Dealing with the Dinner Demon

True confessions.

I have a bad habit of buying more than we can eat in a week.  I throw out way more food than I should.  I end up running to the store at 4 in the afternoon for the missing ingredients in the recipe I’m making.

And it’s stressful work deciding what to have for dinner day by day.  When I ask Jim what he’d like, he tosses out ideas like “steak and lobster”  or “rack of lamb”.

He obviously doesn’t feel my pain.

We often end up having one of those emergency dinners I was talking about,  burritos or eggs.  Which is, of course, an emergency of my own making.

I’m tired of the uncertainty.  It’s time to face my demons and deal with the dinner dilemma.

I’m diving in…  I’m going to create a weekly plan and thereby save time, money, and aggravation.

I’m keeping  it simple and low-tech.  A piece of paper, and I’m good to go.  From my research, I’ve gleaned a few important tips:

  1. Start with dinners.  At our house, many of our other meals emerge, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, out our evening meal.  Breakfast burritos from leftover beans and rice, ham sandwiches from pork roasts for lunch.  You get the idea.
  2. Take stock of what you’ve got. I’ve checked out the contents of our cupboards and refrigerator.  Is there something I’m overlooking that has a best buy date that’s nearing expiration?  What about that head of week old cabbage in the crisper?
  3. Check the calendar.  Is there anything that might impact dinner plans?  Like the fact that Jim will be out of town Tuesday night for work.  That’s a good night for pizza since he’s not a big fan.  And Friday we’re going to see a Christmas play so we’ll probably grab a quick bite at a friend’s house.
  4. Write it down.  Choose where to begin.  I’m starting with 5 days. That seems doable.  I’ll pencil in breakfast and lunch as well.  Luckily it’s not in stone because there has to be room for flexibility.  It’s a framework for meals, not a life sentence.
  5. Make a grocery list.  Looking over the meals, I can see what I’ll need to get at the store(s).  The saving money part comes when I stick to the list.

Wish me luck.

Using up an old planning book from my teacher days.

Using up an old planning book from my teacher days.

Are you a planner?  What do you do to get dinner on the table night after night, keep money in your pocket and your sanity intact?

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