One Year Ago…
I thought I was TOTALLY awesome, had this DOWN and wrote a post about Meal Planning. I was about to move in with Jon, knew I had to cook 3-4 nights a week, and was trying to come up with a totally kickass system. I was feeling really, really confident in this and couldn’t find ANY flaws in my plan. It was PERFECT.
One Year Later…
I realize I only half knew what I was getting myself into. I have a grocery store PROBLEM. I have realized that the phrase life happens, is real, and I have come to terms that I had flaws in my first system. But hey, now I have it pretty much, ironed out. And this is not to say my first system wasn’t good, it was! It was more that I didn’t have a grasp on how much MONEY what I was proposing, was going to cost. You can’t cook steak every week Cassie, not when you choose filet mignon. A few subtle changes, and some new organizational tools in tow, and I have this. I know I do. Until I create version 3.0. Because I’m always nitpicking. OF COURSE.
The New Tools
Forest Feast Meal Planner and Grocery List- Buy
And of course, I am using Out of Milk and Evernote as well. But for the most part, these tools save my life, keep me organized in the store, and most importantly, they keep me ENJOYING planning my meals! I have said it before and i’ll say it AGAIN.
When I have EXTREMELY PRETTY [& useful!] things, I ALWAYS want to USE them.
The “NEW” Plan
The new plan is HAVE NO PLAN. Not do not schedule meals, but don’t dictate what type of meal you’re going to make. I have learned to vary the type of meals I serve, and be aware that repetition is no one’s friend. So every week, I strive for..
- Turkey Dish
- Pasta Dish
- Chicken Dish
- Rice/Quinoa/ Cous Cous Dish
But what I mean by “not dictating” is do not yell at myself if this doesn’t happen. The most important thing is GET GOOD, HEALTHY meals on the table!
The first time I got sick and couldn’t make a meal I had scheduled, I got so angry with myself. Now, I’ll be honest, I haven’t cooked all week because I was sick, and it drains me. And you know what? That is OKAY. As I said earlier, Life Happens. I will continue to plan. Always. It keeps me on top of things, and not having to wonder what comes next. I have learned that SUNDAY SETUP is the best thing ever. And I have talked about that before. If you’re not utilizing this method, I highly, highly recommend you do so. It is SUCH a stress reliever!
Keep These Things In Mind..
If you are going to initiate meal planning, you can do a few things to make it easy on yourself. Keep sources handy, set out a block of time, and know what you have.
Keep Sources Handy: Always, and I mean ALWAYS have a cookbook [at least one], a food blog, and a recipe site ready to go when you’re meal planning. It makes it super easy to find meals you WANT to cook, and better yet, it gives you ideas for FUTURE weeks!
Set Out A Block of Time: You can NOT rush this process. So don’t try. Do this when you know you have a decent amount of time to finagle with the schedule, and figure out what you want to make that day. Also, keep your SCHEDULE in mind for each night! If you aren’t getting home until late, consider a skillet meal, one pot meal, or crockpot meal. Don’t go crazy when you’re rushed!
Know What You Have: I discussed this in my Pantry Staples post. You NEED to inventory your stash! How are you going to create a bunch of meals without knowing what’s in your house? You may THINK you have something on hand, but then – the time comes to use that item and you realize “OH CRAP! I used that for that stew I made!” NO ONE wants this to happen! So keep stock of what’s in your house. You’ll thank me later.
I can’t lie, I have MORE tips! If you subscribe via email, you will get my Ten Awesome Meal Planning Tips! So I [totally, and in an unbiased way!] suggest you do so!