What’s for Dinner?
by Janis Cox
“What’s for dinner? I’m hungry.”
Okay – who hasn’t heard that phrase before? If you haven’t you either are extremely well organized or from another planet.
How do you answer this? Here are 3 ways I used to answer the question:
- Oh I am too tired – let’s just go out to eat. ($$$ not in your budget)
- What would you like? Let me see if I can find something to satisfy you.
- Let’s look at the meal plan on the fridge and see what’s up for tonight.
I used to do both number 1 and number 2. Never had I tried number 3. But this year – 2013 – I decided that I needed to know what I planned for dinner before the crunch arrived.
Meal planning – sounds dauntless.
But it doesn’t have to be. I made meal planning extremely simple. I chose only to look at dinners. Breakfasts and lunches seem to take care of themselves. But the family meal at the end of the day – that is the most important and the one that you are tempted to say: “OUT”.
There are 3 steps I took to planning my monthly calendar.
1. Choose the meals that you like to eat:
I decided which meals we ate regularly and decided to put them in a rotation. We like to eat fish, chicken and the occasional red meat. So my meals rotated around those foods. I checked my freezer to see which of those meats I have on hand (some of them might have to be replenished) and used that as a basis to start.
2. Print out a monthly calendar.
And then start to fill in the days. We eat talapia, salmon, (canned and Pacific), shrimp and scallops. Chicken is either, breasts, thighs, or a whole chicken. And red meats are steaks, roast beef, or pork tenderloin. Also ground beef and ground chicken for tacos, spaghetti, and chili. Homemade pizza can fit in here too. It didn’t take long to fill the 30 days.
You can get fancier and write down which recipe you will use for each but I have most recipes in my head over the years and didn’t have to do that.
3. Do a weekly shopping for the other foods.
Each week I look at the plan for the week and make a grocery list for what goes around my meal plan. I buy the fruits, vegetables and staples that will supplement the meals.
Now when I come home and look at the time, I don’t panic and say, “What’s for dinner?” I look on the fridge and the rest is easy.
Tonight we are having salmon loaf. I know that all ready and I have everything on hand that is needed for dinner tonight. HURRAH.
What do you do to keep yourself sane in meal preparation? Click to Tweet.
I am reading Saving Savvy by Kelly Hancock. Some of the ideas in this post come from her chapter on “Planning Never Tasted so Good”.
Here are her three reasons for making a meal plan.
1. It eliminates overbuying.
When I know exactly what meals are on the plan for the week I take in account what we will eat so I don’t overbuy. That saves MONEY.
2. It eliminates waste.
By buying just what fits into my meal plan for the week I eliminate waste. That way I don’t have “yuck” in the bottom of my fridge from decaying food. That saves MONEY.
3. It eliminates stress.
I hate pressure and thinking under pressure when I am tired is worse. So if I know in the morning what’s on for dinner I can relax during the day and come home knowing what to do. I don’t have to frantically scrounge in the fridge trying to feed a hungry husband. And we don’t have to spend money on a meal out except when it is planned.
Read more money tips by putting money in the search bar on the right.
I found an excellent post called “for the Love of Food” which goes into more detail on meal planning. I found it after I wrote this post. Thank you, Lord.
And here are more Related articles
- How to Plan Meals (And Save Over $5,000 a Year!) (mint.com)
- 12 Secrets To Planning Menus (designmom.com)
- Save Time and Money by Preparing Meals at Home (apartmentguide.com)
Jan, a former school teacher and small business owner, found a new passion in writing in her retirement. She has published two devotionals and a number of articles for magazines and a Bible study. She is owner of Under the Cover of Prayer and moderates the site. Jan has completed a children’s book called Tadeo Turtle. She is the watercolour illustrator. Word Alive has published Tadeo Turtle. See more information at Jan’s Website.