Thursday, March 18, 2010

Plan meals then shop or shop then plan?

OK, my computer was down all afternoon and is just now reconnected. The boys have their first trac meet in 2 hours and I have to work tonight from 7-11. If I don't post right now, it won't happen. original post was going to be about how I plan meals at my house. I will try to do that tomorrow.

But do you plan your evening meals? Are you the type of person who is frantically running around the house each night trying to figure out what to have for dinner? Are you super organized, having meals planned a month in advance? Does your family eat together? How often? How much do you eat out? How many times a week do you go to the grocery store?

Since there are no good freebies out right now, I'll create my own! For everyone who posts an answer to any or all questions on the blog (anyone can post now),  I will put your name in a drawing for a free autographed copy of my book, Love Blessings and Seatbelts.

You can help me write the next entry....thanks! Post by 5pm Saturday to be in on the drawing. Oh...Harris Teeter is tripling coupons beginning the 24th!


  1. Sometimes I plan in advance--which makes my life a lot easier. Sometimes I am running around frantically wondering what in the world am I making for supper tonight??!!

    I only go grocery shopping once a week and make a list in between as we run out of things or as we think of things that we need.

    We very rarely eat out--which makes it a nice treat when we do. I actually treated us to Chinese food the other night and as always there is enough left over for another complete meal, so we actually get two meals for the price of one!! :)

    We eat together almost every night--sometimes minus my daughter while drama is in progress, but usually it is all of us. We carry the cooked supper to my husband at his job (he works at a Christian radio station from 2-10 pm Mon-Fri). I don't want to be a single Mom, so it is worth the effort and sacrifice to get us together for supper (otherwise the kids wouldn't see their Dad very much during the week--he isn't up when they get on the bus in the morning and they are in bed by the time he comes home at night. Sometimes if they are still awake he sticks his head in and talks to them for a few minutes).

    So, there you have it. I like to be organized, but sometimes I just don't bother which always seems to come back and haunt me!! :)

    Thanks again for you blog--I really enjoy your tips!!


  2. Since I'm single and have a crazy schedule (such is college ministry), I eat on the run a lot. But I do enjoy cooking and one of the highlights of my week is Monday nights - I have some UNCG girls over for dinner and Bible study. For those dinners, I always plan in advance - check out recipes, gather ingredients, hit the grocery store for whatever I don't have on-hand. And as a family of one, I eat all my meals together. ;-)

  3. I try to plan for at least 5 of the 7 nights each week...mind you my plan is loose (like what I thaw for each day, that way I can sort of be flexible depending on what we feel like. Ex: I thaw chicken and then we can grill it, bake it, make chicken parm, etc.) If I am working 12 hours we sometimes eat together when I get home...and other times we don't feel like eating that late so one (or both of us) have leftovers. We usually eat out no more than once a week, and sometimes we play it budget friendly and make pizza instead of ordering or plan pot lucks with friends in place of going out. I LOVE my crock pot...and I love anything that I can make ahead and finish off when I get home...because usually it's at 8:30 pm!!

  4. i always plan ahead. we buy a critter every fall for $2 a pound and have delicious t-bones, porterhouse, sirloin,ribs, stewmeat and 95%lean hamburg all year long. we love our canned vegetables from the garden and since there's only the two of us now, i don't cook much less portion wise, i just freeze more dinners.

  5. I plan a menu every week. I can't imagine going grocery shopping without a "plan". I'd end up wandering aimlessly around the store. We eat together every night. We start without Jeff (and he catches up) because he doesn't get home until 7 and my kiddos are in bed by 7:30-8.

  6. I do plan my meals a week in advance; usually the day of grocery shopping! I don't always plan specifically tonight is chicken pie or tomorrow a roast unless I have somethign very specific I need extra ingredients for. That way if I lay out chicken, I can make anything I am in the mood for using chicken as the base. We grow a garden in the summer, so all of our vegetables, jams, jellies, salsa, potatoes, etc are already in my pantry! I shop one time a week. We eat together every night of the week, but the times varies along with my husband's schedule...typically sometime between 6 & 7 pm Monday thru Friday. The only exception to this is when my husband travels out of town, maybe once or twice a month, or if I have a girls night out planned. On the weekends, we aim to eat out one time. Sticking to this while building a house has proven to stretch our well intended goals though. So, we have been eating out a couple more times, but no more than 2 or 3 a week. However, when 5 people eat out, cha-ching. So, if we eat out, we try to go on a night where kids eat free or at a discounted rate.

  7. Put a plan on paper every week. We actually plan one or two leftover meals. Everyone chooses their favorite leftover out of the fridge. We're not very good at checking the sales before going to the store but that doesn't matter as much when you shop Walmart. We do end up making 2-3 extra stops for something that got forgotten or we've run out of and for those stops we got to Harris Teeter or Food Lion cause they are close. I'll usually look at the major sales they have posted and may pick something up if it is a great deal.

    We tend to eat out when we travel, but also get together with friends over lunch or breakfast. Sometime life gets busy and fast food is the only option. We try to keep this to a minimum. The coupons are great when out of towners are comming and you know you are going out at least once. We also by the Entertainment Guide (school fundraiser) every year and try to remember to use as many coupons as possible.

  8. Wayfarer House plans its dinner menu out by the week, starting on Sunday. Sunday is Community Meal day, and those meals form the cornerstone of what comes the rest of the week. There are often leftovers from Community Meals that get turned into other things. Roast gets used for beef bourgignon, grilled chicken is incorporated into enchiladas. The menu for the week often comes from ideas about what to do with Community Meal extras.

    We plan this way in large part because there is a tight prep window most nights and knowing what's coming allows for, say, the right meat to get defrosted. It also helps those nights when we don't know who's actually going to get home first. There's no confusion about what's supposed to happen that way.

    On Saturdays, dinner is potluck and we make it up on the fly based on how the week went. Did we keep up with the leftovers? Are there extra people coming? What do we need to use up before it goes bad (or to make room for something else to fit in the fridge)?

  9. From an email:

    When I had the crew home I grocery shopped every other week. Went to similar stores that you did only with different names here in Maine and I would end up at Hannaford's for anything I simply could not get a bargain on. On Sunday afternoons, I would cook meals for the week. For example, I might have a chili going in the crock pot, a chicken soup on the stove, and prepping a meatloaf to store in the fridge. I also had the school calendar and the kids' work schedule in front of me to see when I could cook these meals (sitting together as a family has always been real important to me) Thursday nights were usually left over nights, if leftovers weren't your thing a bowl of cereal was always available. One night during the week I also cooked cookies, cakes, or pies for desserts. Consequently, with the exception of Sunday noon dinner - no one night was I slaving away at the stove. I had prepped enough in advance for it to take about 20 minutes to put the meal together and under an hour to have it on the table ready to eat. Another thing we did was also it was a family affair. My husband might prep the veggies, one of the kids would set the table, another one cleaned up and did dishes and so on. Probably not much different than what you do, but there it is. Now I'm all by myself and I don't do any of this. I think I did back then for efficiency sake. Have a great weekend. Gabrielle

  10. I buy a LOT of chicken, esp. chicken breasts, on sale and have my hubby grill pounds at a time. I freeze them in single-dinner amounts, and then we can have quesadillas, chicken salad, soup, or any number of casseroles quickly. We always plan for two dinner nights followed by a leftover night (although with a fifteen-year-old athlete, sometimes there's less left than I planned!) Dinners together right now are slave to sports practices four nights a week and church one night, but it's all good--summer is better for family meals.

  11. I don't really plan in advance...we do try to always eat together even if is is a quick throw together meal...wish I was one of those "I have my meals all planned for the week." i prob go to the grocery store at least once a week...