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Monday, January 19, 2009

Tips on Tuesday


Last week Sandra had a post on how she plans her meals and does her shopping. She asked how we did things so I'm sharing today.
I've been doing menu plans for years but since I started working full time about 5 years ago it's even more important. I use the little purse calenders you can buy that hold one or two years of monthly calenders in them. I write what the meal will be in each square and I plan for 2 weeks at a time. Then, I use that menu to write out a grocery list and buy two weeks worth of groceries. I wish I could say I only shop every two weeks, but I do have to run to the store between those trips, to buy things like bread and milk and of course the things I've run out of or forgotten!
When I come home from the store, I brown and rinse any hamburg I will be using. I put it in the freezer in freezer bags in one or two pound increments, according to how it will be used. If I am going to need cubed chicken, I will cook and cube it also, then freeze it. This way the meals are quicker to make and all the mess is taken care of at once.
I also save several years of the little calenders. If I can't think of something to make, I'll look back to another year for ideas.
Knowing what meals I'll be making is so helpful. I don't have to come home from work and then think about what I will need to make something.
That's my meal planning tip. For more tips, stop over at Sandra's place.



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27 comments:

darla said...

what a wonderful meal planning tip! i will try this! i'm always looking for shortcuts and ways to simplify. thanks.

Mike Golch said...

just stoped by to say hi.

Mariel said...

great tips...I basically do the menu thing, but not the pre-cooking! That would be helpful...especially when I REALLY do not feel like dealing with frozen chicken at 5:00 on evening!! Having it already cubed is great! I'll have to try it!

Pug1 said...

This is a good tip, I do this ....sometimes!!! CHEERS! Michele

Cheri said...

I always separate my meat into 1 pd increments and freeze them also.
If I worked I would cook it ahead also!

All My Blessings said...

I do the menu plans for the week also and separateth meat for that weeks menu. I hate grocery shopping. Everything is so overpriced so I get disgusted and come home. I need to at midnight.

Brooke said...

you can save a lot of money buying meat on sale, but you always have to know at least a day or two in advance so it can thaw.

i menu plan by the month. :) but if i want to have Tuesday's meal on Monday we do.

Cherdecor said...

Good tips! If I could get out of cooking, I would. =) But since I can't, I do need to plan ahead. Your tips sound like something I need to do.

One question, to me, chicken cooked ahead has a second day flavor. How do you deal with that? If I cook it a day ahead of using, I have to store it in the frig with broth over it in order to keep the original flavor. I wonder if freezing it in the broth would help.

Nancy said...

You are so organized, but that is good tips

Mari said...

Cheryl - I have never noticed a different taste to my chicken, but I don't have it plain, I only do this if I'm making a chicken dish.

cindy said...

I've just given you an waard, Mari. check out my blog to get it! You are awesome!

cindy said...

I meant an award.

Pat said...

My plan is I fly by the seat of my pants. So far it isn't working out that well!
When I worked I was much more organized, since I've retired, I don't plan nearly as much and around 4pm I wonder what I'll make for dinner! I've gotten lazy and need to get back into the swing of things!

Heather C said...

I just started meal planning. I have a whole month's worth on a calendar that's posted on the fridge. The family LOVES it! They love knowing what's for dinner, and it gives them something to look forward to each day. I love the idea of cooking and freezing the meat. I've not thought of that... but it's an idea I'm going to have to implement! Thanks for sharing.

photomama said...

I have been thinking about meal planning for awhile, but it seemed like such a project. This does make sense and simplify's the steps. Thanks. I think I need to freeze meals like you do for when the baby arrives. My husband's mac n cheese leaves a lot to be desired. LOL

jenniferw said...

This is another great idea. I work mostly at home and don't have the need to plan ahead quite as strenuously, but a dear friend who works every day, must cook for her family each evening, and is trying very hard to lose some weight, was asking me for help recently. I remembered your post about cooking ahead, Mari, and I advised that she try it. Then, she can serve her family something she has prepared ahead of time, and keep to her special diet without getting derailed by cooking while famished! I'm going to pass these tips along to her too.

Sandra said...

These are great tips Mari and I'm happy to know you pretty much do what I do.

I also plan and shop for two weeks and I also end up having to run back for milk and bread. LOL

Julieann said...

Mari---I really like these tips--especially about the ground beef.

Also, I want to thank you for always being such a faithful friend to me and my blog--I so appreciate all your kind words to me--Thank you.

Julieann

He Knows My Name said...

You know I have such a love/hate relationship with organization. I have never attempted anything like this. Sounds good. I really never gave cooking my meat when I get it home, but by george, you are on to something woman! :)

janel

Musicaljean said...

I like making two or three big meals on the weekend. With just the two of us, that's enough to last the week.

Kim said...

Good idea and timely! After months of so much travel and getting out of a routine, we are finally settled in and I need to get back to the menu planning. Muchas gracias!

Bonnie said...

I love the little calendar idea ... having all those recipe ideas in one place for future reference !! Good thinkin' Mari !!

AlaneM said...

Wow, I love the browning hamburger/cooking chicken tip - how handy to just pop it out of the freezer & go!!

Rebekah said...

I really need to do that. I make things I find on the internet, and then forget about them. I used to check mark the recipes the family liked, but Ive even stopped doing that

A Stone Gatherer said...

You are very organized with your Menus! I aspire to be like you but am failing to a degree!!!!!

girlymom said...

I try similar tips, but after gettting all of my graoceries home and put away I tend to run out of motivation to get the meat cooked. It's something that I have been trying to get better at doing.

splendid said...
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