Post # 1
FH and I are trying to eat out less, and I want to start meal planning. This has never been one of my strengths. FH has food allergies (gluten, soy, and potato) that make it even more challenging. Anyone have any tips, menu plans or resources to help? Do you have a set night of the week for each meal (Monday=italian, Tuesday=crock pot, etc.)? Thanks!
Post # 3
Oh, that must be really tough to try and find things best suited for his diet. J’s mother has Celiac’s disease so I can understand the difficulty in that just by itself. Out of curiosity, what does he eat? Have you guys ever had corn pasta? It’s absolutely delicious and tastes like regular wheat pasta. I eat it when J’s mom makes soup. A LOT better than rice pasta.
Post # 4
I do the meal planning. I don’t have set days for meals but it’s best to go shopping once a week to get everything (and use any coupons and sales that are going on). There are a ton of things you can do in a crockpot so you could do that often for easy make meals. I wish I had one that had a timer so I could start it before work and have it say warm after the set number of hours it needs to cook.
Post # 5
I do meal planning every two weeks, but our days are varied. I sit down and write out 14 days worth of meals – mostly dinners, but with some lunches and things to take to work. Then I make out the grocery list.
Shopping in advance works so well for us, and saves us a lot of money. Today I went for the next two weeks, and only spent $140. It was a little higher than normal, but we are having a Super Bowl party, so that added to the expense.
Post # 6
We usually do menu planning together, but often one of takes the lead (whoever has more time, generally). We don’t have set nights for things, that would just be too boring and routine for our taste. We do have somewhat of a formula though…Fridays and Saturdays we usually eat out, and we try to have at least one vegetarian meal and one seafood meal per week. We think about what events we have going during the week (for example, I am in medicine and have nights on call that I am away) before deciding what nights we need meals for.
We keep a Word document going that we both can access (through Google Docs) that we update on the weekend for the coming week. We’ve been doing this for about 1.5 years, so now we have this long collection of recipes that we’ve made that we can always scroll down and look at for ideas. We use the cookbooks that we have in the house, the website Epicurious, and food blogs (mainly Simply Recipes and Smitten Kitchen). After we’ve made our list, we go shopping for the specific items we need plus general household items that we’re out of.
Post # 7
i do the planning for a full week…i make sure we always have a few quick and easy meals, and a few more labor intensive ones (usually for the weekend). i plan around what’s on sale at our 2 local grocery stores, and do all of our shopping for the week at the store with the best sale. one tip i’ve heard is NEVER buy meat that’s not on sale…it’s one of the top mark-ups at groceries. i sign up for allrecipe.com’s daily recipe and find the majority of our meals there.
Post # 8
I always take the lead on menu preparation, but we shop and cook together. The menu I have prepared has everything (including lunches) outlined for the month, but we only shop every two weeks. It REALLY helps to have everything planned in advance. We use the same menu every month (because after 30 days, it doesn’t really feel like you’re eating one meal too often). The perk of this is that once you make the menu and grocery lists, you can use it again and again. I can use the same shopping lists (one for each bi-weekly shopping trip), too. I have everything on the list that the recipes call for, and then simply make off the stuff I already have at home.
Fiance appreciates the menu because we don’t have to go through the “well, what do you want?” “oh, I dunno, whatever you want” conversation every night!
Post # 9
@KendraJ: I hate that conversation of “what do you want?” Drives me nuts. Hah.
Post # 10
- Wedding: January 2011 - Vintage Villas
I do the majority of the menu planning, but Mr. Cardigan definitely helps! I usually sit down a couple of nights before we need to go grocery shopping and plan out at least seven meals. I always ask Mr. Cardigan if there’s anything he’s craving, and I try to find at least one new recipe to try every week!
It’s definitely hard to get into the habit of menu planning, but once you do it makes things so much easier! Once I’ve written up the menu for the week we throw it on the fridge and every morning decide what we want to have that night for dinner.
Post # 11
We share meal planning, and it’s all about the cooking magazines for us. I’d say 85% of our meal ideas come from either Cooking Light, Southern Living, or the Epicurious iPhone app. I heartily recommend all three. I’m pretty sure epicurious has search filters that allow you to search for meals that work with certain food allergies: http://www.epicurious.com
Post # 12
Yes, we plan a menu each week. Usually Saturday or Sunday we decide our meals for the week based on whats on sale. We don’t have a set schedule of meals…but usually Sunday night is a more elaborate meal cause I have more time to cook. Monday-Thursday are generally quicker meals or things that I made in advance and froze. I don’t use the crock pot very much (cause I don’t have many recipes for it), but when I do I LOVE it. There is nothing better than coming home from a long day and having a hot meal ready for you 🙂
I’m a HUGE fan lately of skinnytaste.com. I am not familiar with your husbands dietary restrictions but her recipes are healthy and generally fairly easy to make.
Post # 13
I do most of the cooking, and cook whatever it is I’m craving … so it’s not really meal-planning. I base the week’s meals on what’s on sale and what looks good. I learned that I really enjoy cooking and enjoy looking up recipes online or experiment making something new with whatever produce we have left in the fridge.
The best meals I’ve constructed are ones that I can re-use/reinvent a second or third time. For instance, if I make a roast chicken one night, the next night I use the leftovers for a spicy stir-fry or some soup. Any leftover rice I make gets turned into fried rice the next day, and whenever I marinate meat to roast for that day, I leave a little of it to marinate overnight to grill or fry the next day, usually with the leftover rice. I never used to cook before, I found that cooking more often makes it easier to plan ahead for the week.
My advice is to cook what you like and edit the recipes from there. One of my fave sites is: http://allrecipes.com/
Post # 14
I do all the meal planning in our house. My husband and I eat almost all of our meals at home (we bring lunch to work, and go out to dinner 1-2x a week), so planning can be a bit of a challenge. I also shop once every two weeks, although I will go to Whole Foods or the farmer’s market more often than that for produce, fish, and/or specialty items. I used to write everything out and plan it all meal-by-meal, but that can be a bit tedious and doesn’t allow for a lot of spontaneity/the ability to eat what you feel like. Now, after 6+ years of practice, I can figure a grocery list and quantities without a ton of planning.
Here are some tips I have learned:
- I keep two lists of all the meals I can make with the groceries we have on the refrigerator – one that lists all the meals I plan to make (so I don’t forget any!), and one of all the snacks/easy meals we have (so my husband can grab food rather than staring blankly into the refrigerator).
- I plan to make easily-frozen proteins during week 2 (i.e., chicken, pork tenderloin, etc.) and more sensitive items during week 1 (i.e., fish), so that I can just throw meat into the freezer when I unpack the groceries rather than worrying about stuff going bad.
- I try (like Vitsippa) to make large meals on the weekends that can translate into more meals during the week. A roast chicken that can become chicken salad for lunches, soup, stir fry; carnitas in the crock pot can become tacos and enchiladas; etc.
- I make a pot of soup every Sunday that I eat for lunch all week (I love having a hot lunch during the winter!). During the warmer months, I eat salad for lunch, and I cut up a bunch of vegetables on Sunday so that I can just grab a handful of each thing to make a salad every day.
- When I make a large batch of something (carnitas, roast, spaghetti sauce, soup, etc.) I double the recipe so that I can freeze half for a meal down the road. These frozen entrees come in handy for weeknight meals.
- I make a lot of stir fry. It’s easy to buy a variety of vegetables in bulk and just throw them together with marinated protein for a quick meal that doesn’t require a lot of advance planning.
- I keep all the ingredients for sraple meals on hand at all times (i.e. risotto, tortellini with pesto, soup, breakfast for dinner, salad and stir fry makings) so that I know I always have something that can come together easily.
Post # 15
Yeah I menu plan for a week. As septcabride says about having one frozen meal a week I do this so have like cod in breadcrumbs with frozen chips/fries and peas. I try and say buy a pack of 4 chicken breasts and use two one night and then two the next night for something different. Sometimes I find it boring sometimes I enjoy it.
Post # 16
I only plan ahead a few days at a time. I shop 2-3 times a week after work since I need to get fresh fruits/veggies anyway, so I just plan the next few night’s dinners at that point. I like to try at least one new recipe per week, too. 🙂