the secret lives of prothros.

November 5, 2009

meal planning made easy

Filed under: Uncategorized — prothro @ 11:12 am

So, I’ve been on a mentoring kick lately. Not mentoring in the grand sense of the word but in the simple, practical way. Basically, helping someone reach a goal. Doesn’t have to be a grandiose or complicated goal. Just something they want to accomplish. Well, last week after having a talk with a dear friend, she told me that one of her big goals is getting better at meal planning.

I saw the opportunity to help and I jumped on it.

Not to mention, helping her would mean that I got to spend lots of time on and organizing meals. And I love that. So really it was kind of selfish.

She has a busy life. Between a full time job, three regular get-togethers during the week and a two hour commute (I know!).

  1. Here were her goals: Quick, simple meals for the two nights with get togethers (the third has dinner).
  2. The ability to buy whatever cut of meat is on sale and use it for at least two meals. (Save money!)
  3. Simple enough to accomplish in the midst of actual life.

So I immersed myself in an vortex and here is what I came up with for her:

meatsThe first section is organized by meat cuts. These are for the nights when she has enough time to really cook a meal (two days a week and weekends). So if ground beef is on sale, you open that folder and instantly have 17 recipes using ground beef. You just pick what you’re in the mood to eat. All of the recipes are ready in under an hour, with 30 minutes or less of actual hands on time. They all have allrecipes ratings of at 4+ stars. I didn’t even let regular old 4 star recipes play. Only the best. No weird or super long ingredient lists either. We’re keeping it simple here. So that is set. It is easy to maintain and she can add any recipes from other sources she wants. It’s all right there in one place. (You’ll notice the absence of some major meat categories here. She doesn’t eat seafood, which is a bummer since those are some of the easiest and quickest meals.)





quickHere is the second section of her online recipe box. It’s for the busier nights. When she gets home and needs to have a meal cooked, eaten and cleaned within an hour or so. It is divided into two sections by preparation type. There are quickie meals and slow cooker meals. Quickie meals are all ready in under 30 minutes, usually much quicker. There is a strong focus on quickie meals being easily prepared with ingredients that can be stocked in the kitchen. So not as many perishables. The bulk of the recipes for quickie meals fall into the pasta, sandwich, or breakfast for dinner category. Simple recipes from staple foods. Again all the recipes are 4+ stars and it is easy to add new recipes. The second category for busy nights food prep is slow cooker meals, again all 4+ stars. This is a sanity saver. All of these recipes are prepared in under 15 minutes before you head to work in the morning. It’s basically throwing a few ingredients in a pot and maybe chopping 1-2 vegetables. It cooks all day. The best part of slow cooker meals is that when you’re driving home from work, you don’t even have to think about cooking, because it’s already done and waiting for you, filling your house with delicious aromas, you just have to think about getting home, relaxing with the hubs and enjoying a meal together. And just one prep dish to clean. One more comment on slow cookers. They do so much more than pot roasts!! You can do lasagna, chicken and dumplings, beef stroganoff, ribs etc. It’s a very versatile machine.

So that’s it. Plain and simple. Ready to be filled out with some more family favorite recipes. I didn’t need to include anything on side dishes, as she’s already good at planning those. She always serves very balanced meals.

Now planning takes place in these easy steps:

  1. Check HEB online and see what meat is on sale that week.
  2. Think of the week and divide it by full meal nights, quick meal nights, and going out nights.
  3. Select two meals from the on sale meat’s folder. Click to add them to the shopping list.
  4. Select a quick meal for the remaining nights. Click to add them to shopping list.
  5. Go to the shopping list and edit portions.
  6. Remove shopping items already in your kitchen.
  7. E-mail the list to yourself.
  8. Shop using your cell phone. Awesome! (It sends an HTML e-mail so you can check off on your phone as you go!)
  9. Cook and eat. And feel really awesome about your savings and efficiency!

Even though there are 9 steps, it really is a fast process and saves so much time later in the week.

Meal planning is a great thing. It’s also weird. So many women I know define it as an integral part of being a wife, whether their husbands care or not. I know Evan thinks I’m just as great of a wife if we have Totino’s pizzas for dinner as if I cook an elaborate spread, but I feel much better about the latter. I think it’s a combo of a wife’s good desires to take care of her family well and society’s push for us to be do-everything superwomen. Whatever your reasons, meal planning is simple and attainable as long as you have a system. So take the time to get one. And if you need a mentor…….I love me some meal organizing.



P.S. I know this blog does weird formatting stuff and it frustrates me, incredibly. I’ve made multiple attempts to make it be nice to me. I even messed with the html, to no avail. Please forgive the uglies it makes sometimes. Maybe I’ll move soon.


1 Comment »

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Holly Hardin and Satana, Chicken Fingers. Chicken Fingers said: meal planning made easy « the secret lives of prothros.: Here is the second section of her online recipe box. I.. […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention meal planning made easy « the secret lives of prothros. -- — November 6, 2009 @ 10:14 am

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