It’s almost Thanksgiving, a foodie’s favorite holiday, so a short link-free post today. Winter is off to an early start here, so sweaters and hot meals are even more appreciated than usual. Meal planning makes it easier to get those hot meals on the table, and it saves money and reduces food waste, too, especially if you make good use of leftovers (hmm, that might make another post one of these days). Maybe meal planning can even free up a few minutes for knitting! So here are two tips, ones that I should have noticed long ago, to help you with your weekly meal plans.
1. Talk to people. Yup, check in with friends and see what’s working for them in the kitchen. Sometimes it’s even more helpful if they’ll share what’s not worked. If the friends you talk to have similar work and family commitments, no matter their cooking experience level, you’ll get honest answers and field-tested advice you can use. I learn something every time I do this.
2. Make two lists. Write down all the meal items your family likes and regularly has. Don’t bother to do it in any special order, just as they occur to you. This is not supposed to be work. Yes, cheese and crackers and apples totally counts. Then start a separate list of recipes you’d like to try someday; you can go through your cookbooks or make notes as you come across them online. I did this in Evernote, but any notebook is great. I might print my lists out and stick them on the fridge. I’m sure it’ll be entertaining to see what the rest of the family adds! (Doughnuts. More pie? ) Then read them when you make your weekly plan. In a week where you have time, you can pick something off the “recipes to try” list. In a week right before a holiday, forget that and quickly pick some family favorites off the first list, check what needs to go on your shopping list, and you are good to get the groceries.