It's pretty simple--every week I will be trying or learning something and then sharing it with you. It could be tutorials, posts to get me motivated, or something interesting I wanted to learn.
If you have suggestions about things you want me to research or try, please comment below! I'd love to get input about what you want to see on the blog.
A lot of the time, meal planning gets ignored as a waste of time. But it can really help streamline your week and prevent "emergency" grocery store visits. It also helps you save money--you won't end up buying any food that you know you won't eat or use that week.
Step One: Asses your meal planning needs.
Sometimes eating out is planned, or sometimes your schedule prevents you from cooking extravagant meals. Make your menu reflect your schedule. For instance, I know I have more time to cook on the nights Marcus is gone to school. Therefore, I cook the more labor intensive meals then. On days like Saturday or Friday night, I keep it simple. Who knows what we will be doing then? And- if I don't plan a big meal on Friday nights, Marcus might take me out, wink wink. Well...It's worth a shot.
Step two: Get some recipes!
I stole a lot of great recipes from my mom's cookbooks and brought them along when I got married. But Pinterest has also become my menu planning friend. Thousands of recipes from cooking-savvy bloggers are always at your fingertips (You can follow my recipe board HERE). Better Homes and Gardens, Real Simple, Kraft Foods, etc. are also great resources. And of course, use those cookbooks that you have that are gathering dust. Don't get those shifty eyes. We all have them.
Step three: Plan, Plan, Plan.
Organization is key at this step. Make a list of all the meals you want to eat that week. Keep in mind your own personal schedule--and by all means, don't try to make something fantastic every night to begin with. Start off manageable and work up--it ensures you will stick with it. If you need to schedule in a few "eat-out" or "Do-it-yourself" (haha) meals to begin with, that's totally fine.
You will need to see what ingredients for each recipe that you are missing. A big money saver is trying recipes based off of what you already have. Use that stuff up! Don't let anything go to waste- that's a huge benefit of planning ahead too. Add what you are missing to your grocery list. Make sure to keep track of what you are using for each recipe--I once planned a few meals using one can of beans--I totally forgot I would be using them for the other meals. Live and learn, I guess.
Step four: Buy the food. (Duh.)
Here's the faze where you can add in coupons and deals--feel free to get crazy about deal hunting. I honestly haven't gotten in to this part yet, so here are a few links if you are curious. I know I will be delving into this part to try and save some of the grocery budget.
I made my plan this afternoon and bought all my groceries. I picked out a few new recipes to try, and a few tried and tested ones as well. I also made you guys a printable that you can use to speed up the meal planning! There is a spot for each day of the week (Note that there is only one line--this is for dinners only, as that's the only thing I cook. Marcus and I usually just take yogurt and granola for breakfast and a sandwich/soup/leftovers for lunch). There's also a box next to each day to jot down what ingredients are missing.
If you can't just click and save this image, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will email you a pdf.
Hope you all will join me this week to plan out a menu and stick to it.
I'll be sharing my recipes along the way!
Happy meal planning!