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Old 03-28-2009, 12:29 AM   #61
jenny_islander
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Default Re: Can someone teach me how to meal plan?

Sounds like you could use a set of smaller casseroles and pans and a list of what I call and-ham dishes. You can make these recipes in the family amount, then cook them in two portions, one of which has ham added:

GF mac 'n' cheese--stovetop or baked.
Stuffed eggs covered with bechamel sauce.
Scalloped potatoes.
Beans and cornbread. (The beans are vegetarian. You bake the cornbread as muffins. First ladle the veggie half of the batter into six muffin cups. Then stir ham into the rest of the batter and ladle it out. You could do the same thing with spoonbread.)
Black-Eyed Peas Delicious, which is somewhere in this forum. Simmer a ham hock separately and stir the chopped meat into half of the recipe.
Omelets, frittatas, scrambled eggs ("diced ham 'n' scram").

For chicken:

Make baked brown rice with mushrooms in two pans; lay chicken pieces in one of them and add extra mushrooms to the other.
Make a big veggie stir-fry in two pans, tofu or mushrooms in one batch, chicken in the other. The next day, make two batches of fried rice.
Vegetable egg foo young for you, chicken egg foo young for them.

For beef:

GF alphabet soup, beans in one pot, ground beef in the other.
Two batches of pasta sauce, one with cubed eggplant or canned chickpeas, one with ground beef, over GF spaghetti.
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Old 03-30-2009, 07:18 AM   #62
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Default Re: Can someone teach me how to meal plan?

Allison-

Do you think you could post the steps to good meal planning all in one post?


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Old 04-02-2009, 05:11 AM   #63
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Default Re: Can someone teach me how to meal plan?

Quote:
Originally Posted by milkmommy
I'm going to having a new challange. DH schedule this semester will make dinners a challange Mondays - Wednesdays he will not be home for dinner till late Mondays espically he will have to bring or buy (or maybe its Tuesdays?? I'm still learning it . DD needs to eat around 5pm and honestly because of my meds schedule so do I so I can't wait for him. I'm going to need meals that are low carb for my needs yet child friendly enough (but nutrutional enough) for DD as I refuse to feed her MAC n Cheese for 3 days straight each week. and that will work as decent left overs so DH can use then the following day for his lunch or dinner or will keep long enough so he can have it latter. I'm trying to avoid having to cook 3 meals.

Deanna
Okay, pasta isn't exactly low carb, but here is an idea I use (DH gets home after 8pm Wednesdays):

Ingredients:
totellini
frozen chopped spinach (thawed)
sliced up mushrooms (~500g? I never know. I love mushies and DS1 tends to eat lots of them while they are being washed...)
chicken stock (about 2L)

Slice your mushies and fry in a little butter or oil. Keep them aside.
When you are ready to eat, heat up your chicken stock.
Cook enough tortellini for however many people you are feeding at that time according the instructions on the packet.
Just before it is done, toss in enough spinach and mushrooms for that number of people.
Sccop out all the tortellini, mushrooms and spinach into bowls. Add as much of the stock as you want to make it soupy (or not, for my little kids).

When the later eaters come in, just repeat it with the food that is left in the leftover stock.

It is really quick to cook, so you don't feel like you are cooking heaps of meals, but it is also served "fresh".



I am always looking for ideas for this as well (and for lunch ideas - not for leftovers/hot meals and not for sandwich style meals...)

Nat
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Old 04-02-2009, 05:21 AM   #64
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Default Re: Can someone teach me how to meal plan?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heather R
Have you guys heard of "The Big Cook" (www.thebigcook.com)? .... I'm going to be doing it for the first time on Feb 7 with my mom and mother in law. I'll report back how it goes...
Hi Heather,

How did this go? I was looking at their website - I like the way things seem to be prepared, but not yet cooked. What did you make? Was it yummy?

Natalie
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Old 04-02-2009, 04:49 PM   #65
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Default Re: Can someone teach me how to meal plan?

click on my website icon over there under my picture. It's to my blog, and there's a post there about meal planning.
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Old 04-02-2009, 05:46 PM   #66
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Default Re: Can someone teach me how to meal plan?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Naxi
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heather R
Have you guys heard of "The Big Cook" (www.thebigcook.com)? .... I'm going to be doing it for the first time on Feb 7 with my mom and mother in law. I'll report back how it goes...
Hi Heather,

How did this go? I was looking at their website - I like the way things seem to be prepared, but not yet cooked. What did you make? Was it yummy?

Natalie
The prep day went great! We had lots of fun, and it wasn't too much work. I really love the concept. We made (with my ratings in brackets):
Beef Hash Casserole (2.5/5)
Curried Beef (5/5)
Mexican Casserole (3/5)
Mighty Meatballs (5/5 - These are SO awesome. Seriously, the whole cook was worth it just to get this meatball recipe...)
Amazing Chicken (4/5)
Baked Chicken Breasts (3/5)
Bombay Chicken (4/5)
Exuberant Chicken (5/5)
Quebecois Chicken (4/5)
BBQ Pork Strips (3/5)
Marinated Pork Chops (3/5)
Cantonese Sweet & Sour Pork (2.5/5)
Pizza Casserole (3/5)

None of it was awful but I'd only make the 4's and 5's again... There are lots of other recipes to try, plus I'd like to try some of our own favorites with this method.

I was the "organizer" and it was a bit of work making the shopping list, and freezer bag labels. But I saved it all, so hopefully the next time it will be easier...

If you have any specific questions, let me know!
Heather
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Old 11-29-2009, 05:19 AM   #67
Naxi
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Default Re: Can someone teach me how to meal plan?

Hi Ladies,

My internet connection is mucking up, so I haven't read all the posts today. Apologies if someone has already suggested this:

I am in the early stages of meal planning. I find lunches and snacks especially difficult. This is something that I have found really helps me.

As well as having my plan there, I have a blank one and I write in what we actually eat. That way I can discover things like, on Monday nights I am always too tired to cook a meal, so it will probably turn into pasta night and I can plan around that. I can also work out what works for snacks and what doesn't.

It is really helping!
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Old 04-30-2010, 03:02 AM   #68
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Old 05-09-2013, 03:22 PM   #69
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Default Re: Can someone teach me how to meal plan?

I only meal plan for dinners right now, and I do one week at a time. I have an excel spreadsheet with columns for each type of food (beef, chicken, pork, veggies, pasta, etc). I have the names of the dishes in those columns, and I have the recipes in various places - I have a TON of cookbooks, and I also save recipes that I find online to either PDF or word docs in a folder on my computer desktop. When I'm ready to meal plan, I pull up the excel spreadsheet, think about what I have on hand, ask Hubby for input as to what particular meal(s) he wants this week, then I make the menu for the week, then the grocery list.

Recently, I bought a white board that fits on the pantry cupboard next to my fridge. I write the menu for the week on the white board, and if I need any special prep-ahead, I'll note that too. For example, we have frozen pizza dough balls that we bought at a big box store, so if we're planning pizza for Wed night, I'll have "take out pizza dough" written in under Tuesday's menu. Also we are somewhat flexible about switching things around for the week.

Hope this helps!

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Old 11-07-2013, 11:35 AM   #70
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Default Re: Can someone teach me how to meal plan?

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Old 11-07-2013, 11:55 AM   #71
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Default Re: Can someone teach me how to meal plan?

My system is far from perfect, but it's working for us.

I write on plain notebook paper, after trying various printables and excel sheets that never worked for me. I start by listing out each day of the week, with activities for the day next to the name. Line 2 is "L" for lunch, line 3 is "D" for dinner. I don't plan specific snacks or breakfasts - I usually list a couple off to the side to pick from as needed.

Then I just fill in. I have a list in my cookbook of our favorite things as a starting point. I'm a big pinterest and food magazine fan so if there's something new I want to try those get plugged in first. I usually cook for dinner and reheat for lunch, with the exception of Tuesday when that's flipped due to evening meetings.

My big tip is I look for things that use the same ingredients to avoid left-overs. So when I have a recipe that calls for a half bunch of kale, I make sure to schedule something else a day or two later that calls for the other half. We go through moods - we'll have a Thai / Mexican kick, since those are both heavy on peppers, lime, and cilantro. Then a soup week with lots of leafy greens. Then vegetarian. Then assorted Asian. Throwing away food makes me literally cringe so I do my best to make sure everything gets used before it goes bad.

Clear as mud?
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Old 12-18-2015, 04:53 PM   #72
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Default Re: Can someone teach me how to meal plan?

- Try to incorporate leftovers from dinner into breakfast. Mexican style breakfasts can include leftover rice & beans with eggs. Leftover mashed potatoes turn into potato cakes easily next morning, serve as a side to bacon & eggs!

- Plan only 3 meals a week. Buy the ingredients needed and make those meals. Get creative & spontaneous with meals for the rest of the week, but don't stress about what you'll make.

- Look in the fridge & try to make meals according to what you already have that's on the verge of going bad at the end of the week

- Have a "fend for yourself" night where everyone makes their own meals

- Be grateful for what you have (and use it!). Sometimes I have foods that go to waste because though it was perfectly fine & healthy, I just didn't want it. I was craving something else other nights & kept pushing aside the other stuff until it was too late! Sometimes its good to just eat a meal because it is simply nourishment to our bodies insteaf of what we're craving.

- Use those extra veggies, salad mix, or things on the verge of going bag for lunch!

- Season, season, season. You can make ANYTHING good & desireable to eat with the right seasonings! I turned boring boiled potatoes with butter, salt, & pepper into something even more tasty by simply adding garlic powder, & more butter!

- Don't be afraid to experiment & make your own recipes! When you start getting familiar with basics & others recipes, what seasonings go together, branch out there & give it a shot! Hey it may turn out horrible at first, but it also may be amazing! After all, ALL dishes were because someone tried putting random things things together & saw how it went! I made up my own stew this fall I will have to share recipe for sometime & it was great! And not just because I made it! Lol, other people liked it too!

- Include family in meal planning & making the grocery list

I haven't figured it all out yet myself, but these are just some things that help me! I can't handle being too "to a T" when it comes to meal planning or anything else, but I also don't do well being spontaneous about everything either! Plan too much & you could stress about it when somethings go to waste because something came up & you didn't use your ingredients. Plan too little & you could stress because you don't have dinner! Hope this helps!
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Old 12-18-2015, 11:38 PM   #73
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Default Re: Can someone teach me how to meal plan?

Look at your calendar for the week before you ever start to plan a meal. When would be a good day for a crockpot meal? When will you need something you can eat on the go?

Make a list of the meals you can make without thinking about it. No recipe needed. Quesadillas? Tacos? Spaghetti?

Plug in meals where they fit on your calendar. Days that you're going to be home in the hours prior to dinner area the best for new recipes and recipes that aren't by memory.

Days when you're on the go need crackers, cheese cubes, and some kind of ready meat. Or sandwiches. Or rotisserie chicken and a bag of baby carrots.

Days when you'll be busy most of the day need either a crockpot meal or a quick memory meal.

We have a Fendi night every week - a night when everyone finds their own meal.

Be realistic. Are there nights when the best you can do is plan to eat out? Do you have the energy for time intensive meals? Don't plan things that are so difficult that you're likely to order pizza instead.

It's okay if you repeat things everyone eats often. I try to limit it to every other week.

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---------- Post added at 01:38 AM ---------- Previous post was at 01:31 AM ----------

Oh! And for breakfasts, we eat the same things all week. Everybody's thing is different (oatmeal for me, life cereal for Lilli, frozen waffles for the other two kids, bagels and eggs for DH) but everyone gets one thing for the week. And then we do something special (cinnamon rolls, pancakes) on Saturday.

Lunch is the same way. Everybody gets to tell me what they'd like to have for lunches that week and that's what you get. Turkey and cheese, bagel pizzas, soup, whatever (within reason).

My kids are all old enough to get those things for themselves, so that makes a difference.

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Old 12-19-2015, 05:45 AM   #74
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Default Re: Can someone teach me how to meal plan?

Yes, a big part of meal planning is looking ahead to the week and knowing what days you need certain types of meals. We do easy prep meals on days we know the evening is going to be crazy. Dh is home during the day so he is the chief dinner cook, but I help on more involved meal like homemade pizza.
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