Sunday, September 11, 2005

Cooking and meal planning

Before moving here I would daydream endlessly about all the lovely meals I would cook and how I would experiment in the kitchen.

I still plan to do that, but once we are more settled and I get more of my kitchen gear. In the meantime, I never realized how difficult it is to do meal planning! Cooking is the easy part -- it's deciding what to eat and then going and acquiring the ingredients that's the more difficult part. And I plan two meals a day, lunch and dinner. Breakfast is nonexistant for Golf and for me it's always fruit and yogurt, a no brainer.

But I end up going to the grocery store every day to get the things I need to make something that day and I neglect what I intend to prepare the next day, so another trip is in order. Any suggestions from any at home chefs out there? Maybe it's something that will work itsself out over time. I hope so because the daily trips aren't economical, even if I walk because I end up buying more than I need sometimes.


Running2Ks said...

As for baking, I'm in love with my new, flexible, silicone bakeware. Takes up litle space, easy cleanup, no more greasing and flouring.

Jyotsna said...

Keep these things on hand at all times:

rice, pasta, bulk hummus powder, flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper, italian herbs, other spices, yeast for baking, eggs, baking soda and baking powder, canola oil, sugar, dried beans/legumes, dried onions.

Good luck!

Darshani said...

Go up and down the aisles and find what's on sale. Build a meal around it. You can usually find a few things to build meals on in one trip to the store. For lunch we have dinner leftovers or I make sandwiches or mac and cheese. Once a week I make "clean out the fridge stew" with any leftover veggies in the fridge, adding bullion cubes and seasoning and some boca sausage.

Mel said...

Aim, it takes a while to get your pantry built up, especially with the herbs and spices whose potentcy does wane after a while. Over time you'll get to know the consumption rythms of your family and learn what you need to keep stocked. Also, I have found in the summertime with all the farmers markets, we buy what looks good and come up with the recipes after the fact. Maybe it's easier sometimes to get creative when you have all of your tools/ingredients around you all at once. When buying produce, be careful not to buy too much at once lest it rot. When we have vegetables on their way out, hubby likes to make a stock out of it and freeze it (but not every single time). Be sure to keep a few "easy meals" on hand, frozen or not, out of compassion for your new life! Set yourself up for enjoyment in the kitchen, as it is the most precious room in the house. :)

Amy said...

Thank you for all your help! It does take awhile to stock up on everything, especially items that aren't used often.

Danna said...

I know exactly how you feel!! With a very small kitchen that lacks space and storage, it makes meal planning VERY hard!! What I learned from my Grandmother was cook big on Sunday. Something big, that will give you left overs for a few days. Like bake a chicken, a pot roast or a turkey. You can make salads, sandwiches, enchiladas, tacos... you name it! But it will give you a couple of meals. I will go through my cookbooks to find recipes for cook once, eat twice types of dishes. I have to admit most of them are Weight Watchers because that's what I mostly have.

Other than that, I look through my cookbooks, and find things that I like, and write down my shopping list from there. I go through it with my husband, so he can pick out things he likes to. It's easy to get into a cooking rut, and he really likes to be a part of the planning too.No more, "Are we having that AGAIN?!" kind of comments!Also that kind of planning gives me an idea what I'm going to make during the week. Another resource is my husband works at Safeway, and they publish a quarterly magizine that has fast plan meal ideas for the seasons. I love it because it has a tear out shopping list already for you. How much easier is that!?

Darshani said...

Lookie what I found today!

It's free!

amygeekgrl said...

Ah yes, I remember when Jody and I first got a place together - it took a long time to get all of our staples. I always like to have some frozen ravioli or tortellini on hand, as well as spaghetti sauce, rice, beans, tofu, frozen chicken, box mixes of couscous and other things.
I like Darshani's idea of buying whatever's on sale. I do a lot of that myself as well.
This summer we have had lots of fresh veggies from the community garden we're doing with friends. That has been awesome. :)
It will take time to get the meal planning down, but you will do it. :)

Jyotsna said...


I hate to even admit it, but when Lakshmi was a newborn baby, I recall sending Chandra out for Bisquick, something I never thought I would use, since I always cooked beautiful meals. But it was either nurse Lakshmi, or cook when she was little, and I prefered to nurse her!

I have one of those bisquick recipe books (easy to find at check out lines) and I use it from time to time when I am in a pinch for time, or in a pinch for thoughtful ideas on what to cook.

Also, I use the internet for recipe searching probably 3 times a week.

If you don't want to succumb to Bisquick buying, you can make your own bisquick and keep it in a sealed container. Nobody will ever know!! ; )


Amy said...

Danna, that's great advice -- I do sometimes try to make more at dinner to have leftovers for lunch the next day.

Thank you for the link, Darshani. I've got the site bookmarked already! It looks like it will be a big help.

Good idea on the bisquick, Jyotsna, thanks.

Amy, slowly but surely we'll get our staples set up. I may get some organic items at the natural food store too.