Saturday, January 10, 2015

What is in a Plan?

Hi friends,

I mentioned the other day that I was going to try meal planning. Here is my first attempt.

Some people seem to have a knack for meal planning but I'm not one of them. I will see how it goes this week with the plan. One thing that I can see will be a benefit of  a plan is that the grocery shopping list will come together more quickly in the sense of you know what you will need to buy. What I'm not sure about is how much I can take advantage of sales.  The other benefit to a plan is though you need some time to prepare it, you don't have to do much thinking during the rest of the week as your plan will guide you.

If I continue with meal planning I will need to synch my plan with sales flyers in future. I'm not sure how this will work in terms of timing and scheduling to 1) shop the flyers 2) make the meal plan and 3) draft a list of things to buy. All this is something I will need to learn as I go. Sounds silly after shopping, planning and cooking on the fly all these years.

Really what I'm attempting to do is streamline things but I am not the type that likes to write everything down every day. I guess the beauty of a weekly plan is you create it once a week and after awhile you have a repertoire that you simply repeat and shift around. Also, within the plan you can switch the menu between days as long as you have your ingredients on hand.  But this approach is vastly different from my usual approach which is to shop the sales and create meals around that. I just find this approach isn't working quite as well as it used to because a lot of things that used to be on sale are much more expensive now. A different approach is needed. Also when I see meals for a few days or a week ahead, I can try to balance things out a bit more in terms of getting good nutrition.

In the past (and hopefully into the future) I purchase a roast or two and try and portion it out for different meals in a given week.  I don't necessarily have a lot of left overs as I might cut the roast in two or three parts and use some for a roast, for a stew and for stir fry, etc.  All this is probably old news to those of you who already do meal planning.

Right now I don't have any roasts in my small freezer but I do have a turkey so that features in several meals this week. It's a smallish turkey so it may not stretch quite as far but I'll find out. My freezer size and space limitations also mean I cannot stock pile meat when it is on sale like many people seem to do. For that matter, I can't make meals ahead and freeze them.

Meal Plan  

Breakfast – Whole Wheat Toast, 1 slice plain + 1 slice w/jam; coffee
Lunch –n/a  
Dinner – Roast Chicken Thighs/Legs; Baked Brown Rice with Celery & Onion

Snacks – Mixed nuts, 2 chocolate pieces

Breakfast – Lemon-Cranberry Muffin, Coffee
Lunch –n/a
Dinner – Stir Fry of Kohlbassa Sausage/Apple/Savoy Cabbage; Baked Barley w/Onion Soup Mix, Kale/Carrot/Raisin salad
Late snack - sandwich with left over meat

Saturday Breakfast – Lemon-Cranberry Muffin
Lunch at friend’s – surprise meal but likely vegetarian
Dinner – Baked Lamb w/mushrooms, onion, small potatoes, braised green beans, romaine lettuce/tomato/feta salad
Snacks – yogurt w/banana

Breakfast – Hot Cereal with nuts & goji berries, coffee
Snack (My contribution to Church Fellowship) – Smoked Black Bean Dip w/tortilla chips and/or baked pita chips
Lunch – 2 Boiled Eggs; tossed green salad
Dinner - Roast Turkey & Stuffing; Green Salad, Sweet potatoe

Breakfast – 2 poached eggs, few spoons of yogurt w/flax, coffee
Lunch – Turkey Salad Sandwich (cold), tossed salad
Dinner – Penne Pasta with stir fry vegetables (onion, garlic, carrots, mixed peppers, eggplant)

Breakfast – Muffins (cranberry & Nut), coffee
Lunch – Potato Leek Soup, pears
Dinner – Turkey Salad or Hot Turkey Sandwich & Sweet Potato, tomatoes/English cucumber

Wednesday Breakfast – Hot cereal with nuts/goji berry, apple, coffee
Lunch – Leftover soup/s, carrot & celery sticks with peanut butter
Dinner - Quinoa casserole

Breakfast – Hot cereal with nuts/goji berry, apple, coffee
Lunch – Tuna salad with fruit or Corn Chowder
Dinner – Grilled Steak, mushrooms, brown rice with green beans

Breakfast – Hot cereal with nuts/goji berry, fruit, coffee
Lunch – Veggie soup or soup made with leftovers, fruit, yogurt
Dinner – Basa Fish Fillets, mixed vegetables steamed, apple crumble ?

Snacks – apples, bananas, smoothies, muffins, nuts, yogurt

Notes:  After I sit back and see my plan I can see I have too many carbs. This is my usual issue. I will either turn my sandwiches into salads only, substitute a lettuce leaf for a slice of bread or use sandwich filling on one slice of bread only. Goji berries are a wonderful berry that has many health benefits and help with strength and longevity.  But you need to be careful as with all things natural there are potential side effects. If you take blood thinners, have dangerously low blood sugar readings or have blood sugar issues you should do more research and speak to your health care provider before using goji berries.

Bon Appetit!


  1. Sounds like a great menu! We try to stick to a budget and planning the meals around purchases helps us to stick to a budget..Good luck with your goals.. Have a happy weekend!

  2. Good Saturday morning Joyful! I really like this meal planning idea. You have hit on something here that reminds me of my "good ol' days". And that would be back when I was teaching high school. Our school ... the whole District, actually ... had a "monthly menu" of meals that they rotated around. Way, way back I could say ... If it's Pizza, it's Tuesday. :-) But then they got a new manager and things were different as the weeks rolled by. I do think I remember one of the cooks telling me that the monthly plan was essential for economic reasons. So I think you are on to something here that has multiple benefits. Always enjoy your blog. Have a fine weekend! John

  3. Great menu planning, Penny. You are so organized, I drool at the boiled or poached eggs on your menu; I don 't eat eggs here in Tz but when I get home, I boil two large brown eggs for my first supper and enjoy them immensely. Blessings, Jo

  4. Your meal plans looks great!
    My downfall is carbs and I am trying to limit them more as I would like to lose 5 pounds.

  5. Your menu looks delicious! I find when I make menus two weeks in advance that I don't spend as much at the grocery store. When I don't make menus it seems like I am constantly going back to the grocery store to buy the needed ingredients which seems to take extra time, fuel, and money.

    Hugs to you!

  6. After reading your menu plan, I realize how boring mine would seem to you! I hope it works out well for you. Bon appetit!


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