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aeraen

How Far Ahead Do You Plan Your Meals?

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I just spent this afternoon on my favorite recipe sites, going through my freezer inventory and putting the two together to plan my family's menu for the next month. I'm not OCD enough to do this all the time, but I certainly find that mealtime much more organized when I do.

With very few exceptions, our meals are entrely gluten-free, even though I am the only one with claims to a gluten intolerence. It just makes it easier to cook, and keep a "clean" kitchen.

Anyone else due menues in advance? If so how far in advance do you make them?

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When my husband is here I usually do about 2 weeks ahead. With him deployed and being pregnant I am MUCH more flexible than I usually am...for instance, today the baby wanted spaghetti so we made that and we'll do pizza tomorrow with the leftover sauce. Aside from that I'm not sure what to make.

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I just spent this afternoon on my favorite recipe sites, going through my freezer inventory and putting the two together to plan my family's menu for the next month. I'm not OCD enough to do this all the time, but I certainly find that mealtime much more organized when I do.

With very few exceptions, our meals are entrely gluten-free, even though I am the only one with claims to a gluten intolerence. It just makes it easier to cook, and keep a "clean" kitchen.

Anyone else due menues in advance? If so how far in advance do you make them?

Hi aerean,

It's great that you are so proactive & prepared! I could learn from you.

I've been planning meals about a week in advance. I couldn't do a month in advance because I've been trying to use lots of fresh & therefore perishable foods. Plus, I don't have the freezer space to store the fresh stuff.

Sounds to me like you're doing an excellent job!

Pondy

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I plan,shop and cook for a week at a time

I dont have time during the week to cook so on the weekends I shop ( think sale ads) and cook for the week.I put it into individual containers and put them in the freezer so all I need to do is heat them up .

I love my crock pot and roaster .I keep them going all weekend :D

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I have tried meal planning and it usually doesn't work out for me to plan specific things for a specific night. I have too much waste or if I plan on leftovers I don't end up having enough. Instead I just buy staples that I know I can use to make meals (chicken, beef, fish and in season produce mostly). Then I look at what is on sale or a good deal with coupons each week and plan meals based off of my staples and the sales. This is most efficient and economical for me. Instead of planning specific things for specific nights I make a list of about 5 meals I can make with what I have on hand. Then I decide each day what I am going to make for that day from that list and based off of what leftovers I have/what fresh stuff needs to be used up. Sometimes I will plan the night before if I have to pull something from the freezer, but usually I decide the same day. Some nights we will eat leftovers just to eat them up and I don't need to make something completely new (and if I bought those ingredients and they are not shelf stable they go bad). Another reasoning for my flexible meal plannings is that I like to cook, but I hate the clean up involved in coooking from scratch. It really wears on me to clean up several big pots and pans for every single meal so I like to plan enough leftovers I only have to cook 2-3 complicated meals per week and the rest are fast and simple meals or leftovers.

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I actually plan a day in advance. To go grocery shopping I buy all the basic ingredients that I know I will want to use and have a bunch of different meat packaged in single servings in my freezer. That way I take advantage of whatever meat is on sale and buy about 10 meals worth at a time.

I have a 2 hour commute every day for work so during the week I plan things I can throw in my crock pot (love it!) and I make enough for dinner that I have lunch for the next day. Weekends are a little more flexible.

The planning thing I sorta resist because I feel like so much of my spontaneity has been taken in the area of food so I just let my taste buds run wild for the next day. But then, that's easy to do when you're single. I'm the oldest of 12 kids so when I lived at home we planned a lot. :)

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Sometimes 3 minutes. Sometimes a week. Earlier, for tonight I thought I would make pasta. But everyone snacked all afternoon in the school vans on the way home and aren't hungry. This happens to me a lot. I give up! I surrender! I will only plan for myself! The rest of you - Fend for yourself & keep your hands off my gluten-free pizza crusts and vanilla cookies!

Thank you for your courteous attention to my rant. :o

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I'm a planner in a big way. I usually plan a week or more in advance. BUT if I am shopping and see some lovely fresh plump lemongrass or blood oranges or other yummy ingredients I am flexible enough to change plans rather abruptly. Ingredients inspire me. :)

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It varies-- some weeks I plan nothing but just live off the freezer and dry goods. Other weeks I'll actively plan out three or four meals. My default is to see what looks good at the farmer's market or what's on sale at the grocery store, buy a reasonable amount, and then decide. I'm single, so usually when I cook, I have leftovers for a day or two.

The exception to that rule is most weeks I make up a pot of soup or a casserole of some sort for lunches all week on Sunday or Monday night.

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Right now I plan my meals out a week at a time. I do the bulk of the shopping on Sunday, picking up what else I might need throughout the week.

This works for me because it is just my daughter and I home. She has to pack meals for the dance studio at least twice a week. So I have to make sure I have food for her then.

When my husband is home, we got through a LOT more food. I have to buy things I wouldn't normally buy. I have to make sure I have some food for him before he gets home. So then I can buy things sooner.

When my daughter doesn't have such a rigid schedule as she does now, I don't worry so much about planning out the meals.

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I'm a planner in a big way. I usually plan a week or more in advance. BUT if I am shopping and see some lovely fresh plump lemongrass or blood oranges or other yummy ingredients I am flexible enough to change plans rather abruptly. Ingredients inspire me. :)

what the heck do you do with lemongrass? :blink::lol::lol::lol:

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I don't actually plan menus, but I do plan dishes that I want to make and make sure I have all the ingredients. I have a big freezer, so do either a weekly or two-weekly shop because my shops are a ways away (especially these days :P - have lost all my usual shopping places due to the quake).. I usually only make up my menu a day before or on the day because I like to keep some spontaneity in life, depending on how hungry we are and what we feel like eating. Obviously, this does not apply if I'm defrosting a turkey :P

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I live in an apartment with a very small fridge/freezer. A weeks worth would never fit in it. I usually cook for 24-48 hours. That's all the space I have for my food and regular items. I don't have much space for my gluten-free dishes as well. It makes for a lot of cooking time and dish washing time.

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what the heck do you do with lemongrass? :blink::lol::lol::lol:

Lots 'n lots! :) For example:

- lemongrass simple syrup (as a drizzle for cake, to mix in lemonade or as glaze on pork/fish/seafood/chicken)

- it is ubiquitous in Thai curries with coconut milk, etc. This is what I use it for most often.

- vinaigrettes

- marinades

I love it! It is underused for such an inexpensive treat (all of 25 cents for a few stalks).

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I tend to wing it a lot...but then I live alone. That is, unless I need to take a roast out of the freezer and then I kinda plan ahead. I also keep a stash of homemade soups, chili, etc. in the freezer for when I absolutely don't feel like cooking. Like tonight!!! :P

When I had a family at home, I did a lot more planning than I do now. I also had a large freezer, which I've since given to my son and DIL as they can put it to better use than I can.

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I plan .... usually 30 minutes ahead.

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I spent a few weekends developing a menu plan for the next week, and shopping accordingly.

Then I just flat out didn't want what my menu said I was supposed to have that day (even though I picked all foods I like or love for my menus).

I stopped trying to plan menus and have been happier by buying things on sale when I go to the grocery store. It just seemed (to me) like I had so many new rules that I couldn't deal with more restrictions. I try to focus on what I can have vs. what I can't have, and when I'd look at the menu, it was more about what I couldn't have than "This is the sensible thing that you planned for tonight". Sometimes it's great just to wing it, or to look up new recipes.

But if you like order and feel better from planning, menu prearation can be a wonderful thing for you.

I think it really pays to pre-plan for breakfasts! Wishing you good health,

m

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I plan,shop and cook for a week at a time

I dont have time during the week to cook so on the weekends I shop ( think sale ads) and cook for the week.I put it into individual containers and put them in the freezer so all I need to do is heat them up .

I love my crock pot and roaster .I keep them going all weekend :D

This exactly, except for the roaster part.

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