YEAH!! My mom, Gongie (grandmother), and sister (Ivy) are coming in town on Thursday! I am sooo excited I can hardly stand it! I have been making my to-do lists for the week and grocery lists and thought I would share with you how I plan out my meals. When Jeffrey and I first got engaged in August 2007 (take one, for those of you who know what I am taking about), I decided that I would start practicing creating meal plans and organizing my grocery lists (he hates to go to the store without a list). I began slowly only planning 1 week ahead of time, and over time I have gotten really fast!
Step 1: Pick out what meals on your "favorites" list you would like to have, maybe ask your family if there is something they are wanting (Jeffrey never cares, but I ask him anyway). Write these meals down (I use the computer because it is faster)
Step 2: Look through cooking blogs, cookbooks or friends recipes to find a few recipes to try out for the next 2 weeks. Write them down.
Step 3: Go through your meals and arrange them to mix up the meats and food types. Ex: you do not want to make chicken several days in a row or several days of Mexican food. You should also put the meals that have ingredients that are more perishable in the beginning. I try to plan at least 2 weeks of meals so my pasta and chicken dishes end up being at the end of this period. PS the food saving bags that you see on the TV really do work! I use them for all my veggies and fruit, it takes a little more time when I get home from the grocery store, but it is worth it because the food doesn't go bad as quick.
Step 4: Carefully scan through each meal and type out (or write down), all the ingredients you need for each meal.
Step 5: Look in your kitchen to see what ingredients you may already have and see what basics and tolietries you are out of, add to the list.
Step 6: This is why I type out my lists- Type out the labels Fruits/Veggies, Meat, Dairy, Dry Goods, Frozen, Other, etc... and then arrange your ingredients under each label so that your list is organized. This makes a world of difference when you are in the store, you will not have to keep going back to the same aisle over and over again. I also have at least 2 grocery stores that I go to (Vons and Costco) so make sure you make that distinction on your list.
I know this sounds really intimidating, but after you have done it several times it will be quick. I also save each of my menu/grocery lists on my computer that way I could go back and just pull one out at any time and it would have my grocery list already prepared.
Here is my menu and grocery list for this week for you to use as an example:
1 Saturday: artichoke tomato cream spaghetti grilled chicken , salad
2 Sunday: chicken and rice casserole, green beans
3 Monday: Lemon pasta with grilled shrimp, salad
4 Tuesday: leftovers!
5 Wednesday:, Make Brown Sugar Brownies for Church and Pesto Pasta and grilled chicken
6 Thursday: Mom and Gongie Here, stuffed artichokes, Mediterranean Chicken Pasta (DD)
7 Friday: In San Diego
8 Saturday: Mom here: Mushroom Soup, Scallops and Sundried Tomato Risotto
9 Sunday: Mom here: Fish Tacos, Spanish rice
10 Monday: Ivy here: Flank Steaks, crunchy mashed potatoes
11 Tuesday: Ivy here: Dinner out
12 Wednesday: Mexi-Cali Casserole
13 Thursday: clam linguine, broccoli
14 Friday: baked penne chicken and sundried tomatoes, salad
Rosemary onion bread
Risotto rice Arborio
3 Diced tomato
Pasta bow tie
Spanish rice 2 boxes
Half and half
Monterey jack cheese
Italian cheese blend
Face wash Shelbi and Jeffrey
Big box Mushroom
2 Rotisserie chicken
Whole foods Parmesan