Why I need a Meal Planner ??

You should never have the excuse that you have nothing in the house to prepare for dinner. Like virtually anything that you need to to set up and organize, meal preparation requires some basic planning. Setting up basic systems so that you always have things at the ready and you can speed up the time it takes to get dinner on the table.

When you decide to eat a meal out, is it because you are consciously choosing to do so? Or is it because you haven’t the time or ingredients to prepare something at home? If you are like most people, it is probably the latter. Yet it doesn’t have to be that way. With a bit of planning, less than 15 minutes a week, you can cut back on your grocery bills, eat healthier, and feel better. All it takes is a meal planner.

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Features Of A Meal Planner

A meal planner is a just a collection of items that will allow you (or any other cooking person) to get a meal on the table with ingredients that are on hand. It will have the following items:

  • A menu plan. A menu plan is what you will eat for the meals in the coming week. It will list out all the dishes that will be prepared so you can check for nutritional balance, and also take into account family schedules.
  • Recipes. The recipes portion of the planner has two purposes: it allows you to assemble the instructions for making a meal in one place, as well as provide a basis for the next portion of the planner.
  • A shopping list. The shopping list is what allows you to have the ingredients on hand to make the meals you have planned. Nothing is worse than to start a recipe and find that you have forgotten to buy a key ingredient. By taking the ingredient list from the recipes, you can ensure you have everything on hand.
  • Reminders. These instructions would allow you to remember to start dishes on time, or pull things from the freezer. If you are planning a slow cooker dinner that takes 8 hours, you need to be reminded to get it started, or dinner won’t be done on time.

Putting Together A Planner

  • I like to keep everything together in one spot. I have assembled a meal planner using basic office supplies which allows me to keep everything in one place (the front of the refrigerator).
  • I used  a sheet protector to the front of a sheet of paper . The sheet protector holds the menu plan for two weeks. For each day on the planning sheet I have a spot for any activities that are going on that might affect dinner (early evening meetings, for example); a box for the food plan, including side dishes; and a box with reminders for the next day (such as defrosting meat, or assembling the slow cooker meal for the fridge).

 

  • Inside the folder I have sheet protectors into which I slip the recipes for each day. This makes it easy for me to find my recipes, or to hand everything over to my husband.

 

  • In the back pocket of the folder I keep the shopping list for the plan, and the shopping list for the next two week period. I add items as the week passes that will need to be purchased during the next shopping trip.

 

  • I clip the entire folder to the front of the fridge using a heavy-duty magnet.

Using A Planner

  • The first step is to fill out my planning sheet. I list out the days as well as meal-affected events such as meetings, travel and birthdays (for which we eat out). Then I look through my recipes and pick things that fit the schedule and the season. During summer we do a lot of grilling and salads, but I save the labor-intensive food for the weekends.

 

  • At this point I have filled out the menu planner and have a pile of recipes. I record each recipe’s ingredients on a shopping list, then file it in the planner pocket for that day.

 

  • The shopping list is then double-checked against the planner board in our kitchen for things we are out of, and also compared to our pantry ingredients to see if there is anything we already have on hand.

 

  • With a menu planner, we are able to keep our food budget in a good place and only go out to eat when we wish to, rather than because we don’t have our acts together enough to cook. Do you have any tips for meal planning? Share below.
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8 Vegetables that you can regrow

There are only so many foods in this world that can be regrown over and over again. Vegetables are one of the best ideas for attempting to keep this sustainable food growing again and again. Each one of these 8 ideas, gives you the instructions you require and tutorials on setting up and regrowing 8 different vegetables.

Spring onions /Scallions 

Scallions You can regrow scallions by leaving an inch attached to the roots and place them in a small glass with a little water in a well-lit room. … 

8 Vegetables That You Can Regrow Again And Again.

Garlic

When garlic begins to sprout, you can put them in a glass with a little water and grow garlic sprouts. The sprouts have a mild flavor than garlic and can be added to salads, pasta and other dishes. … 

8 Vegetables That You Can Regrow Again And Again.

Bok Choy

Bok Choy can be regrown by placing the root end in water in a well-lit area. In 1-2 weeks, you can transplant it to a pot with soil and grow a full new head….

8 Vegetables That You Can Regrow Again And Again.Carrots

Put carrot tops in a dish with a little water. Set the dish in a well-lit room or a window sill. You’ll have carrot tops to use in salads. … 

8 Vegetables That You Can Regrow Again And Again.Basil

Put clippings from basil with 3 to 4-inch stems in a glass of water and place it in direct sunlight. When the roots are about 2 inches long, plant them in pots to and in time it will grow a full basil plant…. 

8 Vegetables That You Can Regrow Again And Again.Celery

Cut off the base of the celery and place it in a saucer or shallow bowl of warm water in the sun. Leaves will begin to thicken and grow in the middle of the base, then transfer the celery to soil. …

8 Vegetables That You Can Regrow Again And Again.Romaine Lettuce

Put romaine lettuce stumps in a 1/2 inch of water. Re-water to keep water level at 1/2 inch. After a few days, roots and new leaves will appear and you can transplant it into soil…. 

8 Vegetables That You Can Regrow Again And Again.

Cilantro

The stems of cilantro will grown when placed in a glass of water. Once the roots are long enough, plant them in a pot in a well-lit room. You will have a full plant in a few months 

8 Vegetables That You Can Regrow Again And Again.

Share these awesome tips with your friends and family…. 

15 TIPS FOR MEAL PLANNING .

It’s whatever way you organize yourself to cook a meal, whether that’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It is the plan you make before you shop. Some people plan a month in advance, freezing neatly labeled packets of soup and stew. Others wing it, shopping for that evening’s meal at the farmers’ market and picking up whatever looks good to them.( I am amongst  both People )

Secondly, I was asked by many readers how I plan  my menu . There’s no right way to plan your meals; you should just do what is effective for you!

This list of tips is all over the map — there are plenty of ideas here for getting more organized and helping yourself think ahead. 

This is just a rough idea of how to plan the week’s menu 🙂

15 Tips for Meal Planning 

GETTING INSPIRED

1) Spend time each week looking for recipes.

This may feel like an indulgence, but just let yourself do it. Browse websites for recipes that look delicious.

2) Create a place to save recipes, and keep it SIMPLE.

Do whatever works for you. Don’t get caught up in a system, just use whatever works best and most easily.

3) Ask your partner, family, and roommates what they like to eat.

This might sound obvious, but it’s easy to get caught up in our weeks and forget to ask our husband and kids  what they would like to eat?

4)Check the Weather.

Again, you may say, duh, but seriously. Right now, the weather is changeable in many parts of the country. Look at the weather forecast, and try to predict if you’re going to be in the mood for soup or grilled shrimp salad On Friday.

5) Weekly Menu Plan

 I use a blank WEEKLY CALENDAR and plan the week’s meals on the weekend, basing my grocery list on only those items.

GETTING ORGANIZED 

1) Start a calendar.

Now that you’re getting inspired in what to eat, start a calendar of what you’d like to cook over the next few days or few weeks.This always helps BTW.

2) Go with theme nights (soup night, pasta night, beans).

I use general guides like Soup Night, Pasta Night, Beans to make it easier. Every Wednesday is Taco night  at my place …just saying!

3) Choose a shopping day and make a shopping list.

Some of the meal planning and recipe-saving services let you do this easily, extracting ingredients from the recipes you have saved.

4)Check what’s on Sale .

Some folks really like to organize their meals around sales. I used to do this but not anymore. 😦

5) Plan for Leftovers !

Most of us have at least some tolerance for leftovers. Try to make you’re cooking always do double duty. Make a little extra of everything, and if you don’t want it right away, freeze it.

GETTING IT DONE

1) Prep food as soon as you get back from the store.

Wash and dry lettuce. Chop onions. Roast vegetables. Shred zucchini for quick stir-fries. Stack up glass containers of prepped ingredients in the refrigerator and bask in your own awesome preparedness. 

2) Cook components of your meals.

Going beyond prep, cook components of the meals. I cook large batches of components(gravies )on the weekend, then mix-and-match them according to what I’m craving during the week. 

3)Be strategic about freezing.

The freezer is your friend. Actually, it’s the friend of future you. Make a double batch of that sauce mentioned above and freeze half for later. Don’t Judge me but my Life has been saved plenty of times by my freezer !

4) Don’t overstuff the refrigerator.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when your fridge is over-full. Also, things get hidden in the back, lost behind the veggies . Don’t let things go bad.

5) Keep a well-stocked pantry.

Meals are easier and quicker to prepare if you keep your pantry well-stocked. 

All right! What did I  miss? What keeps you motivated, inspired, and on track with cooking for yourself during the week? Please let me know !! Dying to read about your menu planning !!