I’m changing how I do my meal plans. The last few months, I’ve been throwing together what I can find. Buying for one meal at a time.
With Dot’s schedule (read: college, work, boyfriend), together-at-the-table time just isn’t as frequent. But that doesn’t mean I can’t still cook well even on those evenings she’s not home.
This year, in keeping with my Word of 2014, my Better Plan for meal prep is improving:
Taking what I have and working with it. Why buy what I don’t need?
So last week I made a list of what I had and shopped only for what would compliment my stock. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had more than I realized, and needed less than anticipated.
I’ve also opted to not schedule our meals. That is, there is no calendar as to when we’ll eat what we eat. As long as I have a month’s worth of dinners on the list, I’m not planning any particular sit-down. Dot is often called to work extra hours, or go out with friends. And then there’s those days I just don’t feel like cooking.
So my improved goal for my 2014 Meal Planning includes making healthy dinners and eating the leftovers before cooking something new.
Ratatouille In the Slow Cooker
I already have more than enough to make nearly everything on this month’s dinner list:
- Slow Cooker Pork and Kraut
- Lemon-Grilled Salmon
- Turkey dinner
- Grilled chicken
- Grilled Ham & Cheese Sandwiches with Tomato Soup
- Baked Frittata
- Slow Cooker Chili
- Potato Chip Casserole
I’ll need just a few more items like one can of chicken meat, and frittata ingredients. Each meal offers at least one more day of leftovers, and perhaps a tasty lunch as well. Of course my family is small. My meal plan isn’t “one size fits all”. But the idea behind it is.
I’m also giving two days a month over to Dot. She’ll plan, buy, and make at least two dinners that each over another day of leftovers. She gets to develop more Home-Ec skills (do they still call it that?). I get a day off.
It’s a sigh of relief to not be burdened with a cooking schedule. This frees up time and allows for those unexpected interruptions. If Dot’s not home to eat, she knows it will be waiting for her return.
I am looking forward to having a better kitchen relationship this year, as Santa blessed me with a Cuisinart 5-in-1 Griddler. Hence, the multiple “grilled” dinners suggested above.
It’s also a delight to find myself once more in love with WinCo. When I need to, of course, I shop elsewhere. It’s been months since I’ve had the joy of shopping that most wonderful WinCo, and I’m eager to regain my monthly excursions. Who knew grocery buying would be on par with Nirvana? And yet that’s how I see it. A plethora of inexpensive, brand name choices. Coupons. Discounts. It’s definitely my bliss.
Slow Cooker Pork and ‘Kraut. Twenty dollars. Five ingredients. Eight hours. Ten dinners.
Would you like to start your own Meal Plan pantry? Download my STOCK THAT checklist to begin. (You may also want to check out my emergency supply STOCK THAT 2 checklist, too.)
How do you plan meals around your family’s size, schedule, and wallet? Let me know your ideas on feeding families for less!
And Frankly, My Dear… that’s all she wrote!
You may also enjoy reading:
WinCo Wins: Lunch for a Dollar!
Too Hot to Cook (June’s Meal Plan)
Poverty: My Story
Stocking up the Pantry
Stocking up the Cabinet