Meal Planning

Thanks to the Eat In Challenge, I’ve been cooking a lot more. A whole lot more, in fact. And packing lunches! Previously I packed a lunch if I happened to have left overs, and no planning went into it at all.

Now, I’ll be honest, I haven’t been doing detailed meal plans, and have come up short of leftovers these last two days, but I have been getting a system going, and it seems to be working well for me for the most part.

I must first say that I don’t cook without a recipe. I would be an utter failure at any Iron Chef-style competition. I need to know that someone else has made this work. Experiment? I leave that to Mat and other adventurous people! 🙂

So, what I’ve been doing is bookmarking new recipes I come across online and want to try, or pull out cards from my recipe box of things I’d like to make again, or lay open a page of a cookbook with something delicious looking. I pick about three of them that we’ll make that week.

Monday has been my big shop day, and I’ll go out and get all the ingredients for those three chosen recipes for the week.

I’ll make what seems most appealing when I have time. I don’t plan that out, it all depends on the day, my shifts, and what I feel like.

If I’m making a new recipe, and I know I’ll want to make it again, then it gets written out onto a card and into recipe box and deleted from my favourites menu.

Problems with this meal planning system have included not having enough food for leftovers (especially when trying new recipes and not knowing how big a serve they really mean) and then I end up scrounging for lunches or dinners. I always have a few stand-by quick and easy meals at hand – rice and… and pasta and… and a tuna melt is always good. And I’ve been bulking out my lunches with heaps of fruit and a few sticks of celery with peanut or almond paste. Oh yum! But it is nice to have a more complete meal available, and ready to go when I am!

So far, though, I have been able to put enough food together to not dip into the packaged junk at work! And I feel so much better for it!

Do you have a meal planning system? How does it work?

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