meal planning in Jan 2010

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My dear friend Rina asked on Twitter on how I plan my meals.  I've been using a pretty consistent method for the last year and a half or so, and it's been working well.

I start with the grocery ads.  Safeway sends them in the paper weekly, and I set it and the Sunday coupons aside to review on Mondays when I plan my menu.  A lot of times, just looking at what produce or item is on sale spurs on a menu for me.  For example, eggs were on sale this week, along with green onions and red peppers, so omelets was an easy pick.  I added some vegetarian breakfast links and frozen potatoes is a complete meal.  Basing meals on produce is healthier too.

Generally, we go out on Monday night for dinner and grocery shopping.  I plan an easy meal for Wednesday nights because we have a quick dinner before knitting at 6.  And I don't always know what weekends will bring, so I try planning one meal and then the other day, we'll go out and get some exercise and go out to eat.

My week (Jan 5, 2010) is off by a day because of traveling.  It currently looks like this:
  • Tuesday: Out, grocery shopping
  • Wednesday: (knit night) Baked Potatoes with cottage cheese and sharp cheddar, frozen california vegetables.
  • Thursday: homemade pizza - trying out a thinner crust version - with peppers, pineapple, turkey pepperoni, and 2% mozzarella shredded cheese.  Side salad, and save some pizza for the next days lunch.
  • Friday: breakfast for dinner: omelets with green onions/peppers, frozen potato (southern style) lightly fried with olive oil, breakfast vegelinks
  • Saturday: out?  Eric: egg salad
  • Sunday: frozen vegetarian meatballs, homemade barbecue sauce, frozen green beans and rice.
I write this out on a piece of paper folded in half, and then make the grocery list on the other side.  Coupons go inside.  And then I keep each of these papers to give me ideas of what I put together in the future. 

Another way I get meal ideas is looking in my fridge for any veges or fruits leftover from the previous week.  This week, there was NOTHING left because we were gone for 11 days to CA for the holidays.  But there were things that were in the freezer, so we are having more things based on frozen products this week.

If something is on sale but I'm not sure what I want to do with it, like cottage cheese, I search the internet (google) using "cottage cheese" and/or any other ingredients or the word "lowfat" and/or "recipes".  The place I have the most success is actually All Recipes's Ingredient Search.  (my profile is here)  Once you find a recipe, you can browse comments and make adjustments from other people's good ideas!

Several of my magazines are all food ideas: Simple & Delicious and Healthy Cooking (both Reiman magazines).  And Real Simple also has a whole section devoted to food. I have a folder in my emails called "recipes" and get a lot of helpful suggestions here.
  • Hungry Girl - 5 days a week, they send out helpful stuff.  I tend to read a weeks worth at once and gather some ideas.
  • Kraft foods - even though they are striving to sell their products, they carry such a wide variety and give great ideas.  Sometimes coupons are in the emails too.
  • Cooking Light - they have a variety of emails, I get the main free newsletter but not the magazine.
A lot of the things I look for these days are the healthier options, so the info on Weight Watchers site is helpful to me as a current subscriber.  I think most of their food & recipe info is subscriber only though. 

I have a few foodie blogs in my feedreader.  One of my favorites is Dara, who is a blogging friend from way back, with Chick in the Kitchen.  The food blog I posted to in the past is the group blog The Red Kitchen, which still has family favorites so it's a good reference.

I hope to blog more about this in the future, so feel free to comment with questions or ideas!

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kristine a glance

kristine is a giggly geeky crafty girl, growing in faith and hope.