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Old 04-14-2011, 03:14 PM   #1
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Meal Planning and Shopping Lists

I cant seam to figure out this schedueling meals thing. Can anyone give me an example of a week of meals they have planned? And what keeps you on track when you go shopping, to keep you out of the cookie area?

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Old 04-14-2011, 03:31 PM   #2
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For examples of what we eat during a week, check out the daily "What's for Dinner" threads.

I plan the week on Saturday morning. I look for sale items and decide what's going to be dinner for the coming week and list the ingredients I need to make those dishes. I add the items we have listed during the week and weekly staples.

Then I roll up and down all the aisles in case I've forgotten something.
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Old 04-14-2011, 03:33 PM   #3
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I don't usually "plan" meals, but try to keep some of everything on hand. I usually have beef, pork and chicken, and my staples go on the list as I get low or run out.

If I have a recipe I want to try, then the items I don't have go on the list.

It's after I go shopping that I do some planning, I review what I now have on hand and go through my TNT recipes, and ones I want to try (I have a whole notebook of DC recipes) and make a list of the meals I want to make.

I don't necessarily decide to have a dish on a particular day, but do tend to rotate meats for variety.

What makes this easy is having a wide range of staples on hand and maintaining them. Pastas, rice and noodles; tomatoes, stewed and sauce, spices.

I'll be interested to see how others do it.
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Old 04-14-2011, 03:39 PM   #4
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Well I have crushed tomatoes, green beans, and green chillis on stock right now but nothing to do with them. I am trying to have a certain part of my pantry full of those canned things you shoudl always have on hand, but at the end of the day after work I am always wondering whats for dinner. I like to cook but Im not very organized, and it doesnt help that my husband has almost no taste buds and my son's not old enough for table food. I have very few recipies that arnt the normal hamburger stroganoff, or grilled chicken with green beans. Not sure how to change things up and keep up with it.
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Old 04-14-2011, 04:42 PM   #5
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With the tomatoes and green chilies you have on hand along with some rice, chicken broth and spices you could make Spanish rice.

You could cut up the chicken breasts and cook them with a packet of fajita seasonings, onion and pepper for a nice easy change. The Spanish rice would go well with it.
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Old 04-14-2011, 04:54 PM   #6
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Welcome to DC, Montee.

Andy is right about checking out the daily posts here...Today's Menu & Food Talk - Discuss Cooking - Cooking Forums

You will see useful patterns for many of the daily cooks, who often whip up great meals from a well stocked kitchen.
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Old 04-14-2011, 04:57 PM   #7
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Yeah Im thinking the stocked kitchen is what Im missing, Its kinda small, and not very easy to organize. No room for an extra cabinet or shelf either
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Old 04-14-2011, 05:07 PM   #8
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I live in a condo with a small kitchen. I have food stored in some of the kitchen cabinets and on shelves in the basement. It's good exercise to run up and down.

If you don't have a lot of storage, you just have to plan differently. Buy smaller quantities more often so you won't have a storage problem. You can't stock up on sale items as easily but that's not the end of the world.

Do you have a closet near the kitchen where you can make a pantry? It doesn't have to be in the kitchen.
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Old 04-14-2011, 05:44 PM   #9
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I usually go shopping on Thursday because our weekend here is Thursday and Friday. I go on buying extra canned and frozen stuff that are on sale. I don't have too much space in my kitchen and my freezer is not too big, but I try to arrange the stuff to take the least space as much as possible.
I always have a sticky note on the fridge where I write down , allover the week anything that I need from the grocery store. I plan the dinner for everyday in the next week depending on what my family prefers or on what meal didn't I do for a long time. I write down the missing ingredients in my note. I usually plan the dinner that takes a long time in the kitchen during the days where I have few things to do. Sometimes my plan gets mixed up if I find fresh vegetables in the market that needs to be cooked during the same day or I find chicken or meat that are on sale, and I have to cook them during the same day because I don't have extra space in the freezer. So failure in my plan is always a possibility but the failure is less if you write down what you need before going to the store. I have been using this sticky note for 10 years now and it made me never forget any item.
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Old 04-14-2011, 05:55 PM   #10
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Hi Montee, welcome to DC :)

A week of meals for me depends on what is on sale. Just like Andy, on Saturdays I typically have the following week planned out. I usually have two or three cheaper nights with some nicer meals planned in between to keep the budget in line. For example...

Monday - Spaghetti with meat sauce (maybe ground turkey, or whatever is cheapest at the store that week) and a slice of garlic toast
Tuesday - chicken ceasar salad
Wednesday - slow cooked stew (budgeting, I would make it a stew with root veggies and beans for protein instead of meat)
Thursday - If there is no slow cooked stew left (there usually is), maybe a shrimp risotto (one pot meal - with cheap, healthy brown rice)
Friday - Slow cooked pulled pork and beans - this ends up being chili consistancy but sweeter, or however you make it
Saturday - leftovers and shopping, or takeout

So.. grocery list would be pretty simple with these meals. Good stuff to have on hand if you make any of these regularly...

-Spaghetti
-Homemade meat sauce, in packages made for one meal
-Frozen chicken breast, either cooked and diced already or raw (I prefer cooked - easier - and do it yourself!)
-Brown Rice
-Frozen vegetables for stew - In my freezer I have prepped chopped
carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, herbs, etc). If you like to make stews
from stuff you have in the freezer, I would recommend getting a food
processor that will slice everything for you, for those times you stock up
again.
-Frozen Shrimp - got on sale - best is shelled tiger shrimp, uncooked.
Pre-cooked tend to get tiny and aren't near as tasty.
-Pork tenderloin (we can get a couple of them for about $5 when they are on sale) or other cuts of pork
- Dried Beans - for slow cooked meals, go more for kidney sized beans,
otherwise if you go with Lentils you will never see them again - they will
boil down to nothing lol

I hope this helps a little bit - It would be tedious to write absolutely everything! I hope you are able to figure out what works for you and your family. My last tip - research recipes! My favorite website is allrecipes.com because they are all rated and easy to search.

PS. ANother tip - always use a list at the store - otherwise you'll forget, and also you'll grab needless items!
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