Monday is my usual planning day. I am habitually an early riser, up and drinking coffee several hours before my husband is ready to, or forced to, face the day. I’d much rather plan on the weekend, actually, but on Mondays, the local grocery store websites have their weekly ads available and Daisy Mae’s Market, where I order fresh produce for delivery, sends me their weekly price list. Sometimes I plan several weeks in advance if life is going to be hectic and sometimes I plan week to week. Here you can see a picture of my ‘planning center’ with the monthly activity calendar on top, the meal plan in the middle and the grocery shopping list at the bottom. I found the pink magnetic pencil cup in the locker supplies section of the office supply store at back to school time. I also use it to store any tickets for concerts or other activities coming up this week.
Here’s how I put my plan together:
- Review the contents of the refrigerator. Is there anything that needs to be used up? This week, for example, I have an abundance of roasted beets because I over-ordered from Daisy Mae’s last week. I also have some cilantro that I need to use up. If I don’t end up making a cilantro-based recipe, I can at least make up some cilantro pesto and freeze it for later. I also check my fresh green vegetables and finally take stock of the things that are refrigerator staples for me, such as capers, olives, butter, and eggs. Make a mental note to tell my husband if there is anything in particular I want him to eat for lunches this week.
- Start to rough-in my meal plan. This is where I review my weekly life calendar and figure out if there are any nights when we have social or work commitments that would make meal preparation more difficult. I transfer notes on the complex dates to my weekly meal plan (Concert at 7, Work Dinner at 6), etc.
- Take a critical look at the meal plan from a calendar view. Any days I am planning to work from home? Any time where I might like to do some advance cooking and make a few Frozen Over meals for another time?
- Review what’s on sale at the grocery and the produce market. In addition to what sounds tempting to eat this week, I’m also looking for what items are at a good price to buy and freeze and whether there are pantry items that are price-worthy to stock up on.
- Finish out my grocery list and my meal plan for the week at the same time, including purchase of items for any advance cooking I’m going to do this week.
- Post my plan and email Daisy Mae’s with my produce order.
This process has become fairly intuitive to me over time and it doesn’t take very long now at all.
This week at the grocery:
- Tyson boneless, skinless chicken breast for $1.99 a pound. I could cook some, pack and freeze them, or do some Frozen Overs.
- Swai fillets, $2.99 a pound, might buy some to try out a recipe I found on another blog.
- Frozen vegetables 10/$10. I need to check my stock in the basement freezer. I typically keep corn, peas, greens, and spinach on hand. In particular, I have several Frozen Over recipes that use spinach.
- Shredded cheese $1.88 / 8 oz. If I have time to make Frozen Overs this week, that could be good. Also could just pop the bags in the freezer for another time.
This week’s produce delivery from Daisy Mae’s:
- Eggplant $1.25 each. I’ll buy a bunch, maybe even a case, for delivery on Thursday and have the husband help me prep some of his favorite Frozen Overs.
- Tomatoes. My husband loves good fresh tomatoes and Daisy Mae has GREAT tomatoes.
- Regular fruit/vegetable order.