Sunday, November 7, 2010

Better late than never

For years I've been reading article after article, blog post after blog post, tip after tip about meal planning. It's the best way to save money! It will eliminate stress from your life! You won't yell at your kids as much during dinner time! It will make you thinner, richer, and more beautiful! (well, maybe not that last one, although it makes a skewed kind of sense if you think about it).

Anyway, the point is that meal planning is heavily touted. And for good reason - if you plan out a week's worth of meals, go shopping for all the ingredients you need, and prepare as much as you can ahead of time, you won't have to drive yourself crazy figuring out what to make for dinner, or make last-minute grocery runs at 5:00 when everyone else in their mother is at the store.

Despite completely agreeing with the logic behind meal planning, however, I can never bring myself to do it. What scares me away is that big chunk of time I need to dedicate to planning the meals, writing out the super-long grocery list, and making one big grocery trip. I do have an excuse in that I rarely get the chance to go to the store alone, and buying more than 15 things with the girls in tow causes me endless stress, which would negate the positive effects of meal planning.

So what I've decided to do is meal planning lite. Instead of planning 5 nights worth of dinners, I will plan two fairly nice, elaborate dinners each week (ideally things that can be reheated and eaten as leftovers), and then fly by the seat of my pants for the rest of the nights.

This week I am planning ahead to make Pasta e Fagioli (courtesy of The Foodinista), and Salmon with Lentils.  To prepare, I've pre-chopped all of the ingredients and put them into bowls. Then when it comes time to cook, I can simply dump the ingredients into the saute pan or pot instead of frantically chopping my onion while the garlic burns in the pan.

I feel less stressed already...and I bet by the end of the week my crow's feet will have diminished substantially.

PS - I'll post the results of my two experimental dishes to let you know how they turned out.


  1. Great idea! Hope it all works out for you. Any less stress is a good thing!

  2. Thanks Rowie - so far so good...the soup was amazing and I wasn't the least bit stressed making it! It helped that I had almost all day yesterday. :)

  3. OK late comment but... I do meal plan and will only do so in 30 minutes before the kids wake up Sunday mornings. I keep it simple. Base it around what I know I have on hand, my Bountiful Basket Co-op(Im in Phx AZ too) and a few nightly themes like Mexican nite or Asian nite(we have a make your own pizza nite and leftover night too) I try to keep a list of regular meals my family will eat and if I have spare time(snicker as I have a toddler and special needs kiddo) look on blogs\websites for new ones. Its amazing how fast your stock of recipes grows and that you find you have most of the ingrediants on hand or can substitute this for that. So will I say every week every meal is planned NO Way! This weeks grocery list includes 6 items outside of staples like milk cereal and yogurt...I was so excited and so will be my wallet. And remember a good bowl of cereal beats McDonalds anyday!