Monday, March 10, 2008

Meal Planning and Me

I must confess, I am horr.i.ble at meal planning. Last night, a friend e-mailed several of us for a peek into our week. It seems she's in a menu rut and needed some fresh ideas. My lack of planning was obvious as I replied that I'll make something from a pork roast that I just purchased on sale ($5.00 for a 6-pound roast -- yippee!), and I have to make frittata because Gracie needs the egg carton for school. I also linked her to the Recipe Swap and Hop at the Proverbs 31 Ministries site, but other than that, I was no help at all.

As I look through many of the sites on my frugal blogroll, I long for the meal planning abilities I see displayed. So many bloggers know what they will have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for weeks at a time. I, on the other hand, find myself standing in the pantry around three o'clock wondering if chicken will work with Kasha.

I've been thinking lately that I really need to apply myself to the art of the plan. Additionally, I've really been wanting to "shop my pantry," using up that which I already have, while continuing to stock during weekly coupon sales. What's most frustrating is the fact that I'm a planner by nature, but I just don't know where to start when it comes to planning a weekly menu. So weird, I know. I'm weird. That's not news.

Following that display of complete meal-planning incompetence, our savvy friend Kim replied with a link to the website she uses to help her plan meals for her family of seven. Because I know there have to be other frugal moms out there who, like me, are banging their heads against a wall when it comes to weekly meal planning, I've swiped her link to share here.

The site is called Meals Matter, and according to Kim, it's FREE, and "allows you to make a meal plan and search the database of recipes according to meal type, cooking method (i.e. crockpot), kid-friendly, etc." I'm looking through the site now, and a couple of features I know I'm going to like are the shopping list and the saved meal plans (you can shuffle from week to week -- looking back to recall a dish you loved or advancing to the next week if you really want to plan ahead). You can select "No Plan" as part of the plan (which is great if you would feel like a failure for "planning" to make Minestone and then not doing it, even if you never meant to make it in the first place but just had to fill in the blank on the menu plan, which is precisely how I would feel).

I think this may be the missing link (snicker!) in my ability to do some serious meal planning. It's really embarrassing just how excited I am, but I am excited, and I need to go. I have some planning to do!

Update: So, I'm finished planning my menu for this week. I didn't plan breakfasts because we have plenty of cereal and some leftover waffles this week. Also, I'm the only lunch eater at home, and I'm fine with a tuna fish sandwich or some leftovers. As for dinners, I only planned through Thursday this week because the kids and I are heading out of town this weekend.

That said, here's my foray into meal planning -- not impressive compared to many others, but really impressive for me:

Monday: Hawaiian Pork Roast (in the Crock Pot now!)
Tuesday: Crispy Potato-Topped Chicken Potpie
Wednesday: Country Brunch Casserole (gotta use up the eggs!)
Thursday: Easy Slow-Cook Lasagna (need something easy because I'm at Bible Study all morning.)

This site is SO EASY to use! Thanks, Kim!


  • Someone Being Me

    I don't plan for specific nights I just pick 5 meals for the week and get what I need from the store for those meals. I usually make at least one newish meal from or a cookbook and then rotate through the tried and true recipes. We eat lots of tacos, spagetti, roast, and stuffed bell peppers. I never know what I want until that night and it never fails that if I do plan for something specific I am not usually in the mood for it when I get home from work. I also make lots of grilled cheese sandwiches.

All content © Mandigirl, 2007-2013.