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How do you plan meals?

I don't mind cooking - I tend to like it once I start. But I'm terrible at "coming up with" ideas. I look at a full cupboard and fridge and would rather do Hamburger Helper, just because it's a meal just needing to be put together. How do you decide what to make? How do you motivate yourself to make good, healthy meals for you and your family? What are your favorite "tricks of the trade"? Help!

 
Reenieredhead

Asked by Reenieredhead at 11:47 PM on Oct. 11, 2010 in Food & Drink

Level 18 (5,701 Credits)
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Answers (6)
  • I use e-mealz: http://www.e-mealz.com  It costs $15 for 3 months, but to me it's worth it.  You get a week's worth of dinner recipes, and a shopping list organized by aisle, it makes shopping quick, and the recipes are simple and delicious =)

    dedicatedrider

    Answer by dedicatedrider at 11:59 PM on Oct. 11, 2010

  • I never plan meals... When it's time for a meal, I go see what we have and wing it... If I try to plan I usually just end up winging it anyways because when it's time to cook I don't want what I planned...
    SabrinaMBowen

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 11:49 PM on Oct. 11, 2010

  • With me it just depends. In summer I dont plan so well as I do in Fall and winter. In the cooler months I plan ahead and use the crock pot, or buy roasts for when Im home all day to cook. Sometimes I freeze stuff thats on sale. I have in my freezer right now, whole chicken breasts, 2 lbs of hamburger, 1lb of carne asada, pork loin chops. I wait for the sale and I freeze. then I will take them out and let whatever it is dethaw in the fridge for a day or two depending ,,other times, I will walk into that grocery store after work,,without a clue. And come up with something pretty impressive to two hungry kiddos,,lol
    beyondhopes

    Answer by beyondhopes at 12:19 AM on Oct. 12, 2010

  • I do the same as beyound hopes. I buy meat when it is on sale and freeze it.
    I keep stock of potatoes, rice, pasta, veggies and salad fixing.

    In the morning I look in the freezer and pull something out. When I am on a role I will freeze some meats with marinade in the bag so it marinades as it defrosts. Then I don't have to think later.
    Say I take out teriyaki steak... the I would pull the rice and veggies to make a stir fry.

    My tip is to plan ahead and prep when you have time. I make a big salad on Sunday then we can eat it a couple of times during the week. If I prep in advance then I am more likely to make healthy food. I will make extra stews and spaghetti sause and freeze it so on days when I am tired or running late I can just take out something that will take very little time to heat and serve.
    Niki_sd

    Answer by Niki_sd at 12:39 AM on Oct. 12, 2010

  • Waiting until 5 p.m. or "the day of" to decide on dinner drove me nuts. I finally sat down and wrote down every dinner idea I could think of that my family enjoys and came up with a list of almost 50 meals (has now grown to over 60). From that list, I pick however many meals that I'm planning for, write them down with their ingredients, and make my shopping list from that. I assign a meal to each day and then post each week's menu on the fridge. It saves me a lot of stress and frustration, not to mention the family enjoys knowing what is for dinner each day.
    michiganmom116

    Answer by michiganmom116 at 10:39 AM on Oct. 12, 2010

  • I kinda make more than needed. Say I'm feeling BLTs, we will have breakfast burritos for breakfast. I freeze leftovers. Then the extra bacon to make BLT for dinner. As it doesn't take that much bacon to make a pan of birrito stuff. If we have hamburgers for dinner I use the extra fixns for salad or a fritatta on the weekend. I will take out meat from the freezer and think of 2 meals. Then another kind of meat for the next day. Mon chicken something.tues porkchop whatever, wed chicken dish. Take out another pk of meat from freezer.thurs. Pork stuff, fri beef dinner. Sat since all the kids are home is raid the fridge and eat leftovers for lunch and dinner. O try to make 2 dinners per pack of meat which sometimes is hard since there's 6 of us. We hardly ever have meat and vegi seperate. Lol
    stepho345

    Answer by stepho345 at 1:00 AM on Oct. 12, 2010

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