SoBo Mama's Tips & Tricks

{November 23, 2012}   Meal Planning

A delicious-looking meal

A delicious-looking meal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My best friend of about 30 years has massive OCD.  She calls it something else.  Her doctor calls it something else.  I call it OCD.

I like to organize, and I know that disorganization is costly, but I’m not obsessed to the point my BFF is.

Her to-do lists have to-do lists.

At one point when she and I were attempting to get on track, she told me about her family’s meal planning adventures.  I remember she had themes each night – “Toothpick Tuesday” scared me.  I had visions of one of the monkeys being stabbed.

I do not sit down with a calendar and plan out our meals.  My kids (the monkeys) are 8 and 12 and can fix toast or cereal for breakfast.  They eat school lunches, I pack  a PB sandwich each day, and I honestly have no clue what my DH (dear husband) does for lunch.  I believe he eats a lot of convenience store cuisine….Not healthy, but I can’t really fix it if he won’t meet me halfway.

Dinner is a different story.  I could sit down and plan it out, but I really don’t.  I have a general idea of what we’ll do each night and it’s based on our crazy schedules.

  • Monday – either the crock pot or something super quick and easy.  I have faculty and department meetings on Monday afternoons.  DH has pool Monday evenings.  Dinner has to be ready almost as soon as we walk in.
  • Tuesday – tacos, spaghetti, etc.  I have a little more time Tuesdays.  Monkey 1 goes to the math tutor while Monkey 2 is at Running Club, so it’s close to 4 when we get home.
  • Wednesday – if DH is home, it’s usually a grill night.  I’ve had monster hot dog cravings lately, but the only way I’ll eat them is off the grill or from a New Orleans street vendor.  Monkey 1 has our church’s version of Sunday School on Wednesdays and he eats there, so it’s just the three of us.  If we’re not grilling, it’s a frozen pizza night.
  • Thursday – Monkey 1 is again at tutoring and at this point in the week, we’re definitely on a crock pot meal.  I’m exhausted by Thursday.  But I try to keep freezer-to-crockpot meals on hand so I can throw something in the crock pot on my way out the door and it’s ready when we get home.
  • Friday – DH has pool again, so we usually go eat somewhere.
  • Saturday – we grill or I cook.  Many times, our friends down the street are grilling and we go eat with them.
  • Sunday – the monkeys are with my mother-in-law most Sundays.  DH is usually with his friends watching football or he’s hunting in the woods, so Sunday is a grab and go kind of day filled with leftovers.

Would it make more sense to actually plan meals ahead?  Of course it would.  Would it save me a bunch of money?  Of course it would.  Have I gotten to that point yet?  Maybe.

If you google Once A Month Cooking, Freezer Cooking, and Meal Planning, you’ll find all kinds of websites trying to sell you memberships for their meal-planning services.  It’s up to you how you spend your money, but I’m not buying a service when I have the resources I need in my kitchen.  Except an operational oven, which is a whole other blog post.

If I were scheduling meals out, I would start by taking inventory of my pantry and cold storage.  I could probably do a lot with what I already have.  Then I would go through my recipes, pull a few favorites, and build a list based on what I need to make those things.  I’d double my batches so I can freeze some meals.  And while I poke fun at Beca’s theme night meal planning, she always knew what they’d be having.  Just like every Wednesday I could plug-in frozen pizza.  Thursday is a crock pot meal.  Monday probably is , too.

Meal planning is a lot less intimidating now that I look at it in black and white.  I can combine my menu plan with my coupons.  And planning ahead saves money, so why not try it?

So maybe meal planning is the next step in my pursuit of ultimate cheaptitude.  Pinterest and Google are fabulous resources for this type of things – be sure to check them out.  I’ll let you know how my meal planning goes.  You let me know what you find!
~ Katie


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