. I'm ahead of the game already! Tonight's planned meal (Chicken Noodle Soup) can be used later since I always have the basic ingredients on hand...one of my go-to meals! The casserole went over okay...no pint-sized lovers, but no haters either. It will stay in my rotation. Mike and I really liked it. Next time, though, I think I'll make it in two meals...one for eating on prep night and one for freezing.

Tomorrow's dinner plan...Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork. I have high hopes for this one! But I just remembered I forgot the rolls...sigh...

Do YOU have any tricks for planning and prepping meals?

8 comments:

carole said...

That shredded pork sounds awesome.

I do this - for 2 weeks - and then don't for 5. I have to switch that ratio.

Olivia said...

I like this idea! Planning helps you to have variety. I think we resort to packaged foods, takeout because we get stuck in ruts of sameness. I actually planned out a months worth of menus when we were in college yearsssssss ago. It made all the difference on our limited budget and we had great variety. I really can't remember that we ever had takeout in those days!!!!!!!!!! It was a longgg time ago. hahaha

Linda said...

Yes, I do. Just asked the receptionist at the dentist office to copy two pages that I found in this really cool magazine (that I have already forgotten the name of) in the waiting room. To my surprise, she told my apologetic self that people ask her to copy material from their magazines all the time. She did it with a smile FOR ME. I will make a copy for you. It is so cool. They have six meals that are freezer worthy and healthy, and then variations of each of the meals. FABULOUS!

Linda said...

And the title of the magazine is on the left hand bottom corner WITH A WEBSITE--WHOLELIVING.COM.

Whoo Hoo!

Linda said...

I'd love your meal planning schedule. This is my last comment for the day. What a great idea for peach juice! Love you! L

Laurie said...

Good post! I do mine weekly and it has been working well, but I would love to be able to do it bi-monthly. I have a neat meal planner/recipe holder that my friend gave me, which I love. Hope you show your meal plans-I am forever looking for new ideas :)

Katie said...

Kiley - I have always planned my meals ahead - not b/c I'm just that efficient, but b/c I hate grocery shopping! And I also love to experiment and cook. I subscribe to Taste of Home magazine - the meals are easy and absolutely fabulous. So I sit down at the beginning of the month with a calendar and write down my dinners for the whole month, with a page number next to it. Then each week it's really easy to make up my grocery list for the week. Years ago I made a printout on my computer of all the items in the store, by aisle, so all I have to do is check off what I need for the week. It makes the whole process pretty painless!

ryleeandnoahsmom said...

This is my life in a nutshell, lol...start out all excited and organized, it lasts for a few days or weeks, then a fizzling out. I think that is sort of normal. I think that you, Carole and I should get together for a playdate (kids included, of course!), and exchange our favorite dozen or two "recipes" or meals. It will inspire us and give us all a chance to visit and recharge our creative batteries : )