It’s summertime in the northern hemisphere, which means daytime highs in my neck of the woods usually top out over 100° F. That means nobody wants to cook (especially the Nerds. Pretty sure we’d all love to hide out in our air conditioned Batcaves, playing video games/sewing/whatev until late September). Unfortunately, I have neither the budget nor the appetite for fast food to allow myself the luxury of not cooking. Plus, gotta generate that content. 😉
So, What’s a nerd to do? Obsessively plan, that’s what.
Behold, my weekly dinner meal plan!
Step 1: What do I have?
Take inventory. See what sorts of raw ingredients you already have, paying special attention to perishables. Get that celery/thawed chicken/cute tiny pineapple turned into something, stat.
Step 2: Hit the books.
Comb your cookbooks or your macbook for recipes and ideas. Find things to do with those ingredients you spied in the fridge. Make a stash of recipes in a favorites folder.
Step 3: Write it down.
Get that course laid in! Never mind what kind of schedule you have, you can work in home-cooked dinner for yourself every day. For instance, in the above example (that’s my real menu for my fridge, just FYI), all the soups go into the crock pot, the quinoa burgers and enchiladas will get prepped ahead of time on a day off, and my darlin’ is in charge of starting prep for the po’ boys.
Step 4: Shopping
I like to sort my shopping list by intended meal, you may prefer to sort yours by area of the store or by the star chart or whatever. Couponers, this is a good time to figure out if your meal plan coincides with any stellar coupon deals (put the coupons with the list). Go down the ingredients lists in the recipes for the week, making note of the things you’ll need to buy to cook.
Okay, so you’ve scoured the cupboards, made your selections, wrote ‘em down and shopped. Well done, my padawans. Now, let’s say you have unexpected company in the middle of your planned dinner week. If you wanna spend time with your guests instead of cooking, don’t be sad! I give you permission to redo your schedule and bump a meal or two to next week if you want. I do it too.
The takeaway here is to 1) give yourself a little less to freak out about every day by having a plan already; and 2) to quit roaming the grocery store like a kid, just throwing stuff into the cart all willy-nilly.
Give it a shot and be sure to tell me how it worked for you (Facebook/twitter/comment below/smoke signals?).
Eat well, Nerdship!