There aren’t that many things I really hate. But staring at my fridge trying to figure out what I could cook is one of them. Luckily enough, my mother was and still is an organizational guru and I’m sure that I have inherited that gene (along with other traits of course). Do you want to move on and say goodbye to messy meal planning? Stay tuned, I’m sharing with you my 8 golden rules to never ever worry again when the question pops up “Hey, what’s for dinner tonight?”.
1. Build up your very own recipes repertoire. Choose recipes that you and your family truly like and that aren’t too sophisticated for your daily life. For special occasions and Sundays, you can make exceptions of course and add a few fancy recipes in your repertoire. If you use the recipes of your repertoire in high rotation, you’ll know them by heart sooner or later and be quicker at making them. Eventually, you’ll feel more confident in trying out new recipes to complete your repertoire. For ideas and inspiration, visit the “Eat well” section of this blog where I only post super easy and delicious recipes.
2. Plan extra portions for leftovers and optimize the time you spend in the kitchen. When I was living in Switzerland, I didn’t have time to cook during the week. So on Saturdays and Sundays I would cook nice dishes for 4 people (although there were just the 2 of us) so that during the week, I just had to open my tuperwears and reheat the food . What a time-saver idea!
3. Write down your meal plan for the week. Depending if your family comes home for lunch or not, plan with 7 to 14 meals a week. I live with my husband but he doesn’t come home for lunch. I plan 7 meals a week and cook extra portions so that can use the leftovers of the night before as my lunches. Put the menu on your fridge for everybody to see. If you get asked what you’re going to cook tonight, just suggest the person to have a look at the menu. As time goes by, I promise that nobody’s going to ask that question again! Adopting the menu planning lifestyle has saved me so much time and worries. I don’t have to think about anymore because I have “automized” it 🙂
4. Do the grocery shopping according to your meal plan. Write down all the ingredients you need for the X meals of the week broken down in categories (fruit and veggies, meat and fish, dairy products, grocery products) and in the exact same order of the departments of your supermarket. I feel compelled to send a personal message to the supermarket managers here: stop changing the aisles of the supermarkets so often, you’re messing with my grocery shopping list!
5. Have an extra meal for emergencies. My spare wheel are tuna spaghetti because the ingredients don’t expire: 1 can of tuna, 1 can of peeled tomatoes, spaghetti and parmesan cheese. Of course, there is always the option of ready-to-eat frozen cuisine but I’m really not a huge fan. And never will. #eatrealfood! Choose your own spare wheel meal and store the ingredients. Between your in-laws coming over unannounced and a hurricane approaching, you never really know what can happen…
6. Learn to accommodate leftovers. If you have leftovers from a previous meal but somehow it’s not gonna be sufficient for your whole family, you always have the possibility to turn it into a feast without anyone noticing. My father-in-law is a master when it comes to accommodating leftovers. He has a strong background in chemistry, I’m sure it helps but you can do it too! You can turn your leftovers into a cheese-topped dishes, in an omelette, in a mixed salad, in a pasta or rice dishes. Just give free rein to your imagination!
7. Delegate more. If your children are too young to learn cooking maybe your partner can help? And if you’re looking for ideas, ask your family what they’d like to eat next time.
8. Take an extra step and record your recipes in an excel sheet and put them into categories (dishes with meat, with fish, only with vegetables and with eggs). Each time you prepare your menu planning and shopping list, pick one or several recipes from each category and you are good to go.
The menu planning lifestyle is awesome, thanks mum for giving me that good gene! Not only does it put an end to your kitchen blank page terror but this will also be particularly helpful when you have guests coming over. You can never be too prepared!
Thanks as always for reading my blog lovely people, I hope you all become queens or kings in your kitchen-kingdom.