I used to be the worst at flying by the seat of my pants when it came to cooking meals. When grocery shopping I would just grab what looked good, caught my fancy or I was having a craving for and then try to figure out what to make with it when I got home.
Eldest son was staying with us a while back and suggested that I start menu planning. He’s such a smartie. I think he was secretly dreading mealtimes every day since he never knew what I would throw on the table. I’ve been known to fix PB&J sandwiches for multiple days in a row.
Sad I know.
I always thought it would be a royal pain in the rear to do menu planning but with his help setting up the initial list it was really easy. With me typing and him calling out what we had in the pantry, in the fridge, you get the idea, we recorded the food inventory in no time flat.
Here’s a screenshot of what the pantry list looks like. I set it up in Excel so I can add or delete items easily. On one spreadsheet I have the staples list and on another one I set up the menu planning.
So, here’s what I do. My preference is on Sunday evening I sit down and make up the menu for the week first. That way I can stop at the grocery store on the way home from work Monday afternoon. Out here in boonieville plus being a commuter you learn that everything is bought “on the way home” so as to avoid unnecessary trips.
Sometimes I have an idea of what I want to cook and sometimes if I am trying to use up say the rest of the Thanksgiving turkey I’ll search for turkey recipes online. The photo recipe sites; Foodgawker, Tastespotting, and the like are some of my favorites ‘cause I like looking at the pictures.
Does that sound feeble or what? Anyhoo though, it has turned me on to some great blogs that I probably would not have found otherwise.
Back on track….so I get my menu worked up keeping in mind what I already have on hand or need to use up. If I come across an ingredient I do not have on hand I mark it on my list to BUY or add it to my list.
This week I didn’t have to stop at the store for anything, everything I needed I had on hand! This has really kept me from impulse buying plus I no longer find surprises in my pantry.You cannot imagine the number of times I’ve thought “hmmm, better buy some BBQ sauce in case we grill this weekend” only to find 2 bottles already in the pantry that I forgot about.
We have been fighting possums and weasels all winter over our chickens and lost a few to them, so GC and I visited an animal sale last night. It turned out to be a lovely sunny day and with the sale being about 20 miles away it was a beautiful drive over.
We had never been in the area before but found it easily.
It was on a private farm and is held only once a month. I thought there would be a few locals but it turned out to be standing room only.
There were pigs
Goats, lambs and calves
Oh my, were there ever chickens, and turkeys, and guineas, and rabbits and I don’t know what else.