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Old 01-26-2020, 10:33 PM   #1
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Meal Planning

I see lots of plan ahead advice. Plan your meals use recipes to make grocery lists, etc.

Just wondering how many people do that or how many people get there staples or what they think looks good then get creative afterwards?

I find myself planning meals around my ingredients rather then meals around recipes. Especially when it comes to produce. I go to the store see what looks good or lots of times what’s on sale and get that. Then I worry about what to make

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Old 01-26-2020, 10:52 PM   #2
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I do a little bit of both. I plan for and buy ingredients for a few meals (often new recipes) during the week and fill in the other meals with recipes I have ingredients for. Usually simpler dishes.
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Old 01-26-2020, 11:44 PM   #3
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Following to see the replies. I need to get better at meal planning.
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Old 01-27-2020, 12:31 AM   #4
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I rarely do planning, unless cooking for others. I just make things for myself that I'm having a craving for, or to use up something I have! When shopping, I look for things on sale, that I may have seen an interesting recipe for recently. Basics, that I might run out of soon, I write on a chalkboard in the kitchen, then make a small list when shopping.
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Old 01-27-2020, 05:54 AM   #5
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I usually plan my menu/ shopping list weekly
A lot of it depends on how much time I have to prepare the meal each day.
Some days I dont get home until late, so I need something that is either quick, can be made in advance or something my wife can handle ( not an insult, she is a self admitted poor cook). Obviously, the more time I have to cook, usually the more extensive the meal will be.

I do try to make at least one new thing each week, so I can expand my arsenal of new meals to add to my repertoire.

Another factor will be if the garden is up and running, that kinda dictates what ill be making , to some extent, assuming I cant store the produce and has to be used fresh and in season.

Sometimes the need to empty the fridge or freezer plays a role in what will cook that week. Especially if we are going away, and need to empty the produce drawers to avoid rot.

There are staples that are always in the house as a " Just in case I get home later than expected", or " I just dont feel like going all out".

Always have Pasta on hand, refried beans and tortillas, pierogi, veggie burgers, Trader Joe's Meatballs, Spaghetti squash, Multiple frozen soups ( Homemade ), Stuff for taco's, Potatoes ( for baked potatoes), Felafel and pita .... So, if I just dont feel like cooking, these are things I can whip up quickly or have my wife prepare for when I get home ( so we dont eat at midnight)

The process starts by me writing the days of the week down and asking Now, just my wife what she is in the mood for. It was more complicate when the kids lived at home. Anyway, this usually leads to a fight ( playful fight, not fisticuffs). Everyone always complains the I can make whatever aaa want, then when I make what I want, they complain they are not in the mood for it.. Catch 22.

The list will also include if we are planning to go out for dinner, if we are traveling or eating at a family members house for an occasion. Once the list is complete, I then go through the meals and list below what I need to prepare them. I'll also do a quick look-see through the fridge, freezer, cupboard to make sure we have the basics, and that I dont buy things we may already have. It is at this time that the fridge gets kind of a quick clean ( leftovers, and crap that got pushed to the back gets chucked).

Our shopping is broken up in two ways. I shop primarily for the ingredients needed for dinners, any specialty store stuff ( Indian, Mexican, Vegetarian/ Health, Asian...). partially cause I know what Im looking for, secondly, cause I truly enjoy shopping, so although I do stick to the list, if something catches my eye as new or something I want to try, ill pick it up too. My wife usually buys the essentials: Salt, oils, snacks, th9ngs to drink, cleaning supplies and stuff like that. Sure there is overlap, but its coordinated so we both dont buy the same thing. She'll also do the Whole Foods and trader joes run, occasionally ill go with her.

In the summer/ fall months we'll take trips out east ( where the farms are, only 20 - 30 minutes away) and hit the local farmers markets just to see what they got, and grab some local roasted corn or a baked potato as a snack.

We do have a relatively well stocked kitchen, is in reality, I could probably come up with a solid weeks worth of dinners without even shopping.

Always have garlic, onions, celery, carrots, potatoes, Multiple canned products like beans, tomatoes, corn, creamed corn. Rolls, bread soups, Veg Chopped meat, veggie burgers, some frozen trader joes prepared meals ( pizzas..), a few pizza crusts all in the freezer, an assortment of pasta sizes and shapes and multiple dried grains, beans, mushrooms. And the basic of all basics as the salt, pepper, spices, oils... Probably more crap too.

So, the simple answer is, yes we plan in advance, but have the capability of thinking/ cooking on the fly if we want to or if the situation calls for it.

Final note: because we have chickens and compost, I dont feel terribly bad if we have some leftovers we dont eat, or things that start to go bad, cause the chickens basically eat anything and everything, so just saves me in feed. If I didn't have the chickens I would likely be more frugal and run a tighter ship
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Old 01-27-2020, 05:55 AM   #6
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In addition, ive actually saved my weekly menu's for the past few years, so every now and then I rifle through them to see what ive eaten in the past, and occasionally come across a dish that I forgot that ive made.
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Old 01-27-2020, 07:03 AM   #7
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I'm not a big recipe follower and I rarely decide ahead of time what to eat. I do keep a fairly well-stocked pantry including produce, dairy, and the meat I use most. Looking at new recipes, I'm disinclined to try things with many ingredients I don't already stock, especially perishable produce and expensive herbs and spices.

But that leads to a limited menu. I'm resolved to expand the options this year to include a few more Asian, Middle Eastern, and non-meat protein sources. Especially interested in new dishes that use some of the same ingredients already on hand.

So I'm going to make a serious effort to combine or relate the grocery inventory, shopping lists, recipe box, and some limited advanced menu planning. Will use Google Sheets but try to build some relational database rules into the structure. I know there are apps available that claim to do this job but haven't seen one yet that really satisfies me. None of this is a new idea, rather a long procrastinated intention. But 2020 seems to be a year (decade?) for finally following through on old resolutions.
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Old 01-29-2020, 09:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skilletlicker View Post
I'm not a big recipe follower and I rarely decide ahead of time what to eat. I do keep a fairly well-stocked pantry including produce, dairy, and the meat I use most. Looking at new recipes, I'm disinclined to try things with many ingredients I don't already stock, especially perishable produce and expensive herbs and spices.

But that leads to a limited menu. I'm resolved to expand the options this year to include a few more Asian, Middle Eastern, and non-meat protein sources. Especially interested in new dishes that use some of the same ingredients already on hand.

So I'm going to make a serious effort to combine or relate the grocery inventory, shopping lists, recipe box, and some limited advanced menu planning. Will use Google Sheets but try to build some relational database rules into the structure. I know there are apps available that claim to do this job but haven't seen one yet that really satisfies me. None of this is a new idea, rather a long procrastinated intention. But 2020 seems to be a year (decade?) for finally following through on old resolutions.
Lol it’s 2020 so there’s an app for that
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Old 01-30-2020, 07:57 PM   #9
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If I see a recipe that strikes my fancy, I review the ingredients for anything I may not have. Then I call out "Alexa, put...........on the grocery list. Alexa puts it in the app on my phone, so I always have a list with me when I make a quick stop at the store.

Unfortunately, after buying all of those special ingredients, I often forget what I was going to make! I have LOTS of unopened special ingredients in my cupboards.
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Old 01-30-2020, 09:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silversage View Post
If I see a recipe that strikes my fancy, I review the ingredients for anything I may not have. Then I call out "Alexa, put...........on the grocery list. Alexa puts it in the app on my phone, so I always have a list with me when I make a quick stop at the store.

Unfortunately, after buying all of those special ingredients, I often forget what I was going to make! I have LOTS of unopened special ingredients in my cupboards.
Does your phone app let you add recipes? Mine does. Just a thought.
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Old 01-30-2020, 10:37 PM   #11
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OMG-pick pantry and freezer items. If I had to pick from the pantry,
I would die.
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Old 01-31-2020, 10:09 PM   #12
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Oh man I was kidding but I knew there likely was an app lol. I don’t use and app lists or anything. I have some cooking apps but just to cruise and use as needed
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