For many years I have meal planned Sunday night or Monday for the week. I would try to think of meals to cook and then shop around those meals and ideas. But a complete game changer came when I started following Jordan Page, and she talked about Shelf Cooking. My mind was blown! Such a simple concept and I felt like I was hit with a dumb stick! I was annoyed that I really hadn’t thought of it before LOL.. I mean yes I would at times see what I have and make a meal out of what I had or substitute items if I didn’t have what I needed. But to actually plan meals around what I already had? No I never did that. And what a game changer and cost saver.
So this is the idea of it- Go thru you freezer and your pantry and of course your fridge. And come up with meals for that week with what you already have! So for example you have lots of rice, some canned or fresh veggies, and you have chicken breast – There you go! you have a chicken and rice dish with a side. Most of us keep canned soup and staple items in your pantry . So use them, don’t create a meal plan of dinners and then go out and shop for them when you have lots of stuff already in your home ready to create wonderful meals! We can all use ways to save money and not waste! This keeps me on schedule I either meal plan Sunday or Monday and I look at what I have and then create my meals for the week. If I need a few things from the store , then that is fine I can make a pick up order or run in. It saves me so much time in the way that I am not running to the store multiple times a week. Well for one that just isn’t safe or a good idea right now with the covid pandemic going on, but that also cost so much more. If you can go one time a week, or even doing shopping online and pick up so you don’t walk around and pick up more things than you need, will save so much money.
When you make a meal plan you can make sure you have everything you need for that week and make your list of anything you need to help support that. And when we are going thru our freezer and pantry and using what we have rather than buying more, there is such a less amount wasted when it comes time to purge bad food. I am also being so much more creative with what I am making and using. I have also found some great Apps that give you the option to put in things you have on hand and then they give you receipts to use with those items. Allrecipes is a great one and I use that all the time!!
Something that I have come out with in this quarantine is being so much better about waste and being creative. And I am so grateful for that, I love that I am saving money and I am not wasting food which I did way to much in the past. I really love to try new recipes and or create recipes, and this shelf cooking lets me do that. I also like to have my staple items in my pantry to help me do that. Staple items differ from person to person and house holds. So come up with what your staple items are ( rice, noodles, canned veggies, broths etc.) and have those items always in your home. I hope this gives you some great ideas and ways for you to meal plan for your family!