Lakeside Kitchen outlining my meal planning strategy and I've decided to share it here today.
Lakeside Kitchen is a cooking blog my daughter and I started a couple of years ago. When she went off to college last summer, I realized that I did not want to maintain two blogs and quietly closed up shop. Life has changed a little since then. I'm routinely cooking for just three now, plus I no longer worry about practice or game schedules. My basic meal planning principles, however, remain the same.
From Lakeside Kitchen:
It's all about organization.... and flexibility. Every Sunday or Monday, I compose a "Master Meal-Planning Sheet" and select a few dishes to prepare early in the week. Family activities that impact the dinner hour (or my ability to cook) are listed on the left, the menu goes in the center, and a grocery list goes on the right. Here's what this week's sheet looks like, so far:
If we're out all day, I may choose a crock-pot meal that's ready when we get home. When there's little time to spare, a stir-fry is quick and easy. On the rare day when no activities are scheduled, I may experiment with something more elaborate.
My meal-planning sheet looks pretty simple now, but wait a few hours... meetings are added, games or lessons get changed, and the unexpected always arises. By starting with just three or four definite meals, I can make adjustments as needed during the week and, if I'm lucky, have some leftovers for lunches.
A trip to the grocery store is part of my Monday routine, but another stop on Thursday or Friday is inevitable. We always need more milk and produce and, if the beginning of the week has gone as planned, I'll buy fish or meat for a couple more dinners. Also, by later in the week, Margaret may have an idea for a weekend dessert and I can pick up those ingredients, too.
Do you have a meal-planning system, or do you keep a stocked refrigerator and decided day-by-day what's for dinner?