As I think I’ve mentioned before, I have a method to my madness – at least as far as meal planning goes. I know this is a tough area for a lot of people, so I thought I would share my process. Please forgive the lackluster photos; I’m afraid that if I wait for good lighting and good photos, I will keep putting off writing this post as I have already done for the past 18 months.
Every Saturday or Sunday I stand at our kitchen table (my brother made us a beautiful kitchen table that we set up at bar height) and flip through my huge binder of recipes.
I follow about 7 paleo bogs (via Feedly/RSS), which is where I get most of my recipes. I get a ton from Chris Kresser, Paleomg, and Mark Sisson. I print out the recipes (usually choosing ones with common ingredients and spices. I try to not buy anything special for just 1 recipe) and file them in one of 7 tabs: Misc., Beef, Chicken, Pork, Fish, Veggies, Desserts. If a recipe calls for two kinds of meat (beef and pork, for example), I’m in quite a quandary as to where to file it. I just have to make a snap judgement and live with it. It’s pretty intense.
I usually scan the freezer, see what kinds of meat I already have, and then flip through the binder to find some tasty-sounding recipes. I pull them out and start to write out my menu for the week.
Wow. That picture is really bad. But you get the idea – I list out the dish, along with the major ingredients. I put this on the fridge so I can easily tell if I can eat that red pepper in my lunch-time salad, or if I need to save it for a specific recipe.
I use this plan to make up my grocery list.
I usually review the Wednesday HyVee ad as well and add anything that is on sale or that looks exceptionally tasty.
Tim and I then head out to the grocery store, load up on food stuffs, come home and try to find a place for everything in our tiny fridge. If I’m feeling especially ambitious, I will cut up veggies and rinse and salad-spin our greens.
The whole process of finding recipes, writing out the meal plan, and then making the grocery list takes probably 1/2 an hour. It’s pretty painless and helps keep us from eating out too much.
I’m sure there are better ways to do this whole process, but this has worked well for me for the past 2 years.
Hope you found that helpful, and thank you for putting up with the bad photography. 🙂