What’s for dinner?

How’s your weekend going so far? After watching a disappointing Ireland vs. Wales Six Nations rugby match at The Banshee, I spent a wild and crazy Saturday night doing some freelance work and catching up on emails and life in general.

I can’t believe it has taken me so long, but I finally started compiling all of my cooking at home adventures into once place. So far, I have only gathered a few months; who knew I cooked so much?! I am hoping this new page will be a helpful, scan-able resource that will eventually feature all of the cooking and baking I have done, organized by category, but I did want to share in case, like me, you are shopping today to plan meals for the week.

http://traveleatlove.com/recipes/

I am sometimes asked about cooking and meal planning, and I wish I had a more organized way of going about it. Basically, throughout each week, I come across recipes whether it be on blogs, on TV, in magazines, or if I take the time to sit down with my mountain of cookbooks. As I go through the week, I write down recipes I want to try, usually for dinner, and start to compile a list based on the ingredients.

Before I go shopping, if I am being smart, I do a thorough inventory of what we have. I know we will always need milk for tea and cereal, almond milk, spinach, and bananas for smoothies, oatmeal, and yogurt. Those are the things that we always buy. After that, I try to figure out lunches. To save money and make sure he eats well, I send lunch with my husband fur days a week, so at the beginning of each week I try to figure out if dinners will have leftovers and then supplement that with sandwich or salad ingredients.

I leave about 10% of space on my list for new finds, which, if you shop at Trader Joe’s, you know are pretty common. They often have some sort of new frozen vegetables, soups, sauces, or snacks that might become part of or central to a meal I hadn’t thought of. That’s probably my favorite part of the meal-planning process, the chance to be creative on the fly. :)

I probably should get a little more organized with planning meals, but so far, so good. We seem to eat pretty well without overspending on takeout or finding ourselves without food in the house.

How do you plan meals for the week? Do you plan out every meal or just really stock up on ingredients so that you are ready for anything?

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Tags: Food, grocery shopping, meal planning, recipes

  1. Clarice’s avatar

    I usually plan all the dinners for a week or two, and then pick up extra veggies later in the week if necessary. With that said, I try to keep some things like black beans and pasta always on hand; I like to be able to change my mind.

    Reply

  2. Jess @JessCantCook’s avatar

    I wish I had a better way of organizing our meals too, I’ve tried planning & shopping on Sunday but then Wednesday rolls around and we’re not in the mood for whatever we had planned! I keep ingredients for a few go to meals on hand all the time, then pick at least 1 new recipe to try too.

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    1. traveleatlove’s avatar

      That totally happens to us too. There are times when I have planned everything out and then end up eating cheese and crackers or something silly for dinner because I don’t want what I planned on making! :)

      Reply

    2. Stephanie @ The Cookie Battle’s avatar

      I usually just stock up on ingredients and then wing it for meals. My breakfast and lunches tend to be pretty much the same unless I randomly decide to go out for lunch, so dinner is my variable. I used to plan a lot more than I do, but now I sort of just go with whatever I feel like eating.

      Reply

    3. Michelle’s avatar

      I stock up on a lot of proteins by purchasing them on sale family-style and portioning them out for the freezer. It always helps to have the proteins on hand and supplementing the other ingredients. I also do the same with frozeen vegetables and beans.

      Reply

    4. MelissaNibbles’s avatar

      I eat a lot of repeat meals so it makes it easy. If I’m craving something, I try to find a way to work with what I have or I’ll treat myself and spend a little extra to get what I’m craving. I just try to make sure I have my pantry stocked with my staples like pasta, rice, oatmeal, beans and my fridge with fruits and veg.

      Reply

    5. Chris's Gourmet Fashion’s avatar

      I usually shop for a few days at a time for vegetables (their properties deteriorate fast when left in the fridge for too long), I pick up what looks freshest and then worry about what to do with them later … in summer I skip that step and just pick from my vegetable garden and shop for fish and poultry and of course stuff like eggs since I don’t raise chickens:). If I have guests coming over, then I plan!

      Reply

    6. Megan’s avatar

      I plan really well for the beginning of the week, but when Thursday or Friday hit, we’re usually scrounging for stuff… or we have plenty of leftovers that we’re just sick of eating.

      Reply

    7. Raija’s avatar

      I don’t plan at all!! that’s my problem!! And I end up having to rely on lots of frozen stuff because I never know what I’ll feel like and otherwise stuff will go bad. I need to be much more methodical…and I hate grocery shopping, which doesn’t help. Your blog is always inspiring though — your new recipe link will be a great help! And as many blogs have already said, a well stocked pantry really does wonders to allow for creativity.

      Reply

    8. alicia’s avatar

      OH man, meal planning is such an adventure here…it changes a bit weekly, but usually I have at least 1 ‘I gotta make it’ dish from a TV show, blog or cookbook. Then I scan the weekly fliers to figure out what is on-sale then build my menu around that.

      But there are staples that always need to be purchased….deli meats for Rafe, soy milk, lowfat milk, bananas, lettuce and tomatoes are diet staples for us.

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