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What this isn’t how everyone spends their Friday nights?

March 3, 2011

I’ve got another post up at Losing It In Ottawa today, feel free to stop on by. One of the things I discuss over there is meal planning. Not only has it helped me keep on track, but it’s shaken up my menu and it’s cheap!

Way back in the spring of last year hubby was working evenings (3:30 to midnight) so V and I were on our own. And while it was amusing to watch her scavenge for food, once she started heading to the dog dishes I realized I’d better get to cookin’. I made it a habit to sift through recipes on Friday and shop for the week on Sunday. I’m telling ya, the party never stopped. Then the summer rolled around and hubby started back on days I stopped doing this. Not so bad in the summer, with your meal a quick grill away. I mean really, there are very few things that don’t taste great straight off the bar-b-q and it’s my primary summer cooking method. Come fall though, we didn’t pick the meal planning habit back up, so we found ourselves eating out more often, or eating the same 4 tried and true dishes over and over. And sheer boredom with those dishes drove us to eat out more…talk about a downward spiral.

Anyways, with me publicly chronicling my attempt to lose weight, I figured I should actually, yanno, do something about the weight. Given that my options were to either exercise more or eat better, and since I already had to eat, I decided ‘why add something new?’ I dusted off my trusty cook books (especially the ones that promised 30 minute or one dish meals) and started planning.

My first week was the week of chicken – 4 of the recipes were for chicken dishes. It turns out that many of the lower calorie dishes don’t have cream sauce or meatballs. Or bacon. Who knew? Hopefully I’ll strike a fish/chicken/pork balance with a day or two of cow thrown in. But this touches on my second criteria for recipes, they need to have the nutrition info available. Key to my tracking over at MyFitnessPal (but don’t check me out today, I’ve lapsed a bit! eep!)

We have a few restrictions in place as *some* family members aren’t fans of egg noodles, rice noodles or quinoa. So rather than sticking to boring ol’rice and potatoes every night, we’re ending up with spaghetti squash (mmm with tomatoes and smoked gouda, *drool*) or zucchini and carrot ribbons as the side or bed for our dishes. I’m still slightly bitter about the lack or egg noodles, but I guess I’ll live.

Since I am the epitome of laziness, simple is always better with me, so my menu planning consists of listing the days of the week on a piece of paper (I suppose if I was *truly* lazy I’d get a form together and print this off). Beside each day I add the page number for the recipe, then I list the ingredients I don’t have on hand. This becomes my shopping list. Can you say cheap? The first week I did this, I only had to worry about things like veggies, and other items you generally won’t find in my fridge. Grocery bill for dinners and left over lunches for the week, for a family of 3? $32 and that’s with 4L of organic milk!

But best of all, it’s reduced my stress. Yes, making home cooked meals every night makes my arrival home easier. We have a plan, so there’s no panicked digging through the freezer and wondering what I can do with that last freezerburned porkchop. Well, I think it’s a porkchop. Did I mention we were following preand *instructions*. Instructions mean meals can be started before I get home and everyone is on the same page for what needs to be used in the fridge and what’s going to end up on the plate.

So yes, for the foreseeable future I’ll be rocking those Friday nights with my cookbooks. Woo.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 3, 2011 4:08 pm

    $32?! what how!!

    • neeroc permalink*
      March 5, 2011 9:40 pm

      I was pretty happy about that and it doesn’t happen often. I had the chicken in the freezer, and stuck to the perimeter of the store – I only veggies and a bit of cheese.

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