I've decided that I'd like to try weekly meal planning for a few weeks and see it works for us (and to see if it's easier on our budget feeding a family of 5 each week). I figure it will be helpful in several aspects. For one thing, it'll reduce waste - especially with produce. We tend to throw away produce each week because it goes bad before we use it. Also, I think it will help with my many trips to the grocery store/farm stand/farmer's market each week. I'd like to have one big trip on the weekend, with a follow up trip later in the week if I need more produce...which will also cut back on grocery bills as well. I'm also hoping that by planning for the week, it will take any additional stress out of each afternoon & early evening when I am always running around trying to figure out what we will have for dinner, checking the fridge & pantry for ingredients, and oftentimes calling Josh to have him pick up something on his way home...which then leaves the girls cranky because they eat dinner later than usual. I like to avoid having cranky girls when at all possible.
This week, I pulled out my Trader Joe's Companion and planned each dinner according to some recipes featured in that book.
Using the Companion made it easier for me because I was able to get pretty much all of the items needed for the recipes at Trader Joe's. I went out early Sunday morning as the store opened and was able to get my shopping down quickly (and alone!). I will need to go to the farm stand or farmer's market later this week, but I had already factored that in.
I did my best to only get what was on my list - with a few additional (healthy) snacks for my girls. I spent less than $130.00 which I think was pretty good, considering how much I can spend with my many trips to Weis in one week. (Also, I am trying not to shop at Weis very much anymore, unless I need something quickly.)
Here's my meal plan for the week (and I am only listing dinners here because my breakfast, lunch and snacks are pretty much the same every day...dreadfully boring, I know).
Monday ~ Mixed organic greens with strawberries, raspberries, goat cheese, pecans & light balsamic dressing. Also whole wheat pita BLTs (turkey bacon, mixed greens & tomatoes from our garden)
Tuesday ~ Sweet corn and arugala salad served with herb crusted tilapia
Wednesday ~ roasted corn & marinated bean salad served with whole wheat sandwich wraps (turkey for Josh and veggie for me)
Thursday ~ Mushroom and onion flatbread served with grilled chicken for Josh and beet & endive salad for me
Friday ~ Fiery mango mahi mahi with salad
Saturday ~ Mushroom moussaka with salad
I am feeling optimistic! I am looking forward to several weeks of this at which point I will reevaluate and see what needs to be tweaked in terms of weekly planning.