Monday, April 30, 2012

1 Hour's Hard Work = One Week of Easy Meals!

Are you a list maker?

I am an incessant list maker. My lists tell me who to call, where to go, what to do, to buy, to pack, to make, and to think. I guess my brain is just too small to hold it all.

The best lists I make are the hardest ones to come up with. I guess I'm just not a decision maker, but making a week's menu and corresponding grocery list take me at least an hour. I have to take into account

  • who will be eating
  • what they can eat
  • what time they need to eat
  • what's on sale
  • what I still have on hand
  • how much time I'll have to make it
  • how many will be eating
  • would it work for reheating for lunches the next day
  • is there enough variety?
  • is there the right nutrition?
And most important:
  • does it sound good to me?
When I make the menu, I also list side dishes and on my grocery list I include the ingredients for those, so I don't have to think at all when I go to make the meal--just read the list and make it!

One thing I've noticed--I hardly ever do a whole week's menu as I planned it. Seems like something always comes up to change things, I wasn't able to get an essential ingredient, there were so many leftovers I decide to do something with them, our non-resident vegetarian comes for a meal so I switch things up, or something.

Here's a recent menu of main meals I labored over for well over an hour--and the changes I ended up making: (I start on Wednesday because that's the day I do my grocery shopping.)

Wednesday - Salmon, baked potatoes, green beans

Thursday - Mexican skillet rice, salad

Friday - Hot turkey sandwiches, coleslaw; Jim and I were alone so we had a shared steak, baked potatoes, and stir-fried broccoli and sweet peppers

Saturday - (our oldest son, his wife and their baby are here for the weekend)
lunch: hamburgers, broccoli salad, potato wedges; fan potatoes
supper: pasta with white sauce, salad; bruchetta (breakfast and lunch were late so we just needed a snack before going to a play)

Sunday - (Jim's away, but his parents join us for the midday "dinner")
dinner: curried fish, rice, carrot salad, left over broccoli salad
supper: bruchetta; toasted cheese sandwiches

Monday - Cranberry Chicken, sweet potatoes, green beans stir fried with sweet peppers and mushrooms

Tuesday - Pizza Meatloaf, broccoli, potatoes

Is it worth the work I put into this? In a word, YES!

Every day instead of thinking "What on earth can I make for dinner?" I just look at the list stuck to my fridge with a magnet and say, "Oh, I have everything for that! I'll get the chicken/meat out of the freezer now."

So in spite of the effort it costs me, it's something I recommend. And maybe you are one of those lucky people who doesn't have so much trouble making decisions!

2 comments:

  1. I'm a list maker too and everything you mentioned is so true. One thing you did not mention is that you save money when planning a weekly menu. I live in a rural area and the closest supermaket is 12 miles away round trip. With the price of gasoline I really have to plan so I'm not missing an ingredient for a meal.

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    Replies
    1. You are right, Raquel. And even if, like me, you live very close to grocery stores, constant visits use time and studies prove that the more often you enter grocery stores, the more you will spend. Besides that, people who aren't prepared, might resort to fast food or eating out, which is definitely more expensive. Thanks for reminding us of that!

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