Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Considering Meal Planning

In a few short weeks, my three kids will be with me morning, noon and night. That means I need to get seriously organized. First on my list - Meal Planning.

I go to three grocery stores almost weekly and Costco about every six weeks. This is not working for me. Now all the stores are relatively close to home (except for Costco - the gas to get there makes it hardly worth it), but I spend soooooo much time grocery shopping.

There are a few things I like to get at Whole Foods... I won't buy yogurt anywhere else. And Trader Joe's is the only place to get pizza dough. Giant is the mainstream grocery store where I buy most packaged goods, but milk is more there...and eggs.... Sigh. I have to be willing to compromise OR get super organized. Which makes me think I need to have the whole month of meals planned. I could buy all the meat at once and freeze it (but it's so much better fresh!), freeze bread and pizza dough, then keep up produce and perishables weekly. I know people do this successfully. But we live in a city and the store is *right there*. Also, I am a "I feel like Mexican tonight... hmm... got tortillas, black beans, cilantro...great" type. I will need to stick to the plan and not go with my dinner mood.

When I sit down and try to think of meals, I come up with a handful that all of us will eat. I don't want to fill a calendar with five meals. It's really discouraging... I need new, easy, budget-friendly, kid-approved meal ideas. Gone are the days of trying new recipes nightly from cooking magazines that I used to get. Maybe once a month I should have a "new recipe night" - that may work. Should I go with a school cafeteria model? Monday is pasta night. Tuesday is fish. Wednesday is salad....

I need to race and get the girl. Please share helpful hints/meals if you have them....


  1. We kinda do the same thing. I go to Sam's every month or so. My husband does the regular shopping and he goes to two stores, balancing out sales and coupons. Which is why he goes and not me. Can you believe we don't have a Trader Joe's or a Whole Food close by. They are at least 1/2 hour away...and with gas prices...not gonna happen.

    For easy, kid friendly ideas...I suggest you look at "Taste of Home" magazine. Great, simple foods. And, to toot my own horn, I have some yummy recipes posted on my blog. It's my intent to do it once a week or so...my daughter has gotten into cooking...so the recipes there are quite kid friendly.

    And one more suggestion - what about a meal prep place? Do you have Super Suppers or Dinner A'fare or the like there? You go and make 12 meals (or less), freeze them...and use whenever. We do this 2 or 3 times a year. It's not cheap...but to not have to do the shopping,prep, or clean up...it's worth it. And it's one less meal to have to figure out.

  2. Hi Jennifer...I just clicked on your profile over at Kat's blog and saw that you live in the DC area. So do I! I live in Northern Virginia. It's very nice to "meet" you! About the meal thing, we all struggle with this and I wish I could be more help. I am a last minute preparer and love leftovers. I have been to Let's Dish several times and really like it. The food is good and you can split the meals getting twice for the money. Other than that I am no help!

  3. Hey Jen - This great counsel is SO not what I actually do - but I like the idea so I'll pass it on. (You know - like "dessert night":))

    Plan for 4 meals, do left over night, friends night and breakfast for dinner night. "Leftover" night everyone can pick from the leftovers or you can make soup. "Friends" night you coordinate with another family and take turns eating together - pot luck, turns hosting - whatever. This works particularly well when husbands are travelling. And, I am of the opinion that mothering should not be done alone. Finally - "breakfast for dinner" just appeals to me because it is my favorite meal. I read about one family that had waffles every sunday night - every person had their own little syrup pitcher:) - and this was one of this person's treasured family memories! My kids love cheesy omelettes.

    And I hear you on the meat - it is ALL frozen here.



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