Bite Size Meal Planning

eat at home

I knew how to cook exactly one dish in college. I made it so many times when Troy came over that he only likes to have it now if we have company so he doesn’t have to eat very much of it. Me on the other hand? I could still eat southwest chicken casserole every day of my life.

But that wouldn’t really work out so well for our marriage. Or our waistlines.

When I became Mrs. Skidmore and started planning meals every day for another human, I just kind of slapped some things together. But I didn’t have a good process for writing them down, so I would forget what I’d planned and food would go bad, or I wouldn’t have what I needed so we’d go out to eat. 

That didn’t last long. To quit wasting time and money, I came up with a process and broke it into bite-size, 15 minute-a-week pieces.

  • {Week 1} Goal: find recipes for the first half of the upcoming month. Browse your recipe stash. Gather the ones you want in a central location.* <- More on recipe stashes and gathering techniques below if you don’t already have those in place. 
  • {Week 2} Repeat last week’s steps for the second half of the month’s meals.
  • {Week 3} Use your meal list and calendar to plot the month. Make sure you’ve incorporated a few slow cooker/quick meals for crazy nights, and add side dishes.
  • {Week 4} Make a grocery list with all the ingredients. {Bonus points for setting it up by section at the grocery store to waste less time reading and re-reading the list- this was an awesome time saving idea I got from Selah.}

Later that week, I take a few hours to do the bulk of my shopping for the month. I normally make a trip or two during the month to fill in produce and other perishables, but this helps eliminate impulse buys. {That, and going shopping without Troy. When it comes to the store, he’s like a squirrel with a million shiny objects. Does anyone know where I can get an adult-sized cart seat?}

This system has worked well for us the last couple of years, but as part of SIMPLE focus, {and our delve into cutting out more processed foods} I’ve simplified even more. But more on that later.

Do you have any meal planning tips that have saved your family time or money? Please share them in the comments below!

*Recipes: most of my recipes come from my Evernote “Cookbook” {a couple of years’ worth of recipes split into categories {appetizers, sides, main course, crock pot meals, etc.} or my pinterest boards that are organized in the same way.

*Compilation: I have an Evernote note for each month and put the recipes I’m planning for in that one location so I can reference them while I make my grocery list and as I cook them throughout the month. 

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  • Sharon July 27, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    A friend just shared with me the website
    If you have ingredients but don’t know what to fix for supper,
    you enter the ingredients and up pops numerous recipe ideas.
    This will be a help in using up what I have on hand or when I
    don’t have time to get to the store.

  • Selah July 27, 2013 at 9:42 PM

    Some grocery shopping tips I learned from my mom – always watch the items ring up, you might catch mistakes, and double check your receipt for mistakes too. Harris Teeter will give you an item for free if they’ve mislabeled it on the shelf.

  • Caitlin Author July 30, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    Such great tips- thanks ladies!

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