Monday, February 23, 2009

Meal Plans

To simplify meal planning once upon a time, we set up a weekly menu and just did the same thing for meals every week. This definitely saved brain-effort on coming up with dinner ideas. But it burned out a few people on spaghetti, and it got boring doing the same cooking week after week.

Planning out a month's worth of meals at a time (or even a week's) doesn't suit me well because it doesn't take into account days when we're not hungry, or when Gary has dinner at work, or the sale prices at the grocery store, or the leftovers, or the fresh produce available.

For a long time, when I still had my weekly trips to Woodmans, I would buy whatever was cheap, and make notes on my grocery list of what meals the items were going to be turned into. I'd jot those on the refrigerator's memo board, and pick something off the list each day that would fit for that day. That worked the best of all the plans we've tried. But now I don't have weekly trips to Woodmans.

So the new plan is to have ideas written down that incorporate the foods we like, a spread of nutritional variety, with a variety of time requirements for preparation, and a lot of relatively inexpensive foods.

Here's the list I came up with.
Some of it is seasonally restricted.
Don't try to do the math. The "month" amounts to about 50+ days.

Roasted veggies
Frozen veggies x3
Lettuce salad x2
Carrots or squash

Tuna salad
Fried eggs
PBJs x 2
Smoothies x2

Creamed spinach
Pumpkin pie
Apple Betty
Salsa & chips

Pot roast
Pizza lentils
Teriyaki hicken & rice
Chicken soup

Baked beans
Lentil soup
Red beans & rice
Split pea soup
Ham & beans
Black-eyed peas & bacon
Bk bean & corn patties
Potato bar

Clam chowder
Tomato soup & grilled cheese
Cowboy soup
Mexican corn chowder
French onion soup


Salmon patties
Tuna casserole
Clams on spaghetti
Crab & screw noodles
Stir fry
Beef & noodles
Chicken, bk bean, corn, rice

Penna rosa
Salmon fillets
Barbecue pork
Sub sandwiches
Stuffed peppers
Tamale pie
Taco salad

Creamed corn


  1. Thanks for all the ideas. I struggle with coming up with new meal ideas that are relatively healthy and inexpensive. I suppose when you've had a family of EIGHT to feed, you get good at it! I'm not quite there yet. By the way, I tried the pizza lentils and LOVED them! They reheat well too, so that's a big plus.

  2. Yup, Meghan, I too am tired of coming up with ideas. So I figured I'd just haul something off a list each day, and then I don't have to think. The plan today was supposed to be beef-n-noodles because I knew I'd have time for it. But then I found out Gary wasn't coming home tonight, so we quickly changed to one of the items he's not too fond of.

    I'm glad you liked the pizza lentils. And they do reheat nicely, which makes it handy for planned leftovers!

    I've been enjoying reading your food/meal posts too. I thought the smoothies made with spinach and greens sounded great! Later that day I was at the Pig, and found some spring greens on sale AND fresh strawberries for a great price. So lunch the next day was one of your smoothies. I thought it was good, but certain teenagers around here suggested that they would much prefer to eat the greens on a plate separate from the berries. Ohhhhhhh well.