Menu’s and Meal Planning
Do you do meal planning? I mean sitting down and writing down what you are going to make over the next week or two?
I do. I’ve found it helps to keep food costs down, makes it a lot easier to get a meal on the table, and gives me some flexibility to go out to dinner last-minute as well, which I like to do. Hey, if I know what we’re having and making it can be put off a day or so, why not go out? I mean I love to cook, but sometimes having someone else cook and clean up, priceless.
I’ve written about this before, and probably will again, but a chance conversation with a person last week brought the subject to the forefront again.
One thing I did for years, was have a list of the meals I could prepare with ingredients on hand posted on my fridge and I’d see what my DH wanted for dinner that night. I was a home bound short order cook. And since we used to live a lot closer to grocery stores, it worked. But now, when I have to drive 7 miles one way to a limited choice grocery story or 30 miles to better stores, well, I try to plan meals a little differently. Never mind the cost of gas to get there, it’s also the time involved to come and go. I also make a lot of food ahead. Actually I always did. I used to have a huge freezer, and could lose food in there very well. I now have a much smaller freezer and I can still ‘lose’ food when it migrates to the bottom of the freezer.
Which is why I have a list written up of what’s in there (and sometimes I even update it).
When I make a pot of Spaghetti Sauce , I make enough for 3 or 4 meals, (this works cause there’s only the two of us),
And if you have Chile in the freezer, make some Navajo Taco’s
or ladle some over a hamburger for a Chile Burger or a Chile Dog or ….
Make some Chile Verde and you have two meals, made ahead.
And if you have Chile Verde in the freezer, make some smothered burrito’s, or maybe add a little salsa to it, and have Huevo’s Ranchero’s.
There are so many meals you can make ahead. After all, if you’re going to be browning a pound of ground meat, why not brown two pounds and freeze the second pound, by doing that, you’re that further ahead on a meal. Let me give you a couple of examples:
We like Taco’s, so if I’m going to use the stove to brown and make the meat for Taco’s I make enough for two meals. That way if I get into a time crunch I can get the cooked taco meat out of the freezer, and assemble a meal in just a few minutes. By the time the meat has thawed and warmed up, I’ve got the tomatoes and lettuce chopped. And the oil heating to cook the tortilla’s. Or you can use ready-made tortilla shells. Or you can use the cooked and seasoned taco meat to make a quick meal of Nacho’s. And I just realized I’ve never shared how I make Taco’s. I will remedy that in another post. There you have it, two meals, one cook time.