Sunday nights find me nestled between stacks of my favorite cooking magazines and books. Pen and paper ready I delve through to find that just so perfect dish to try. Some weeks I’m ambitious and try out a new recipe for every meal. Other weeks find me a bit more conservative and only one new recipe finds its way into the plan. This week because I’m on vacation from the art center (where I’m a curator), I’m going for broke. New recipes abound, just one classic favorite – potatoes and sauerkraut with polish sausage.
I’ve also been working vegetarian meals back into the mix. Because we get a half hog and a quarter cow each fall, it’s really easy to eat A LOT of good (grass fed organic local yum yum healthy healthy happy animal thank you for your feeding me) meat. We need to eat more veggies.
How do I meal plan?
I usually just plan out 4-5 meals depending on the leftover capacity of each one. Some meals will yield no leftovers, others we can eat for 3 days! Like the amazing Smokey White Chili from 125 Best Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes. I do follow a general formula, which for me has been working really well since before the new year. I’m on week 10 of only eating out once a week by doing this.
Formula for Meal Plan Success
- One Crock-pot meal
- One Fancy meal
- One Easy meal
- One meal Jason likes to cook
- One Random meal
- Lunch foods
- Breakfast foods
My go-to cookbooks
My go-to recipe websites
And then of course just google-ing whatever recipe idea I have and loving whatever website I come across – which is how I originally found Chow. This pot sticker recipe is to die for, I now make the recipe in a x4 batch and freeze them. Some nights we seriously just gorge on pot stickers.
I use google drive to keep track of recipes I’ve tried and which ones I love and others that fall short. And if I love a recipe, I’ll save it as a pdf and upload it to my “recipe” folder to use later. Or I’ll copy it into a word document so I can make notes about any changes/subs I did and how we liked it, what its yield was, if the leftovers were gobbled up, that kind of thing.
I used to not enjoy meal planning, it felt like “work”. Now I love it. Nestled with cookbooks, some tea, a cat. What could be better?
This week’s plan
- Udon Noodle Mushroom Soup with Kale from the Veganomicon
- Sauerkraut, Potatoes, and Sausage recipe here
- Filet Mignon With Mustard Sauce on Epicurious – we’ll eat it with baked yams and wilted kale since we have kale from the soup
- Salmon Packets with Tomatoes, Olives, Garlic, Thyme, and Saffron – this will go with some quinoa and roasted brussel sprouts (Veganomicon has the BEST way to cook brussel sprouts).
- Lighter Chicken Enchiladas from Martha Stewart Everyday Foods (recipe online now, awesome!) – we eat these with zatarain’s spanish rice, some lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream. And okay, so this is another repeat recipe because it’s so stinking good, but it is time intensive.
So that’s how I decide what foods to eat each week. How about you? Do you meal plan? If you do, what’s your process? What’s your go to cookbook or recipe website? What about your go to comfort dish?
Until next time!