Tuesday, January 8, 2013

What to eat

Growing up, we always knew exactly what to expect for supper. Monday was fish; Tuesday was ground beef; Wednesday was chicken; Thursday was pork chops; Friday was pizza; Saturday was chicken; Sunday was steak (in summer) or roast beef (in winter).

Some of these became so engrained in our heads that my sister still maintains a "Pizza Friday" tradition. I went completely crazy, and decided to have "Pizza Saturday". I know, alert the police, this girl has gone wild.

I try not to keep a very regimented food menu, so as to not get stuck in too many ruts, but as time goes on, we definitely are getting more and more into a system, and I find it really helps when it comes to meal planning and grocery shopping.

Each week, we try to aim for the following
  1. Pizza (usually Saturday)
  2. Spaghetti (usually Sunday... served with a glass of wine and eaten in front of the TV watching the Simpsons, Bob's Burger, Family Guy, American Dad and the Good Wife -- a last chance to relax before the weekend is over... and always a great item to have as left-overs for our lunch on Monday!)
  3. One meatless meal
  4. One new recipe
  5. One slow cooker meal

This plan leaves us, on average, only 2 meals where we really have to think about what we want (on average because there have been times when we've had a new recipe which is both meatless and uses the slow cooker).  For these two meals, I have 3 strategies I can use to think of them

  1. Fall back on old favourites, like tacos
  2. Plan something I've been craving for a while (like peanut chicken. I would kill for some peanut chicken. Yes, even as I'm writing this, at 9:13 on a Saturday morning. I love anything that contains peanut butter more than life)
  3. Create ideas based on what we seem to have a lot of kicking around our pantry. (Currently, we have 4 open containers of pasta, plus the big packages of chicken were on sale last week, so I foresee some chicken mozzarella in our future). 
I go through phases with Pinterest, where one week will be all about clothing, the next, all about slowcookers, the next all about decorating imaginary houses, etc. As a result, I tend to keep a good stockpile of recipes on my "Things to Eat" board which prevents the panic of "I don't know, what do you want to eat?" "I don't know, what do you want to eat" that tends to go on when meal planning.

I also prep as much as I can stand after we come back from grocery shopping.
  1. Separate meat into how much you intend to use per day prior to freezing, so you aren't defrosting more than you need and risking spoilage 
  2.  Chop up vegetables and package fruit so you have grab-and-go containers to throw into your bag to snack on during the day (to avoid the whole: "I'll just buy a cookie for $1.50 even though I'm not really that hungry" budgetary disaster). 
  3. Make a giant salad to be stored in the fridge (to prevent the whole: "I'm too lazy to make anything else, so no vegetables for us!" attitude). 
We don't formally plan our lunches and breakfasts. I eat my granola bars for breakfast; Scott has coffee and cereal. For lunches, we try to always make enough for supper that we can have leftovers for lunch, which is why ensuring we have enough salad in in the fridge always helps!


  1. I think we are dinner menu planning sisters :) We have a system very similar to yours. It makes the week so much more pleasant knowing what's for dinner or at least an idea. It's nice to have those fall back meals, like tacos. We also try to do one dinner on the grill once a week that way the hubby can cook and I get to take a day off. Heather

  2. In my defence..... It was a different gr. beef / chicken / pork / pizza recipee every week.

  3. We try to plan our meals out each week too, it makes shopping easier. And we usually have a "theme" too - we always have one Mexican meal, one leftover type meal, one italian type meal, etc. It works!

  4. We always make extras so we have leftovers for lunch. And pasta is our Plan B if we're feeling lazy or don't feel like eating what we had planned. I make little snack bags too with baby carrots, celery, or grapes.

  5. These are all such great ideas. I wish I could get back into making meal menus. My family is so darned picky though. All this sounds like great advice though. I need to brush up on some new recipes.


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