So you went to the grocery store. Spent a crapload of money . . . Now what? Or maybe you haven’t gone yet because you don’t know what to buy. Well I hope to answer some of those questions here with a little bit of meal planning.
Yes, we are into our second week of the coronavirus craze. Last week around Wednesday, I decided to go to the grocery store. I went to Albertsons and they were almost out of toilet paper. There might have been 7 packs left and, lucky for me, it was the 1 ply. Now, that is what I always buy — 1 or 2 ply — because the home I live in has old pipes. I find I have less problems when I buy the toilet paper that has less layers and then there is the added bonus, it usually lasts longer. I bought a lot of stuff. Like a lot!!
I have a secret. I actually like to cook. But the hard truth is I don’t like cleaning up or doing dishes. I stopped doing a lot of cooking because I felt like I wasn’t getting as much done as I could get done. I would work all day, get a little freelancing done and then start cooking. My husband would get home when I was done or almost done with dinner and then we would eat. I still had to clean. So that’s like an hour or more where I could get some extra quilting done. My husband does do dishes I do want to make that clear. He doesn’t expect me to cook. This that makes it easy for me to grown me into a habit where I cook about one time a week. Well, let’s just say this has taken a huge turn in the last week. I know I’m probably not the only one out there looking for meal planning ideas, so I thought I would share what I bought and what I will make with it. Then I thought you deserved a fun little gift, so I designed a Meal Planning downloadable sheet.
This is what I bought at the store:
Cheese (lots of cheese)
Salad (pre-made pack)
Guacamole (pre-made pack)
Steaks (short ribs flanken style)
Boneless Pork Ribs
Pulled Pork (pre-made pack)
Rotisserie Chicken (already cooked)
Hot Dog Buns
Dried Pasta (my favorite is made out of chickpeas)
Frozen Rolled Tacos
Frozen Hamburger Patties
Canned Spaghetti Sauce (large)
Canned Hormel Chili Beans & Meat
Canned Cream of Chicken
Tomato Soup (boxed type)
Doritos & Tortilla Chips (Doritos are my weakness)
Dried Banana Slices
Face Cleaning Towelettes (because there weren’t any bleach wipes)
When I got home from the store, I wrote down all of the meals I could make with the things I bought and the things I had on hand. I think this is really important. That way five days from now when I can’t think of anything to make, I can look at my list, scratch out what I have made and figure out what I haven’t used yet. Keeping me as efficient as I can be. In the spur of the moment, I used a piece of scrap paper, but I designed a cute download for you to use. Click here and print your free Meal Planning download out.
When you are shopping for a few weeks at one time this is what you should do. I learned this the hard way. It is easy to buy a lot with the intention of using it; but when it comes time to cook, many times I don’t feel like it, creating waste. Buying too much, not using it, and having to throw it away. There needs to be some sort of reasoning about what you can actually eat before it goes bad. Meal planning. That means there needs to be a good amount of items that can go in your pantry, in your fridge, and in your freezer. Also you should have a variety of options. For example, you are not going to want to eat PB and J for two or three weeks, three times a day.
My logic around meal planning is that I want easy, tasty meals with a few elaborate options as well.
Meal 1 Chicken Burritos – Use large chunks of chicken, whole wheat tortillas, grated cheese, chopped onions, tomatoes, and guacamole
Meal 2 Chicken Tostadas – Shred chicken, corn flat shell, grated cheese, chopped onions, tomatoes, and guacamole
Meal 3 Broth – When your chicken is just bones, put in a large pot with water and boil (Here is a link). I didn’t add any seasoning but the rotisserie chicken I bought has a rosemary flavor. I froze it so I would have a good base for a soup in a week or two. When I make the soup I will add all the extras.
Tip for Guacamole – You can actually keep guacamole longer than a day if you cover it with saran wrap. But you’ve got to push it down so there are no air bubbles. Another way you can do it is to squeeze a lemon on the top of the guacamole, covering it with a thin layer of lemon juice. This will prevent it from getting brown.
Meal 1 Basic Hot Dog – with cheese (because cheese makes everything better) and ketchup.
Meal 2 Hot Dog w/ a Little Extra – the basic hot dog with Hormel chili beans & meat, chopped up onions and tomatoes for some veggies.
Grilled Steak Short Ribs
Meal 1 Grilled – Marinade the steaks in a large plastic bag for a day before you grill them. I use a Brazilian mix. My dad makes the best steaks. He heats the grill before he puts the steaks on the grill. Then he puts them on the grill and sets a timer for 6 minutes. Then flips them and sets a timer for another 6 minutes. At this point, cut into it to make sure it is cooked to your preference in the center.
Meal 2 Steak Quesadillas – Cut up the steak into small pieces to be used in a quesadilla.
Meal 3 Steak Salad – Cut up the steak into small pieces to be used in a salad.
Oatmeal (old fashioned and quick)
Meal 1 Oatmeal – I make mine in the microwave. I use a 1 to 3 ratio. One 1/3 oatmeal to one cup of milk. I add so many things to make it absolutely delicious. Lots of cinnamon is a must because it is good for you. Dried blueberries are great for your mind, but dried cranberries are a less expensive and good option. Dried shredded coconut, pecans or walnuts, and cooked quinoa. To sweeten it, I use two Splendas because the dried fruit and coconut sweeten the mix naturally. Soooo good! I cook it until it starts to boil, and it will boil over so stay close and watch it.
Meal 2 Pancakes – There are some great whole wheat recipes out there that have oatmeal in the ingredients.
Boneless pork ribs
Meal 1 Pork – I crush and chop up garlic and put that with the butter into my pan. I place the pork on top of the garlic and then season the top of the pork with Mrs. Dash Salt-Free Seasoning. Cook it for 3 minutes, then turn it over and season the other side. Set the timer for 6 minutes. Then turn it to an uncooked side. (The boneless ribs have 4 sides.) Repeat until you think it is done. At this point, cut into it to make sure it is cooked to your preference in the center.
Meal 2 Pork Quesadilla – Cut up the pork into small pieces to be used in a quesadilla.
Meal 3 Pork Salad – Cut up the pork into small pieces to be used in a salad.
Meal 1 Scramble – Eggs and bacon scramble
Meal 2 Side of Bacon – Pancakes and bacon on the side
Meal 3 Grilled Cheese – Grilled cheese with bacon inside; a great side with this is tomato soup
Meal 1 Pulled Pork Bowl – Cook the sweet potatoes with onions, garlic, and seasonings. Cook until the potatoes are tender and done, then place in a bowl. Heat the pre-made pulled pork to the directions on the package. Have spinach in a bowl. Cook eggs over easy, I like the yellow slightly runny but all the white cooked. And cheese. In a bowl, layer the sweet potatoes first, spinach next, pulled pork, and then the egg and cheese on top. You can add extra bbq sauces if you would like.
Meal 2 Picadillo Burritos – Cook the sweet potatoes with onions, garlic and seasonings. Cook until the potatoes are tender and done, then place in a bowl. Cook the ground meat with crushed garlic and seasoning like paprika, cumin, garlic, pepper, salt, onion, and red chili. I like to add a little taco seasoning as well. Add green chili. Cook until done, then mix the potatoes back in. Put some in a tortilla with cheese and tomato.
Meal 3 Leftover Picadillo Breakfast – heat picadillo, top with grated cheese, chopped onions and tomatoes, and a cooked egg.
Meal 4 Leftover Picadillo Tostadas – heat picadillo and corn flat shell. Top with grated cheese, chopped onions and tomatoes and guacamole.
Meal 1 Spaghetti – I like to use a canned sauce as my base but then add garlic, onions, red bell peppers and tomatoes to jazz it up a little. I heat the meatball separately and cook the pasta separately. And then add it all together.
Meal 2 Meatball Sub – Use the hot dog bun for a meatball sub. Cut the meatballs in half and add them to the bun. Add a layer of spaghetti sauce. And a layer of cheese.
Meal 1 Bean Burritos – I cook the canned beans with milk so it is slightly runny. I love to add cooked chorizo to the beans for a little extra spice.
Meal 2 Tostada – Corn flat shell, grated cheese, chopped onions and tomatoes and guacamole
Tip – This makes a great side for many dishes. You can use it in a layered dip (7 layered tip)
Cream of Chicken Canned
Meal 1 Soup – I always have cream of chicken in my pantry. It is a great base for a chicken soup. I start with cream of chicken and chicken broth. Add things like garlic, onions, a can of diced tomatoes, shredded chicken, pasta, and fresh squeezed lemon. Cook until everything is cooked through and it boils for a while.
Meal 2 Chilichilles – In a pan, cook onions and garlic with a little olive oil and butter. Add the cream of chicken and some milk and green chili. I like mine hot. Then add tortilla chips and coat. Put it on a plate top with cheese and a cooked egg.
Meal 3 Enchiladas – In a pan, cook onions and garlic with a little olive oil and butter. Add the cream of chicken and some milk and green chili. I like mine hot. Then add tortilla and coat. Put it on a plate. Add cheese and chicken and then add another coated tortilla. Layer 2 to 4 on a plate and cook in the microwave. Put it on a plate top with cheese and a cooked egg.
Sides I love to make
- Couscous with a lot of red bell pepper, onion, and feta cheese. Season to taste.
- Brussel sprouts w/ ginger
- Caprese (tomato slices, mozzarella or jack cheese slices with basil; or in this list’s case, avocado)
- Quinoa with veggies
- Mushroom Orzo
That was a lot of info. Hopefully not TMI (to much information). Well, stay healthy! Wash your hands often! Clean surfaces often! I am sending you a great big virtual hug and some good vibes. If you have any questions on seasonings or what sides I make with meals, just ask. I LOVE talking food. I hope this helps you with Meal Planning. Keep an eye out for my Instagram stories. I am thinking about sharing what I am making.