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Friday, July 9, 2010

Meal Planning

A few months ago I was reading Dinner Dilemmas over at Tatertots and Jello and realized that I really needed to make a change in my meal planning. It's only the two of us and it's still hard! I usually would (try) to think of a week's worth of meals right as I headed out to the grocery store. I would pick up what I needed and then may or may not actually cook those things. I was shopping once per week and we were wasting food and money.

SO this is what I did... and it has worked wonders!

-At the end of every month I print off a calendar for the upcoming month.

-I look at my events calendar and cross of days on my meal calendar that I won't need to make dinner (like this month we have a family reunion, wedding dinner, birthday party, and 4th of July parties that I don't need to plan a dinner for).

-I fill in every single meal for the whole month on the calendar- yes a whole month!

-I think carefully about what leftovers can be used the next day or two. For example, if I am going to make hamburger tacos I will only use 1/2 of it, so I plan meaty lasagna for the next day.

-Sometimes I even write on the calendar when I need to take food out of the freezer to thaw for a meal.

-I shop at the first of the month and buy all non perishable foods for the whole month- including those that can be frozen. I also by fresh food for the first two weeks of the month.

-Halfway through the month I return to the store to buy the fresh ingredients for the rest of the month. Even though I end up running to Walmart for something random during the month, it really cuts down on my grocery shopping time and as far as I can tell- money!

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