ok ok how I make a meal plan anyway. I was in the store today clogging up the line with our 2 weeks worth of shopping, I love the old guy checker at the store but he sure takes his time ringing up our groceries, anyway I was apologizing for how long my order took to ring up. I explained to lady behind me I only shop every two weeks and blah blah blah. She laughed and said no problem which made me feel better. Then a few minutes later, not kidding still standing there, she asked what kind of squash I was buying. We got to talking and she said well I’d love to only go to the store every two weeks too, how do you mange that? I uh, I uh, I uh, make a meal plan, yeah that’s it. Well how do come up with 2 weeks worth of meals?
I stood there with my mouth hanging open, possibly flapping, how exactly DO I make a meal plan. I don’t even remember what I said but I think I said I ask my family and and and let them inspire me? Gee I sounded exactly like I knew what I was talking about, very trustworthy, very informative. So I got to thinking about it, how do you write a meal plan?
First things first, I look at the pantry and take stock of what we have. I try to keep stocked up on things we like to eat, things for lunches, things that last a long time and dry goods like beans. I don’t keep a lot of prepackaged food on hand because it’s more expensive and less nutritious and when you only have a certain amount allotted to feed your family you can’t waste it all on spendy mixes. So take note of what you have get right in the pantry, the fridge, the freezer and really dig in, take notes!
Now that you’ve seen what you have, make a list of what can you make from what you have on hand. They may be things you’re not interested in having in the next 2 weeks for meals but it’s a great place to start, nothing counters an expensive meat filled meal like one of beans and salad. So knowing what you have means you can plan around them, or use them in different ways or even just keep them in the back of your mind. So you have a list of meals you could make from the food on hand in your house, how many of them are you willing to make and eat in the next two weeks. Write them down for the start of your meal plan.
Here’s my meal plan to start with, I am only working with things I had on hand that I plan to use.
Spaghetti and Meatballs
I also know I have 15 boxes of pasta, 5 home grown turkeys, two pigs in the freezer, a whole beef cow coming next week, 8 home grown chickens and enough dried beans to eat them for 2 weeks straight if needed. The meat has to last us until next fall so we’re careful with how much we eat and try to go meat free a few days a week. I mostly shop for produce, lunch box items and things we don’t/can’t grow ourselves.
Then I ask my kids what they are interested in eating for the next two weeks and I hear Pizza! good. to. know. and Macaroni and Cheese! Sorry I made that last night kids! So then they’re flummoxed, what can mom make? I ask my husband what does he feel like eating? And the answer is silence, he’s thinking, thinking of Curry yes we can do curry. And a Shepherd’s Pie. And a Tater Tot Casserole thingy which I threw in the crock pot the other day and everyone raved about it. Then the kids get in on the planning, hamburgers? Sure! And? And? And once they start in the list fills itself in.
meal plan continues with
Curry–lentil and sweet potato
Tater Tot Casserole
Black Beans and Rice
VAT o’ Chili
and OH YEAH Thanksgiving Dinner featuring our own Turkey, home grown potatoes, fresh rolls, Jack’s Dad’s Dad’s Stuffing recipe, Roasted Cabbage with cheese sauce, Organic Green Bean Casserole, relish tray, AND dessert bar including Pumpkin Roll, Old South Chess Pie and if I have time a salted caramel on fudge in a chocolate shell tart thing.
Lunches will be
bubble up pizza bites
leftovers for my husband-I make sure to keep some each night
tuna salad with curry coleslaw for me–the same every day because I love it and it’s under my 300 calorie goal for each meal
I’ll make a batch of cookies for snacks in lunches
fresh fruit, apple sauce, dried craisins
carrots, celery, pickles, olives
I have 17 meals plus Thanksgiving planned. I don’t usually assign days to my meals because I like to be flexible. I never know what the day will feel like but I do know I have dinner planned for it. If after asking for input I am still stumped I will drag up the sale flier for whatever store I plan to shop in and see what’s on sale. And if I am still stumped I will head for pinterest because nothing will make you hungrier and more ready to eat that perusing beautiful food. Note to self: buy new stretchy pants.
That’s how I figure out what I making for the next two weeks==stock taking, brain storming, input and then fired up. Now add sides to your meal plan, fresh vegetables, bread if needed. Add everything that is not in your house to the shopping list so you are prepared for every meal coming up. And really every week I do make a leftover buffet OR I put up all the leftovers in mason jars in the freezer for my husband’s lunches.