Thursday, May 4, 2017

Meal Planning!

I figured since I blogged about monthly shopping last month that this month I would blog about the prep before that monthly shopping takes place. The first thing I have to do before going shopping is meal plan! It usually takes me anywhere from 1-3 days to meal plan. It just depends on how many times I get interrupted. For the month of May I actually had a huge chuck of time to devote to it on Monday April 24th so I was able to get it all done in that one day. 

The first thing I do is take out my dinner book. It's just a book that I write down dinners in every month. It's nice to look back....mine goes back to 2014...and see what we've been eating. It's good for getting ideas if you are stuck. I try to write in at least 18 dinners. Once I have the dinner written in that's when I go and check the freezers and the pantry to see what I need to purchase in order to make those meals happen. That's usually when I noticed that we have something that I didn't know we did and I can add a few more dinners to the list. 

Image result for out of milk

Once I know the different ingredients that I need to in order to make the dinners I plug those into my amazing to me app....Out of Milk. I love it...I can have as many lists as I want and let me tell you I do! Costco, Winco, Sam's Club, Wal-Mart, Lowe's, Target, Ulta, Fred Meyer's and so on. I also use this thing to keep track of what I'd like to look for when I go to Value Village or garage saling. It can also be a lifesaver when I'm out Christmas shopping and I can't remember what I've already bought a particular child....I have a list titled Christmas List and I plug in everything I've already bought so no guessing while I'm standing in the middle of the mall! My favorite thing is when you're at the store and you find that item you can input the price that it costs and the app will save that price. Yes the first time you use it it will take you longer!!! The next time you go to plan it will be saved and you'll know how much you are planning to spend. I also love seeing when the price for something has gone down. One month I bought a ham at Costco and the price for the last one I bought was $21, but the current price was just over $14!!! Love that! 

This used to be where I stopped with meal planning. I'd have the dinners listed and then just work off that list in no particular order. The only thing was I'd inevitably pick the easiest dinners first and then we'd be stuck with more time consuming ones. It really is way better for me to plan it out and know exactly what I'm making every night. I think it just gets me mentally ready to make whatever is on the then I don't forget to take something out of the freezer. 

Once I have all the dinners listed that's when I make up my weekly dinner sheet and cross check with the calendar. For this month I know I don't need to make dinner on May 6th because we are going to be at the Rainier Game so we'll eat there. May 8th is our 18th Wedding Anniversary so I want to make something nice on that night. There are days that I know I'm going to be tired because of the activities of that day so I'll try to plan a simpler meal. On the other hand when I know that I'll have a stay at home day I'll plan to make something more time consuming. 

As I'm filling in dinners on the weekly sheet I make sure I cross off that dinner from the meal list. This month we didn't have as many dinners out so I ended up needing to come up with 3 more meals than I already had. 

Once the weekly meal plan is finished it gets posted on the frig. Sometimes I'll add notes for myself for that particular week to remind myself to do things...such as....thaw out chicken, buy lettuce or make homemade bread dough. For the most part I stick to the menu for the month. Of course things come up and things change, but the nice thing is it's all planned out so changing things around isn't really that difficult!