I thought I’d take a little break from our normal recipe posting and show the method behind our meals.
In the past, I never though about meals in a long-term sense. Most of the time, one of us would come up with the idea during the day, text the other to make sure it sounded good, and then swing by the store on the way home.
This resulted in multiple, multiple trips to the store every week, and a lot of wasted produce. We’d buy a large bunch of cilantro, use a small handful for a recipe, and the rest of it would sadly wither away.
Our freezer was stocked with meat that we never cooked because we never gave ourselves enough time to thaw it out.
Basically, we were wasting a lot of time and money.
I decided that we needed to stop.
So, I started thinking about how much money I thought we should spend each week on food. This would include the breakfasts and lunches that I make ahead for us at the beginning of each week, plus I planned for 5 dinners (we have one night a week we always have to grab something quickly, and typically we’ll go out at least one night). I also thought about what was important to us when it comes to our food. I wanted us to be able to buy as much as possible from our incredible local farmers, and the items we couldn’t get from them I wanted to be of the highest quality. As I told my sweet husband, I didn’t want this to feel restrictive, but I did want us to be aware of where our money was going.
The funniest (and most surprising) part of this whole thing is that now we’re shopping almost exclusively at our farmer’s market and at Whole Foods, and are spending less on a weekly basis than I thought was possible. So not what I expected, but so so great! Also, our meals are amazing. We both feel better, and I love the relationships we’ve made with the people from whom we buy our food. It’s important.
So, down to the nitty-gritty:
I keep a Google doc going of a huge list of recipes. Any time I find a new one I want us to try, I just add a short description on to the page with a link to the original recipe. I love reading comments on recipes to see how people have modified the original, and I’ll often make notes on my doc to include some of the ideas that I’ve read.
Then, I have another doc where I break down the week into the proper categories, and what meals I have planned for each of those. I try to keep in mind what’s currently in season, since those ingredients will be the easiest to find and the tastiest. I also include the link to the original recipes, so that I don’t have to go searching around. Josh also has access to this doc, so he can make dinner too without having to ask me where the recipe is from. I include any notes I’ve made, since I usually wind up incorporating those into the recipes.
Here’s what this week’s meal plan looks like:
Week of July 15-July 21
- Pork Chops and potato packets
- Summer squash tacos with avocado chimichurri- add a fried egg
- Fire-pot soup-
- Giant chipotle white beans
- Kimchi fried rice
Typically I’ll make a grocery list on a Friday night, then we hit the market and the store on Saturday morning. We get as much as possible from the market before we get to Whole Foods, and I try to stick to the list when we get there. Whole Foods is very dangerous to wander around in.
It’s nothing fancy, and I don’t assign any meals to certain days of the week, but it’s nice to know that I have everything I need to make us really great meals.
It also means more time for lolling each night, and that’s never a bad thing.
Anyone else do meal planning? Do you feel like you’ve turned into your mother when you do it, or is that just me?