Tuesday, September 17, 2013
let's talk about menu planning
I've been tweaking my menu planning strategy over the last few months. I've talked about menu planning on the blog before, and my goal has always been to simplify things. Lately, I've simplified even more.
Now, I know it may look like we never actually eat in! We do, honest. Here is our weekly plan:
Sunday--cook a nice meal at home
Monday--cook at home
Tuesday--pick up pizza from a local place
Wednesday--cook at home
Thursday--eat in: leftovers or something "found" at home--eggs, macaroni, etc.
Friday--pick up Mexican food from a local place
Saturday--ostensibly our date night. My parents usually watch the kids (and my mom cooks for them) and Ken and I go out. My parents aren't always available so maybe we'll eat out with the kids or stay in and cook something simple.
What's new in my menu planning routine is that I'm mapping out a month at a time, and I'm cooking more simply than ever before. It feels amazing to just cook simple things. In the past, I made more "recipe" type dishes. Now I may still use recipes but only for super simple dishes. I don't ever want to buy ingredients for just one dish and have random ingredients just sitting around. That doesn't appeal to me at all any more.
Some examples of what we've been eating this month--
:: steak with salad and rice pilaf
:: roasted chicken quarters with carrots
:: spatchcocked chicken with roasted chickpeas
:: Moroccan chicken stew
:: carne asada tacos
:: fish tacos
:: salmon with vegetables
:: swedish meatballs and lingonberry sauce + rice
:: pinto beans + cornbread
:: bean bowls (beans layered with rice, cheese, lettuce and condiments)
:: summer zucchini pasta
For most of these things, I typically make a salad or a vegetable and serve fruit with the meal.
I love eating this way. So simple and straightforward and no difficult shopping. Making the meal plan a month at a time also is really freeing. Once I have the month-long plan, I post it on the refrigerator and just consult it on Thursdays when I make the grocery list. And on Fridays I stop by Trader Joe's on my way home and do the shopping. Easy.