Friday, February 28, 2014

Meal Planning

I was just asked the other day, by a good friend, how I plan my meals and grocery shop. You see she goes to the grocery store EVERY day after work and while that has worked with her up until this point she knew that she would not be able to sustain that practice once she has a baby in late summer…
So here is what has been working for us for almost a month now….
Every Sunday morning I pull out my handy dandy Weekly Menu Plan 
 (I use the great free printable from Kissen Studio) and I sit on my bed with a cup of coffee (usually right at the start of Hunter’s nap time). I take this rare quite moment to plan out what we will eat for the next week…
In the Park household there are 3 constants:
  1. Emma cooks dinner (assisted… she is almost 10) each Monday. Mondays work for us because she gets out of school early that day… Emma will pick a dish from one of her three Williams Sonoma Kid cookbooks (our current favorite is Cooking Together) and will cook the meal from start to finish… After we finish eating each Monday I go ahead and have her look through the book and pick her recipe for the next week. This way she anticipates what she is going to make and she typically gets really excited about it as the week goes on.

  1. Hubby will cook one night. I ask him which night he would prefer to cook on as it typically varies based on what he has going on at work and with school (he is currently taking two Harvard classes and so he is SUPER busy and staying up until way past midnight many nights to get stuff done).
  2. We will have leftovers every Thursday… On Thursday evenings I go to a Dave Ramsey financial class and Emma start to have evening soccer practice soon on Thursday… so really it is a no-brainer to not cook anything new on this night.
After I write down our three constants I move on to figure out what we will do the other 4 days in the week…
Emma gave us a session from Let’s Dish for Valentine’s Day so from that I have 6 meals in the freezer (I will do a full post regarding that next week). So I decide that we will do one of those meals for a weeknight.
For my Friday, Saturday, & Sunday meals I flip through cookbooks, magazines, or the internet to see what catches my eyes or I do a staple like tacos, enchiladas, pulled pork, lasagna… Really anything goes. I will also typically look at the grocery store ads to see what proteins are on sale that week.
I save the more complicated dishes or items that require a longer cook time for the weekends. This allows for me to do prep during Hunter’s nap…
Here is what a weekly menu looks like…
 I fill in the grocery list as I pick out recipes…Items devoted to a meal go at the top of the grocery list whereas staples or items I buy on a weekly bases go on the bottom.
Each Sunday I go to the store and purchase all of my items… and that is not to say that I don’t occasionally have the need to go on other days but it really is easiest if I can get everything done at once! I’m sure that this will become even truer as we add to our family!
So again this is what has been working for us… and there are times where items are flipped around or adjusted as the week goes on based on the current situation.

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