Friday, February 10, 2012

Meal Planning Success

Bo and I have never been good about meal planning. It didn't make sense to even attempt it with our old jobs since I traveled so much and even when I was in town, a majority of our meals were (sadly) take-out in the office. Even now with Bo's new job, he travels quite a lot, but it's always last minute so we never know if he will actually be in town all week, which makes it rather difficult to plan anything. It doesn't help that Bo likes going to Publix and sees nothing wrong with us going 4-5 times a week. (Which completely drives me nuts, by the way.)

So last week, he was finally working on a deal here in Atlanta and was guaranteed to be here all week. Aside from our cookbooks, we have two ever-growing books of recipes clipped from magazines or printed from the internet. One is full of recipes that we've tried and liked, and the other is full of recipes we want to try. If we like a new recipe, we move it over to the "tried and liked" book, and if we don't like it we throw it away. So in addition to meal planning for the first time, we were really ambitious and tried all new recipes.

I'm glad to say it was a complete success!

1) We saved a lot of time by only going to the grocery store just once a week instead of making several trips.
2) We avoided having the dreaded daily conversation of "what are we going to eat" and "whose turn is it to go to Publix today".
3) For the most part, our meal selections were pretty healthy.
4) All of these meals took less than an hour to make, and most were done in under 45 minutes.
5) We usually had enough leftovers for one or both of us to have lunch the next day.
6) We saved money! Somehow our grocery bill was a LOT less than what we normally spend. I guess that's what happens when you only buy what's on your list...
7) The icing on the cake: all our new recipes were keepers.

That's a win-win-win-win-win-win-win in my mind! :)

Here's what our week of dinners looked like...

Day 1: Veal and Mashed Potatoes. We used a recipe from our Joy of Cooking cookbook (our cooking Bible) for the veal, and I'm pretty sure everyone knows how to make mashed potatoes. We are big-time nerds and like to have "themed" dinner and movie nights, so we watched Sound of Music to go along with our wiener schnitzel :)

Day 2: Veal Parmesan. This was an accidental bonus meal that we had not planned on. We had leftover veal from the night before so we kind of made up this meal based on what we had. It worked out especially well because we only got through the first half of Sound of Music the night before, so we continued our theme night and watched the second half.

Day 3: Sausage and Broccolini Risotto. This was by far my favorite meal of the week. It was amazing. I've never made risotto before, but apparently it's somewhat difficult/annoying because you have to stir the whole time. Not with this recipe! And the leftovers I had for lunch the next day were just as good. My co-workers even asked me for the recipe because it looked and smelled delicious in the break room!

Day 4: Capellini With Spicy Zucchini-Tomato Sauce. This was both of our least favorite. It was still pretty good, it's just that everything else we made last week was that much better! We eat a lot of pasta, so it wasn't really something out of the ordinary but definitely a keeper.

Day 5: Grilled Pierogies and Kielbasa. This one was surprisingly very good, considering the sausage caught fire on the grill, we didn't have the right mustard, and we forgot to take our parsley out of the freezer the night before. Plus it was just as good, if not better, for lunch the next day.


Day 6: Chicken Paprikash. This dish was pretty good. It was different from other paprikash meals we've made before. We kept the recipe although this isn't something I think we will make too often. 

I know it won't work out this well every week, so we've started a running list of meal ideas up on our fridge so that when Bo is here we can head to the grocery store with a plan. Less thinking, less stress, less money. So far so good. Apparently everyone else on the planet knew what they were talking about with this meal planning business, and as usual, I am the last one to jump aboard. So if for nothing else, hopefully this will serve as a reminder for us to keep it up.


  1. I miss themed dinners and drinks w/ movies at the Commander house! Can I come back?

  2. ahhh, I need to get organized and do this too! Those all looked really yummy!


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