Meal Planning

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Who would imagine that a cute little chalkboard like this could change my habits? That a mirror turned chalkboard could land on the wall and get me more organized in the kitchen. It really has!

About the time I finished this sweet thing and hung it up in the kitchen, my hubby had hinted strongly suggested that I should really start meal planning.  If you missed this little chalkboard project, go here to take a peek at how it started as an old mirror found at a yardsale.

I have always flown by the seat of my pants when it came to planning our meals for the week and that’s not particularly a good thing.   Going to the grocery store meant that whatever struck me at the moment was what landed in my cart for the week and then I would put meals together with whatever I had at home and had purchased in my grocery store run.  I can’t tell you how many times I had to stop back by the store for a missing ingredient or 2 that I was going to need for meal time prep.

Chalkboard

So, when this went on the wall, right in plain view, it seemed like a pretty good idea to start adding the menu every week, at least Monday through Friday meals.  And I have to say, it’s made my life much easier when it comes to kitchen prep and meal planning.

Now, at the beginning of the week, usually Sunday evening, I’ll sit down and go through my list of tried and true recipes that we tend to rotate on a regular basis.  You know the ones.  Those that you rely on for ease of prep and you just know that they will work and taste good.  I think I have about 25 or 30 main dishes on my list now, but I’m always looking to add more.  And the good thing is, hubby can read it too and know what’s for dinner!

I only put the main dish on the menu board and then I can add to that fairly easy, since I always have rice, pasta, and potatoes around to supplement.  And I keep a good supply of frozen veggies in the freezer for quick meals too.  Add in fresh salad fixin’s and I’m ready to go.  My trio consists of a meat, carb, and veggie.  Or pasta or soup or sandwich and veggie.  Any of those combos work for me.

Ruined stovetop

Now, here’s a strong case for never leaving a pot boiling on the stove.  Especially if you’re over 50.  I really think something happens to the chemicals in the brain after you turn 50 and you can’t keep things inside your short-term memory for more than about 30 seconds at a time.   Do you know what I’m talkin’ about??  I told my sister it’s like everything is just ricocheting around in there trying to find a coherent thought. 🙂

So, I left this pot to boil, intending to come right back and turn it down to LOW and do you think I managed to do that?  Of course not!  I heard my hubby rushing down the stairs telling me to check the kitchen, as he ran around opening the windows and doors to LET THE SMOKE OUT!  As I ran to the kitchen, the bottom of my stainless steel pot had melted all over the glasstop stove and left this horrid burn mark and gouges in the glass.  I didn’t even know that was possible with these glass top stoves.  The final straw was the hairline crack that started on this eye in the glass and traveled crookedly back to the other burner on that side.  So now I’m cooking on the left side of the stove for awhile.

So, word to the wise.  Don’t walk away and leave a pot boiling! I learned that very expensive lesson.  Not sure how much it’s going to cost, but early estimates are $400 just for the new glass top.  OUCH!

Do you do meal planning every week?  I’d love to hear from all of you on that subject.  How do you do it and is it working for you?

All of that to say this!  How about we do a recipe party?  I don’t know about you, but I can always use more recipes to add to my repertoire, can’t you? I thought this would be a fun time of year to drag out your tried and trues and share them with everyone.  From meat dishes, to soups, salads, and whatever else you love.  Including desserts.  My personal fave.  Let’s have a recipe party!

Spread the word!  Don’t we all need new recipes to add to the menu?

Recipe Exchange

This is the last week for the Homegood’s $100 giftcard giveaway (it ends Wednesday), so if you didn’t sign up, click here to get in on it.

And Birmingham folks, the Holiday House tickets are on sale (see post below) and I have tickets available if you’d like to go, so please email me!

- Rhoda

Comments

  1. I try to plan according to what is on sale or what I have in the freezer. We try to have at least 1/2 a cow in the freezer (we buy black angus from a local farmer)
    I have 2 standby menu plans…Menu A and Menu B – This is for weeks that I don’t want to think about setting a menu. I have Shopping list A and B to match. Takes the guess work out of it when I am super busy. Normally on Sundays I make several meals and freeze them to have for the week. I am attempting to OAMC (once a month cooking) not sure how it will work out!
    Blessings to you

  2. I’ve been writing down a list of the next several meals I can/want to make on a list on the fridge. It helps so I don’t have to think about it each day! I’m not real strict on the day or order, but just make sure to have ingredients on hand for those meals. It’s working well.

  3. Yes…I make a meal calendar for the month. I do my grocery shopping off that calendar. I sometimes stray a bit from my menus but not too much. At the beginning of the week I look at what I have for produce etc and whatever other fresh meaning produce items I have and finalize the weeks meals.
    It has cut down on my grocery shopping bills as well. I also watch the weekly circulars and the week I do my “big” shopping I go through all the ads for their weekly specials. yes, its a bit more driving but everything is within 5-7 miles of my home. Its worth it when store a has whole pork loin for 1.49 lb, whole beef tenderloin for $5.99 lb and cheese is 10/$10 I stock up. Its well worth the few minutes of quiet time in my car.

  4. Recipe Party? Sounds fun!!! I’m sending over a link to my absolute favorite-ist (LOL) chicken recipe. The women’s ministry director at my church got the recipe from me to serve at last night’s ladies event (300 ladies) because I served it to her and she fell in love with it too. Hope you will like it as much as me!
    http://sweetjeanette.blogspot.com/2009/08/cheesy-sun-dried-tomato-stuffed-chicken.html

  5. Oh, forgot to mention, that I do meal planning and freezer cooking too. I have a form on my computer for planning out the meals on one side, and the other has the space for grocery list. (would be happy to e-mail it to you if you’d like). I love taking advantage of Buy One/Get Two meat deals at Albertsons. Hubby is a steak lover, and they do (often) specials on their petite sirloin steaks. I’ll buy a bunch, pack 3-4 in gallon size ziplock bags and pour in our favorite marinade (Allegro) and freeze. When we’re ready to grill out, I put them in the frige to thaw and while thawing they’re marinating! Yum!

    sweetjeanette.blogspot.com

  6. I’ve done meal planning for years and it has really helped with budgeting and also with not staring at my cupboards trying to decide what is going to be for dinner. I figure out what meat is on sale that week and go from there (meat always being the most expensive for us). It all goes on the big family calendar so I can easily see it. We don’t always cook each meal on the day it’s written but at least I know what is in the house to cook.

  7. Oh Rhoda,
    How awful. I hope it’s not more expensive that you’ve estimated. I know what you mean about our memory after 50.

  8. one of the BEST stove top cleaners I’ve run across is liquid bar keep friends. http://www.barkeepersfriend.com/ This is NOT an info-mercial for them – it is just the only thing I’ve found to work well…..don’t know if it will fix this but…….worth a try. I works FABULOUSLY at cleaning the copper bottom pans (found that out by accident yesterday!) & the stainless kitchen sink – yep that too. I plan to do a blog post about it someday!!

  9. Sorry Rhoda. I have a similar story. I left my treasured LeCreuset tea kettle on the stove top while I got too absorbed in my millioneth viewing of It’s A Wonderful Life. What a mess…melted teapot…luckily, I old stove suffered no damage. My dear son bought me a new tea kettle with a whistler but I never will live it down and each Christmas season when It’s A Wonderful Life airs, again and again, my dear children like to remind me of my mishap 🙂

    Count me in for the recipe party.

    Blessings!
    Gail

  10. Hi, Rhoda …

    Your Recipe Party sounds like fun and I’d love to participate.

    I can’t count how many times I’ve let pots boil over on my induction cooktop, but (so far) I’ve always managed to catch them before I ruined my pots, or worse. Have you checked with someone to be sure it’s safe to continue using your cooktop like it is?

    I’ll look forward to linking to your Recipe Party later today.

    Sincerely,

    Janie

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