Monday, March 26, 2012

I suck at meal planning.

Matt and I are trying to make more of an effort to eat at home this month — our fast food expenses have stacked up high and fast recently! I usually try to make a few dinners at home per week, with enough left over to take for lunch the next day.

This has not worked as well as I thought. I try to make dinner on nights when we'll both be home for dinner. Thursdays are always Crock Pot nights because we're both home for dinner at different times, and that way I can just leave it on "Keep Warm" and we both get a hot dinner. But inevitably, no matter how well I plan, we either end up with not enough food to take for lunches, or SO MUCH LEFT OVER that I worry it'll all go bad before we can consume it.

Weekly meal plan. I usually write if they come out of a cookbook or my bookmarks too, so I can keep track.

For example, this was my best-laid weekend dinner plan:

• Lenten Fridays are still in action, so I made Tuna and White Bean Wraps. They made wayyyy more food than I thought they would. We ate them for lunch every day over the weekend, plus dinner for Friday, and we still have leftover tuna.

• I knew I wanted to freeze some food for later weeks when I accidentally make too little food, so on Saturday I made a Crock full of Chicken Chili. After we had dinner, I froze the bulk of the leftovers, but kept a few tupperwares out for lunches.

• Sunday night, I made Chicken Florentine. It was a casserole dish-sized amount of food. I froze a good chunk of it so we can have it for dinner another night, saving a few tupperwares for lunch. But oh no, in order to make it, I bought a rotisserie chicken. So now I also have about 3/4 of a whole chicken left in the fridge.

Matt's parents have a three-day rule on leftovers — if it's more than three days old, you can't guarantee it's still good. On the other hand, my dad always figured if it didn't smell bad or look gross (his standards for the latter are lower than mine), then it was still fine. I'm really paranoid, so I usually follow the three-day rule just to be safe.

Which means we have a heck of a lot of stuff to eat in the next three days.

Have you figured out how to balance too little vs. too much? I need some help! How do you meal plan? And how do you figure out what freezes well and what doesn't?


  1. I Suck at this, too! Our fridge is full of stuff that was *cough*leftoverfromatleastaweekago*cough* and although I can't bring myself to eat it, I can't bring myself to toss it either. Garrrrh! So I feel ya, hunny.

    1. Exactly! If I know it's a week old, it doesn't matter if it looks fine, I can't bring myself to eat it...

  2. Yes, this is extremely hard to conquer. I am soo bad at it. I try to go through my coupons and cookbooks to determine what to cook, but I always end up cooking lots on weeks we are barely home to eat. I am so off balance as well. There are websites that will plan you weeks menu for you and make sure you use all of your ingredients, but that is too much food for us. And I am not a big fan of leftovers. I am still working to find the balance.

  3. I'm awful at managing leftovers! I usually just make way too much of everything, and while we eat a good deal of it, I have to admit we throw out more leftovers that I would like. This is definitely something that I'm working on!!

  4. I try, but still don't have the hang of it. Sometimes it's too much and I feel bad that we don't eat the leftovers quick enough (and end up throwing some out). Other times, there's only enough left overs for one and I always try to be the nice wife and let my husband have it after a late night at work.

  5. We try to keep our freezer as stocked as possible, sometimes even making a whole pot of food just to freeze, not even to eat a portion of that day. We do both go through weeks where we spend 12+ hours at work and eat both lunch and dinner there though, and I can only go to the pita place next door so often.

    For freezing - I don't freeze anything with dairy (cheese is ok though) or eggs when they're poached/fried/boiled (eggs as ingredients in muffins and such are fine though). Lasagne and chili are good freezer staples for us. Soup too.