(Closed) Meal Planning.. how on earth do you do this??

posted 5 years ago in Home
Post # 3
Member
3170 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

Haha it can be super overwhelming. I always pinterest recipes or pick what main dish I usually want. I always pick a veggie (green beans, corn, broccoli) and then maybe I’ll do rice or salad. I don’t go crazy with sides, I always keep it simple. If I make tacos or enchiladas I always use black beans as my side. Don’t think so hard about it, keep it simple.

Post # 4
Member
341 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

Watch the foodnetwork! Or any other cooking tv channel. They normally do a main dish and then a few sides/dessert. It gives you good ideas about what goes together. That is how I learned to cook Smile

Post # 5
Member
1189 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

@future_mrs_s:  Second PInterest.  I subscribe to Cooking LIght and Foodnework Magazine.  I also read quite a few food blogs.  Once a week, usually on Thursday, I get my recent links/dog eared pages/etc together and I start picking out what looks tastiest and I make out our meals for the next week.  I’ll usually do a few lunches and breakfasts too, though about half the time, we just grab sandwiches or salads for lunch and I keep breakfast stuff on hand.

 

Post # 6
Member
2622 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

To start you may want to subscribe to Clean Eating magazine. They lay out weekly meals using leftovers and the same ingredients and shopping lists. you can use that and adjust to your preferences.

After awhile when you learn what you guys like, it will become much easier.

another way is to sit down with the sale flyers and use that for inspiration. 

Post # 7
Bee
82 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2013 - Sodo Park

I use myrecipes.com (which has several magazine publicaitons) and I make a meal plan for us, then e-mail it to myself with links to the recipes. I use the ingredient lists to make the grocery list.

Post # 8
Member
850 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

We’re vegetarian so we don’t always feel the need to add a side, but generally we have salad at every dinner, maybe some homemade bread with some cheese. We usually only plan ahead by 2-3 meals.

We enjoy buying a few new cookbooks at a time and working our way through the recipes. Cookbooks often have great suggestions of how to combine recipes for a complete meal.

While we try to cook something new a few times a week we have some favorites that we make from scratch: homemade veggie pizza, curries, soups/stews, heartier salads with beans/nuts, pasta (my FH makes a great lasagna with fresh noodles), enchiladas/tacos, sandwiches/veggie burgers, or Mediterranean (hummus, tabouli, lentils/rice) or Indian “samplers” (curry, chutney, yogurt sauce) with pita. We also try to eat seasonally and make meals depending on what’s fresh and awesome at the farmer’s market. We prefer to have leftovers from dinner for lunch.

Today I planned out 3ish days of meals: creamy cauliflower pasta with side salad, kale enchiladas with spicy refried beans, tofu salad sandwiches, and we have leftover risotto and barbecue tempeh and sweet potatoes for lunches.

Post # 9
Member
2376 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

I always go in order – Protein -> vegetables -> starch.  This is my thought process:

So, looking at the sale flyer, I see pork chops are on sale.  It’s nice out, so I could do a grilled pork chop with a little sweet chili sauce (or stovetop them if the weather doesn’t cooperate).  What goes well with pork and sweet chili?  Well, I could pick up the frozen asian medley veggies, and those are always tasty.  Or I could do something simple like steamed broccoli.   If you feel like something starchy, some couscous would go well. 

The biggest thing to remember is that if it’s awful, that’s what pizza and takeout are for.  You will mess up.  You will burn something.  He will at least once in your life give you the face of ‘what roadkill did you scrape off the road and put on my plate?’.  If he cooks, the same thing will happen to him, and it’s ok!  That’s how you learn.  Laugh at the mistakes, and remember what was tasty.

Post # 10
Hostess
2556 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

Every Thursday or Friday I hit Pinterest up for recipes.  I look in recipes I’ve already pinned (as well as new ones).  There’s also a few websites I hit up, too, especially if I’m looking for something new.  There are some meals that we LOVE, that I throw into the rotation, as well.  Then I decide what our main courses for the next week will be.  After that, I come up with appropriate sides (brown rice, veggies, salad, potatoes, etc.).

 

Then, I make a list of everything I need to buy Friday night from the grocery store and that’s the end of that.  Oh, I also have a notepad on the side of our fridge listing all of the meals/sides we wil be eating that week.  This was my Fiance doesn’t have to ask me 3974397 what we’re having for dinner (seriously.. guys love food, so why are they constantly forgetting?!) and he can make the decision of what meal we eat on what night.

Post # 11
Hostess
2556 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@MariContrary:  +1

 

 

I try to cook at least 2 new things a week, so that we aren’t constantly eating our favorite dishes over and over.  Sometimes those meals flop, sometimes they are a big hit!  My Fiance isn’t shy about letting me know.  Don’t get upset if he doesn’t like a meal or if a meal doesn’t go as planned.  It’s not the end of the word.  Live and learn.  Once you get in the cooking routine, it gets easier, I promise.  🙂

 

Post # 12
Member
1044 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

Oh, I feel you. I get very overwhelmed and stressed out about dinner planning. And following a recipe makes me want to scream (I DON’T HAVE A 1/4 TEASPOON OF CUMIN!!!!!) Couple that with a FH who works from home, he would rather eat 4 cashew butter and jam sandwiches (and 3 protein bars) instead of heating up last night’s left overs. We can end up wasting a lot of uneaten food (and money!)

What has helped us is to find 10 recipes that we enjoy eating. Shop for those ingredients one day of the week and stick to it. I like making enough food on Sunday to last a few days- I’m off Wednesdays so I can cook a good amount that day too. Alternate those recipes and stick to them.

I bought beets the other day with intentions of making some kind of bake and forgot about them! By the time I got to them they were kind of gross looking, FH said- remember, we’re sticking to a meal plan, make them beets! I crafted a new recipe of roasting them, adding them to a grain and some chopped up kale. Threw in some chopped apples and viola, dinner for two and lunch for two.

I also have a standard stand by meal. It’s game over if I get too hungry and feel pressure of making food. So I keep a few cans of black beans, frozen precooked brown rice, and frozen greens on hand. That way if there’s nothing else, we can always make that meal- it’s delicious too!

Post # 13
Member
2376 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

@maplemag:  We don’t do leftovers.  Ok, to be honest, I don’t do leftovers.  Ever.  What helps me is to only buy what we’re going to eat.  We could ‘save money’ by purchasing the 5 lb pack of ground beef, but it’s not saving money if we just throw it out.  Last time we made burgers, we went up to the meat counter and got somewhere between 1/2 and 2/3rd lb of beef, picked up 1 small onion, 2 kaiser rolls at the bakery section and had no leftovers.  We paid a little more on the per pound price than if we bought in larger quantities, but nothing was wasted or thrown out. 

And having a standard ‘easy’ meal on hand is always a good idea!

Post # 14
Member
904 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

I think side dishes are a pain in the ass… I usually focus on making “one pot” meals that include a starch (usually pasta or rice), a protein (although I do make vegetarian meals w/o a vegetarian protein once in a while), and plenty of veggies.  Cheese or some other form of dairy are frequently involved.  The vast majority of the food I cook can be eaten out of bowl, and that’s how I like it 🙂  Rarely do I make something that requires a plate.

 

I plan out our meals on a weekly basis, going through my massive recipe collection and seeing what looks tasty that week.  I try to get some variety, i.e. only one dish with chicken, one with pasta, etc.  I get most of my recipes from tastespotting.com, although a few are from Pinterest or my mom.  I just checked the flash drive containing my recipes and I have 890 entrées alone.  In total I have almost 2,000 Word documents in my recipe stash.  Cooking Light magazine is awesome, Bon Appétit can be too.

Post # 15
Member
3770 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013 - Brookfield Zoo

I find a lot of my recipes off Pinterest as other posters have said.  Usually I’ll pick two or three out to make, and by making those around the beginning of the week, we’ll have leftovers throughout the week (it’s just me and Fiance and all those recipes are for 4-6 people).  Honestly, I usually don’t have a side dish, it just doesn’t really seem necessary.

Post # 16
Member
853 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I use Pinterest to store recipes I like: pinterest.com/Socr4

Then I open up an email that I address to myself and my husband. I type in all the days of the week that we’re cooking (skipping days if we’re going out) and type in the URL for the recipes we’re making.

I go one by one down the list of recipes to add ingredients we need to a shopping list.

Easy peasy! Then whoever’s home first starts dinner since we both know what’s going on.

Occasionally I will use recipes out of a book, but I find it so much easier to keep track of everything online. Plus I can save my emails and recycle meal plans later on if I have no time to plan, but it really doesn’t take long!

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