Tuesday, 13 October 2009

KITCHEN TIP: Making a Meal Plan

I find it so much easier to go food shopping when I've planned out what I'm going to make. I will often search the net (like one of my favourite sites: allrecipes.com) and occasionally pull out one of my numerous cookbooks or recipe magazines (although I find it much quicker to do a net search).

On many recipe sites you can set up your own 'cookbook' that can hold your favourite recipes from that site. I love allrecipes.com because I can rate the recipes in my own cookbook and since I have a paid membership on that site ($20 for 2 years) I can also edit recipes that other people have posted and plunk the edited version in my own cookbook.

Once I figure out approximately 5 supper options and a few options for lunches I have a better idea of what I'll need. Then, being a total Type A personality (I have embraced my Inner Geek), I put the items I need in an excel spreadsheet that is on my handy laptop in my kitchen. No more loose pieces of paper floating around for me to lose. When I think of something that I need to buy I just update my spreadsheet. I also list the meals that I plan to make at the top because, in the past, I've often bought all of the ingredients for a dish ... then forgot what dish I was going to make. *sigh*

When it's time to go food shopping I email the spreadsheet to myself which then puts it on my iTouch. With iTouch in hand, I head out to the food store where I can scan through my list and listen to music while I shop for (mostly) the things that I need. There are a few things that pop into the cart that aren't on the list (like those delicious Ritter Sport chocolate bars that I hide for 'Mommy Pick Me Up Moments'. A good place to hide said stash is in the canned veggie cupboard where hubbies and children rarely venture ... but I digress).

Whether you use a spreadsheet or not, planning out meals makes life a little bit easier and can help keep your pantry/deep freeze from getting too bogged down with all kinds of stuff that you often forget you even have. Who among us has not found some long lost package of pork chops or ground beef in the bottom of the deep freeze?

So, this week try making out your own Meal Plan and see how it goes! :)

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