ICYMI: I’ve started a brand new meal planning newsletter! Below is the text of the first newsletter to give you a taste (pun intended) of what’s to come.
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Why a meal planning newsletter?
I’m really excited about this. I think I can safely say that we all *want* to cook dinner more frequently. Reasons include:
- Saving money
- Cooking at home = better for you meals
- Environmental reasons like less food waste
- Becoming a more practiced cook
- … I could go on
But it’s hard to actually do it. Whether it’s because you have a family that keeps you busy, it’s difficult to scale recipes when there are only one or two of you, or you work a lot of hours, cooking regularly is a lot harder than it sounds.
So, let’s talk about it. Let’s do this together. I’ll be super honest (I’m thinking of even including a recap of what we actually cooked/ate the previous week?).
I’m also considering starting a Facebook group around this topic, but not quite sure yet. If I do, it’ll be a new year thing.
My Meal Planning Process
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OKAY. Week 1. I’ll be structuring these emails around my meal planning process. Today’s will be more detailed than future editions as I introduce you to my
A quick thing about my meal planning philosophy: I don’t prep. Okay, that’s not entirely true. If I have weeks I know will be bonkers, I will do a week from Cook Once, Eat All Week. And if I have extra time, I may cube chicken breasts or pre-chop some veggies. But outside of that, very little “prep” is done. I simply plan easy to prepare meals instead.
- Review my calendar for the week. I use Google calendar for my life. I just got home from the beach with Husband and friends for the weekend so there will be zero prep happening today. Knowing me, the weekend away will have me feeling a little scattered throughout this week, so especially easy meals will be planned. Outside of that, I have a “normal” work week Monday – Thursday but will be getting myself to and from/be in Seattle from 7:30am to 10pm on Friday for a client meeting. The Oregon vs. Arizona State game is Saturday at 4:30pm and I’m going to be working with my mom all day Sunday, so thinking ahead to that, too.
- What perishables (veggies, dairy, defrosted meat, etc.) do I need to use? I have some shaved brussels sprouts from Trader Joe’s and a ton of leftover shredded BBQ chicken from the weekend. Outside of that, the perishable department is pretty empty.
- Plan! This week I’m using a bunch of recipes from one of my favorite food blogger’s new cookbook: Dude Diet Dinnertime by Serena Wolf. I just got it last week and bookmarked nearly every recipe in it. Her style is delicious but healthy (think buffalo chicken taquitos). I’m trying to make a point of really cooking through new cookbooks I get!
- Sunday: Rummage
- We just got home from a weekend at the beach – we overindulged and I don’t feel like cooking. So, grazing it is!
- Monday: BBQ Chicken Tacos
- We did BBQ chicken sliders at the beach and have tons of leftover meat – time to use it! Doing this with a ranch slaw and pickled red onions.
- Tuesday: Steak and Asparagus with Goat Cheese Pistou
- This is a riff on a recipe from Dude Diet Dinnertime. I’ll marinade + sous vide the steak in advance (probably during my AM workout), then sear it to serve come dinnertime.
- Wednesday: Chicken Teriyaki Noodles with Brussels Sprouts and Bok Choy
- Thursday: Stuffed Poblano Bowls
- You guessed it, another recipe from Dude Diet Dinnertime.
- Friday: Leftovers
- Seattle day! I won’t be home until 10pm, so Husband will have to fend for himself. We pretty much always have leftovers readily available for grab and go meals.
- Saturday: Takeout!
- The duck game is at 4:30pm and I know I’ll be exhausted, so we’ll order in.
- Sunday: Rummage
- Make the grocery list. I usually make my list as I plan each night’s meal since that’s when I have the recipe out in front of me. I keep my freezer pretty well stocked with meat, mostly from Porter Road, Costco, and my hunter dad, so usually it’s not a grocery item. I use an app called Wunderlist for my grocery lists. I add to it throughout the week as I notice I get low on staples (toothpaste, bleach, ibuprofen were miscellaneous items on my list this week) and then add any necessary groceries come meal planning time, which makes things easy for me. I can also share it with Husband and he can add to it, too.
- Order groceries. I HATE grocery shopping. Hate. It. My local grocery store is a Fred Meyer (Kroger). The parking lot is usually crazy and the check out lines take upwards of 20 minutes to get through. It makes me lose my mind. So, I’ve stopped doing it. All of my groceries come from a combination of Porter Road (as mentioned), Thrive Market, and Instacart. I pay annual membership fees for the latter two and for me, it is SO WORTH IT. Delivery is the best part of living in 2019, IMO. You might like grocery shopping, though. That is your prerogative. We are different humans.
- Pull meat to defrost. I usually only do this for the first couple of meals for the week. If our plans change, I don’t want to inadvertently waste really good meat. Today, I’ll be pulling out steak and that’s probably it.
- Kick my feet up. I’ll unload the groceries when they arrive (SERIOUSLY THOUGH HOW GREAT IS IT THAT I DON’T HAVE TO SPEND 2 HOURS GROCERY SHOPPING) and that’s it. If I do find myself with a little energy, I’ll cut all the veggies and get the onions for tomorrow in pickling liquid.
What about breakfast and lunch?
You may have noticed I didn’t talk about breakfast or lunch. For breakfasts, sometimes I’ll make egg bites (recipe in my cookbook, Everyday Sous Vide) or hard boil eggs, or I rely on protein oatmeal. For lunches, I usually just eat leftovers or leftover makeovers. I rarely, rarely buy a lunch (talking once a month max).
One of the most important things to making brown-bagging it successful? Packing a lunch I actually want to eat. Sarah of Yes and Yes wrote a great blog post this week about the trap of the overly virtuous lunch. If you struggle with bringing your own lunch to works, I highly recommend giving this a read!
Okay, inaugural meal planning fam’. How was this for you?
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