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Topic: Meal Planning and Prep Cook-Along  (Read 18197 times)
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MareMare
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« on: June 15, 2014 11:45:05 PM »

Hey all! I thought it would be nice to have a spot to share our meal planning tricks and tips and to help us keep track of grocery lists and prep. I keep an ongoing grocery list in my phone (add to it whenever I realize I need something). Before I head to the grocery store, I transfer everything onto it to an Excel spreadsheet that is organized by sections so I don't have to double back in the grocery store (dairy in a column, canned foods and condiments together, etc). Then I check some of my pantry staples (nuts, seeds, dried fruit, oats, sugar/oil/flour) to see if I need more of any of those.)



I tend to have lots of pantry and freezer staples on hand. Each week I loosely plan 3-5 meals and then pick up anything extra I need that isn't included in my regular shopping/staples. Some of my ideas for this week:

--Breakfast pizza (already bought ready made crust from Trader Joe's)
--Pork Chops and mashed sweet potatoes
--Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce
--Ground Turkey Stir Fry
--Homemade chili, baked potatoes

All I need to buy to make these meals are mushrooms, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, poblano peppers, cabbage, chuck roast, and ground turkey, so those get added to my in progress grocery list.

Usually I try to do food prep on Sunday nights, but this weekend was busy so I'll do it tomorrow. For this week, all that means is grilling or sauteing up a bunch of chicken breasts, cooking some hard boiled eggs, and making a batch of salad dressing. These will be for easy snacks and lunches, and go along with lunch salads I send to work for my mom and her co-worker. I try to do different proteins each week, some weeks it might be beans instead, or I'll make a big batch of tuna fish with lots of veggies in it.

I'd love to hear how you meal plan and prep and what you are working on this week!
« Last Edit: June 15, 2014 11:48:20 PM by MareMare » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2014 12:44:35 AM »

Wow. you are amazingly organised. I need to borrow some of your tricks.  Now that I am on my own most of the time I have gotten lazy about planning.
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« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2014 06:09:52 AM »

I am sure I would eat more healthy if I planned a bit better....hubby does the grocery shopping, but he would be happy to pick up whatever ingredients I would need...

Also, to be able to prepare things ahead of time, I guess for me, that would be on the weekend or possibly Thursday nights, would be a good time saver...I never know what can be done ahead...

First question:

How do you organize your pantry?  Do you know what you have on hand by just looking?

I have a large closet pantry that is a mess.

« Last Edit: June 16, 2014 06:12:13 AM by alwaysinmyroom » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2014 09:14:57 AM »

I just organized my pantry really well and threw out a lot of stuff as we are trying to eat less processed food!

I have a big closet type one plus a bazillion cupboards. I have one cupboard for canned goods (soups, beans, vegetables, tomatoes and tomato sauce) and pasta. And another cupboard for baking supplies and spices that I use less frequently (spices I use more often are above the stove). Yet another cupboard for tea, and another one for vinegars, sauces, and coffee.

In the actual pantry I moved things around so my food processors are easier to get to (I use them a lot!) and moved my nuts, seeds, and dried food to mason jars (I buy them in bulk). I just kind of allocated space for rice and beans, breakfast foods (oatmeal, cereals, pancake mix, syrup), my nephews' foods (juice boxes, fruit snacks, single serving fruit cups), crackers and snack foods, and anything else I could group up that I actually use on a regular basis.

I think for me throwing out anything stale and giving away things we weren't going to eat made it really easy to organize what was left!
« Last Edit: June 16, 2014 09:15:19 AM by MareMare » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2014 03:49:26 PM »

Ooh, great ideas clm! I'd love your recipe for Potato Leek Soup if you'd like to share!
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« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2014 04:09:33 PM »

Yumm! Thanks!
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« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2014 06:17:11 PM »

Sounds yummy!

It is only my husband and I, so freezing large quantities tends to create a lot of waste for us...we forget it is there or we can't or won't eat it all...I do think I could manage smaller batches of soup stock and maybe freezing more veggies...some good ideas there!

I decided already that there are too many non-food items in my pantry that could go somewhere else...I haven't used my punch bowl in years, so out it goes...and the black roasting pan could go into the garage as we rarely use it for just us...we have a lot of food to take to the food pantry...

Planning meals is my weakness...I just want to come home and have it there, ready to eat!
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« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2014 07:07:29 PM »

Right now I've got chicken tenderloins defrosting, eggs steaming, bacon baking, red potatoes boiling and I'm taking a break from chopping veggies right now! Some of that is for dinner tonight, some is for lunch salads, and I'm also going to make some potato salad to go along with lunch salads this week. Tomorrow I have to get groceries so using up the tail ends of a few things to make room in the fridge!
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« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2014 07:35:34 PM »

Yeah I've got Sangria from Father's Day brunch taking up room in my fridge so I think I'll be getting into that as I finish making dinner Cheesy
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« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2014 08:18:24 PM »

Thanks for starting this, Mare! There have already been some great suggestions shared.

CLM - I've never heard of a bulk cooking group but that's a good idea!

I do a meal plan every Sunday evening and order the required groceries online. Amazon has them at my door the next morning so it's super convenient.

This week, I'm trying to use my spiralizer with every dinner meal!
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