Mommy friends of mine practice meal planning so I decided to give it a try at the turn of the new year. I preplan what to cook the whole week. I don't necessarily write down the whole recipe at that time. Some spontaneity is preserved, and I can look up recipes revolving around the theme or protein/ingredients I chose for the day. It's been working wonders. We don't waste as much food or end up making a rash choice to get take out for lack of making a decision on what to make for dinner. I can also utilize leftover roasts or hunks of meat and incorporate them into meals on other days. If there aren't lists or a schedule to follow, it's difficult to focus with so much goings ons.
Some people can really save money doing this by buying only what's on sale and using coupons then planning the meals around the sales. I wish I had time for this or really a clue on how to do it for Organic and natural living. It doesn't help that I can't see the coupons from coupons.com on my browser either. We shop at Wholefoods and BJ's, and it breaks the bank on our already tight budget to buy all Organic products. Our health is uncompromisable though so we still do it.
I'm saving a repertoire of meals in a folder on my computer so I can pick out and rotate meals. Personally I get sick of having the same dishes too often, and my son does too. Although he goes on these kicks where he wants the same thing for every meal or every day, but that's a whole other blog. Finding things that everyone in the family likes is difficult. Honestly my preschooler usually eats something totally different or just parts of the meal. It feels like this will change soon since he's slowly been trying new things. So my meal repertoire will be constantly changing with two young palates. I used to cook so complicated, but it's so difficult with the two now. Easy, nutritious and slightly gourmet is what I like. I try to mix up some inspiration from around the world into the menu too. Latin, Asian, Indian, Italian, and on and on.
The internet is great for new recipes and ideas. I google most of my recipes instead of using cookbooks these days. Sites that I frequent are food network, epicurious, all recipes.com and even Betty Crocker. However I modify most of the recipes and always omit or substitute things like "powdered soup mix" or "hamburger helper powder" for natural options. We don't use things like that in this house since they might contain harmful preservatives or food coloring. Any chemicals or artificial whatnot aka poison is consumed as little as possible in this household.
I also have a ban on hydrogenated fats, although occasionally they find themselves in the house in the form of Reese's Pieces or Peanut Butter Cups.... Velveeta isn't allowed in this house..... EVER!!!!
Feel free to comment with a good recipe especially delicious crock pot dishes. Also tips for good planning is welcome too. Juggling the new family additions into the mix with all of the regular duties has been exhausting. Thankfully as time goes on I'm figuring out what makes it all run smoothly for us.