What I’m eating – April 9

New job, new routine. Time to get a handle on what could be a chaotic transition. Not going to let this be a time to let meal planning become a last minute decision of which bag of deep fried guilt to eat for dinner.

What I’ve learned about meal planning isn’t just about figuring out what to eat. It’s about finding a way to make meals that offer left-over options. Roasted chicken becomes Chicken Enchiladas another night. We also desire enough variety in the week to make meals interesting. I plan for at least four dinners, and have enough staples to get through breakfast, lunch and snacks. The occasional “just made it up” meal usually means something edible, but not re-creatable. This is usually inspired by a food item about to spoil.

The meal plan also must stay within a budget not only of money, but of prep time. I don’t want to cook all of the meals on Sunday. Chopping onions and de-germing garlic is relaxing and necessary kitchen therapy. (If you want to know what “de-germing garlic means, ask me in the comments. I’ll write a special post just on that.)

I make a meal plan based on the schedule for the week; what nights I’m in rehearsals, what baked goods are required for class guests (yes, I bake for people who talk to my students), what ingredients I have in the house, upcoming holidays, or other social obligations.

The meal plan is written on the refrigerator board. Left overs packed for lunches or smorgasbord night are numbered after the meal. There is no order to the meals. The board is just a reminder of what I was thinking when I went grocery shopping that week.

If during the week, there’s an item that needs to go on the shopping list, it’s on the board until I make the next meal plan.

It’s not a well crafted system. It just works for me.

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