Monday, March 31, 2008

meal planning, day one...

so, in my 35 years, i have never figured out how to actually plan meals ahead of time and shop from a list... it has always sounded like a good idea to me-- something i intended to get around to “eventually”, when “things calm down”... as if that’s actually ever going to happen. most nights dan and i talk about 6, as i’m on my way home with the kids and say, “so what are we going to do about dinner???” we throw something together on the fly... on “special” nights we might get take-out, most of the time, it’s mac-and-cheese with some sort of protein and veggie mixed in. not bad, but certainly not “gourmet”. i’m really a foodie at heart. after all my years in the restaurant biz, i can order like a pro-- cooking, on the other hand... well... i’ve just never made it a priority. i’ve been inspired by my friend julianne, who is always making new, fantastic recipes. eating at her house is always an “event”, and my friend korin who never shops without a list (when i asked her how she does it, thinking she had some great secret system, she told me, “it’s easy. plan. your. meals.” sounds easy when you say it that way, huh?

so finally, i’ve decided to get a system together and give it a shot. i’ve been collecting recipes for a while now, i just never think about looking at them until it’s too late to run to the store for the one missing ingredient. yesterday, i finally printed out a few of the recipes and put them in a small binder (i love the little binders for half sheets of paper-- and did you know they actually make sheet protectors for that size of paper now?) i just cut and paste recipes i find online into a document that has the page set-up changed to the half sheet size. so yesterday morning i picked out a few, printed out a mon-fri grid, and planned our meals.

mariah and i went shopping at trader joe’s and got ingredients for breakfast risotto, apricot glazed chicken, pork tenderloin with pomegranate sauce, and apple crisp (this was a weekday plan, with room for standbys like mac and cheese and hot oatmeal). this morning i made the breakfast risotto-- luckily, levi is on spring break so we had some lee-way time-wise, instead of needing to rush off to school by 8:30.