Hi friends! I felt a little worried to write a post on something I too am just learning, but after much debate, I am finally ready to talk.
I’ve spent too many years buying food that sounded good that day without much thought for the next. I’ve further wasted too much food, time, and money with careless and haste decisions. I know meal planning can feel a bit daunting, but I can not begin to tell you how meal planning saves time, money, and energy.
So where in the world do you begin? Well, I started by finding recipes I knew we all love. These came from my Grandma, cook books, patients at work etc. etc. We all love a good recipe am I right? Instead of dreaming about those recipes you will soon forget, do something about it. Get a recipe book or container, write them down, and keep them handy.
If you’re tech savvy and love digital everything as well. I recommend starting a Pinterest board called dinner ideas, meal planner, whatevverrrr. Pinterest is fantastic for finding dinners that soot your family and you :).
Lastly, I take these recipes and group like meals together. Lets say one night you are having Mexican for dinner, use a similar but different recipe for the next night! That way you aren’t dreading left overs, but you can take that seasoned chicken and put half ready to rock for the next night in the fridge! Oh, and that sour cream, salsa, guacamole can be used right on up too! Less waste, less time, and stretching your money further. Who doesn’t love that?!
Next, here comes the timely part. Making a list. Ughhhh. Daunting. But this will make that dreaded grocery trip shorter. Decreases frustrations. And the only way to make this meal planning work.
I thought I would try to add a few go to dinners on here to get your wheels turning, so here I go:
A goal for me for 2019 was to eat more veggies. Yup. Big goal here for a family who loves their meat and potatoes am I right? So yesterday after breakfast I whipped out our crockpot and began.
I sautéed chicken breasts on a cast iron skillet (cast iron is my favorite for so) with a tad of olive oil, garlic, celery, onion, mushroom.
Next I grabbed all the veggies we had (which a lot now that I am meal planning!) You can adjust this list however you and your family like, but I started with corn on the cob. Drizzle oil over the ears and rub it around all sides with your hand to just barely coat the cob. Place in bottom on crock pot. Next I added carrots, sweet potatoes cubed, broccoli, cauliflower, and a cup of barley for a grain. Add the chicken and everything in the pan you sautéed. Cover with chicken broth. I used 32 oz chicken broth and added a tad left over beef broth I had in the fridge. This will vary greatly depending on how much you are making, but I filled our crockpot knowing I would be using every last drop in tomorrows meal 🙂
Cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for four for veggies to be tender. If the carrots are still hard make sure they are emerged in broth and keep cooking. No one likes crunchy carrots, believe me, they won’t ever want to eat them again.
BOOM! Dinner is complete!
Now, the next days dish might be my favorite of the two. The next day I cut the left over veggies in tiny pieces and threw them back in the pan with the left over broth and chicken. Re-heat everything in a sauce pan. Then all I did was add cheese! I used about a quarter block of cheddar and a specialty cheese from trader joes that is a mix of parmesan and aged cheddar. YUM! Now the key is to get last nights dinner to a boil and then put on simmer mixing the cheese in. If you scorch the cheese it will clump up and bubble. Trust me, I learned the hard way..
(Now, don’t you dare add pre shredded cheese. You’ll kill it. Did you know pre-packaged shredded cheese is covered with wood pulp also known as cellulose?! Yuck. No thank you. Thats another topic for another day. And just one more way to eat healthier and save money buying real blocks of cheese you just shred yourself :))
I hope these tips help some of you! I’ve been wanting to work on this for some time, and am so happy to finally get my thoughts out, but first I had to make these changes for us 🙂
4 thoughts on “Meal Planning. Saving time, money, and energy”
hi! ya know you could roast in 15-20 minutes, also cubing chicken on a tray with the veggies and have a meal in a short amount of time? one can cook a grain or two ahead or toss with pasta too, cooking veggies like that in a crock pot makes them nasty and takes ALL the nutrients out of them, ew, even if making for soup one can saute them all together in a pan in also less than 15 minutes, even the sweet potatoes 🙂 tip sautee cubed chicken or do the fast shredded chicken put meat on plate, swirl some olive oil add veggies saute toss 1/4 water or maybe a 1/2 put lid on pan, addin stock and chicken et voila! one pan 15-20 minutes
This is random but what color are your walls?
I found that also to be true that meal planning saves time & money. In fact I have gotten so used to doing it that I would be nervous to attempt the grocery store without planning first. I find that some weeks I can’t hardly come up with two meals let alone six or seven and so when I’m in a rut I will find 5-10 people in my contacts and send a text asking them about five meals that they made recently. It gives me a lot of good idea and is a great way to take a break from Pinterest.
I also LOVE your idea for leftovers as there is nothing worse than throwing food away. Happy planning!