meal planning in a snap

When my grandmother immigrated from Germany in the early 1920’s her first job was  a cook in a house just outside NYC. As the family cook she planned, purchased and cooked every meal everyday. Growing up I didn’t find this to be a particularly grand feat but, when I had a family of my own I realized how crazy meal planning can be. I struggled, until one day  I said to myself ” easy modern mom you need to get it together your easy modern family wants to eat EVERY day.” So I put on my modern thinking cap and went to work.

I started by making a list.

1.What are our staple foods? ( things for the kids lunches and breakfasts)

2. Where should I look for recipes?

3. What is important? Quick, easy, healthy, budget friendly

And with these things in mind I set to work. I decided that I could really simplify things if I made some staple meals. For example for breakfast we would always have some combination of the same foods. Lunch the same, and dinner would rotate depending on what I found that week. Ok so here we go…

Breakfast

some type of eggs ( scrambled, fried, omelet, hard boiled) or oatmeal if its cold.

fruit ( whatever is in season)

toast

smoothie ( frozen fruit, greek yogurt and almond milk)

milk

Lunch ( this is easy most of the time since modern Dad and modern older brother always buy their lunch)

mini beagles

apple sauce

turkey

cheese

bread (both kinds)

some kind of chips

veggie ( usually baby carrots)

snacks

zbars

some kind of cookies

Dinner (on rotation)

So here is where the real work began. I thought about the websites where I always find no miss,  easy, budget friendly recipes. Here are my favorites:

budget bytes

creme de le crumb

I then further narrowed down my recipe search by limiting it only to recipes that have about 6 or 7 ingredients, no fancy things that I don’t normally have on hand, and are gluten free.

I also realized that I don’t need to cook every night.  I can cook one meal and we can have the left overs the next day. So we only need three meals a week. This allows for a crazy day when we don’t have any time to make anything and we end up either going out, making breakfast for diner or having sandwiches.

And how did I solve the problem of not knowing what recipes I had bought ingredients for?  I hung a notepad on the refrigerator listing the meals for the week, the name of the recipe, and the website where I found the recipe.  As I make dinner each night I simply cross off the meal.img_2512

 

Whew, when does this get easy? Well, now that I have my templet all I do is follow it every week.

Breakfast – staples

Lunch- staples

Diner – 3 dinners look at notepad for recipes and ingredients.

I have further simplified things by shopping on Amazon Fresh. It saves my weekly purchases so all I need to do is add my staples to the cart and add the ingredients for whatever dinners I am making that week. If you have a grocery delivery service available to you I would highly recommend it. There is a convince fee associated with it but you are spared all those impulse purchases you make when you go to the grocery store. In the end I find I actually save money.

img_2587

easy modern meal planning

What is your favorite meal planning tip?

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