meal planning

Life is getting so busy. I work three days a week, and two of those days Miriam goes to a sitter. On those days, I leave work at 5 or 5:30 (depending on if I have a late meeting), drive to the sitter’s, nurse Miriam when I get there, load her in the car, and come home. I walk in the door between 6 and 6:30, and I desperately wish dinner was ready to eat. I want to spend time with Miriam after being away from her all day, but I’m starving, she’s fussy and tired, and I know my husband will be home soon, also starving.

Last week, on one of those nights, I almost bought a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store. But they were all out, so I came home and made black bean quesadillas, which take literally 5 minutes to make (open can of black beans. grate cheese. heat griddle. layer tortilla, cheese, beans, cumin and cayenne and fresh cilantro, if you have it. flip. eat.) They are a nice quick meal, but after eating them once a week or so, they do get old. And they don’t taste like much.

Which brings me to what I want to talk about here…meal planning. On those work nights, it’s too much of a mental exercise to consider the ingredients I have, and the time I’m willing to spend cooking, and pick out a dish. Having dinner in mind already, and all the ingredients I need to make it, simplifies things. Plus I think it would help us stick more closely to a grocery budget, instead of making several little trips to the store during the week to pick up the odd ingredient we’re missing.

How do you all do it? What works for you and your family? Do you eat rotisserie chicken from the grocery store now and then? What are your favorite last-minute meals? Are you able to stick to the menus you plan?

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5 Comments

Filed under food philosophy

5 responses to “meal planning

  1. Karen

    Uh, we don’t really eat together that much. I know it sounds strange, but it’s an improvement on my childhood experience of all of us being dragged into the cold kitchen to eat some roasted animal and talk about our days, when we would have been just as happy with cheese and crackers in front of the stove in the living room.

    Maybe if our schedules match more closely someday.

    Charles’s staples are tofu sandwiches and burritos. I don’t really have staples. I usually try to pick out one recipe before we go shopping and put the ingredients on the list. Then, for the rest of the week, we just eat whatever. Sometimes he’ll make something in the stir fry/fried rice family, which is usually pretty good. The sad thing about living with a boy is that there is no longer any such thing as leftovers, because it all just gets eaten.

    • We don’t eat together much either–Krestia works late and I get hungry! I do like making dinner though so he has something good to eat when he comes home at 8 or 9 pm. Sadly he does not really like leftovers…I would gladly make a big recipe of something and eat it for a few days, but he gets tired of things quickly. Except pizza. He will pretty much always eat pizza.
      And yes, John David, I realize “meal planning” is a foreign concept to you. You do about 10 seconds of meal planning when you think, “which can of soup should I open tonight?” 🙂

      • Karen

        I think I just don’t have any really big recipes. I don’t eat that much, so much as I like to have leftovers, I rarely think to just go ahead and double it. Plus, I’m trying a lot of new ones lately, and you never know if they’ll be good.

  2. janna

    you should talk to taryn about meal planning. she’s the queen of it, from what i’ve heard. like, 6 months in advance…

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