Meal Planning

Thursday, February 27, 2014

So, this post didn't start out as a post at all.  It actually all started as an email to a friend who was forced into accepting wanted some of my meal ideas.  If you don't like cooking or have no interest in eating, this post is not for you.  Also, if you don't like reading long posts, this is not for you.  This is a highly detailed post of how I get ready to go to the grocery store.  (Now you know why it takes me about 2 hours to get ready to go to the grocery store...).  And you may think I am completely crazy after reading this post... 

Planning Your Menu:

Each week, I go to the grocery store with a list that looks like this on one side:

On the reverse side of my grocery list, I make 3 other categories of things to I need to know before going to the store.  First, I start with a list of stuff to use up.  All my extra veggies, maybe I have an old can of beans that I only used half of, or I made a curry sauce that didn't all get used up.  Next, I write down a list of different types of meals that we could have (see the 3rd pink item on this list), and then at the top of the page, as I find them, I write down the actual meals for the week.  I like having the menu for the week at the top of the page, because it makes it easy to find when I post the menu on my fridge when I get back from the store.    
Here is an example of what a week would look like:

A few of the categories that I use with my favorites for each one:
(you can check out my Main Dish Pinterest board for more ideas)

Chipotle tacos - I skipped the part where you put the whole tortilla and all the toppings in the oven and just served with in a tortilla with ranch on top.  
Charred Corn Tacos with Zucchini Slaw - I left out the radish

Ham and cheese Pizza Rolls - I used pizza dough and pepperoni and cheese

Pear and Mustard Panini's - We do pretty much any white cheese we have and stone ground mustard.  

Chickpea and Carrot Salad - I use peanuts instead of cashews. 

Italian Pasta with Tomato Pesto and Sun dried Tomato Pesto(With this one, I make my own sun dried tomato pesto, but you can buy it at the store)

Sweet Potato, Gouda and Bacon Soup - I make this without the mushrooms

Chickpea Curry - made this with regular rice and yellow curry paste
Yellow Thai Curry over Rice - I like to put in carrots, onions, potatoes and chicken.    
Sweet Potato and Quinoa Curry - I leave out the currents
Thai Chicken Wraps with peanut sauce



One Pot:  

Happy cooking!  Your kitchen will love you!  


  1. I love how organized your system is! I'm sure it helps to keep you from buying a lot of things you don't need or forgetting things you do need. I recently got engaged so I'll need to keep your tips (and delicious recipes!) in mind for when I'll have to do all the grocery shopping. By the way, this post wasn't all that long :) Thanks for sharing!

  2. This post is golden! I usually do something very similar for my meal planning, but I don't usually think about the things we have to use up and they typically wind up going to waste since I don't incorporate them the next week! I'll have to start doing that, and try some of these great recipes!


  3. Looking forward to going through these recommended recipes of yours. Meal planning can get kinda fun can't it? :-)

  4. Loved all your posts about healthier eating, meal planning, and recipes suggestions. Eating well and cooking is such an on again off again thing for me. Thanks for the inspiration and great tips!


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