The puzzle remind me a bit about meal planning, and trying ot use up all the food in my freezer, fridge and pantry, and not having extra that goes to waste. I spent my morning after dropping friends off and bringing my daughter to play practice, inventorying the kitchen and then setting out to make a menu buying as few things as possible before the end of my schedule. I picked May 8th as the date to plan through as it is an end of a weekend, and I can grocery shop while my daughter is at soccer practice, and also after the close of the credit card cycle so I can get a finalized comparison on my statement of how much was spent on groceries.
Here is my inventory.
And here is my menu.
It is no frills notebook paper, heavily scribbled as I changed my mind, and remembered events and schedules. I have a side list going of things that will need to be bought. There is a fair amount of repetition, as much for time as it is due to pantry stock. I've intentionally planned leftovers for the Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights DD#2 has 6:15-6:30 activities and we are flying out the door (shortly after I have just flown in the door from work.) If you can see, and read my chicken scratchings feel free to weigh in. I rely too much on pasta and rice as a base. I know I need to pick up a lot more fresh or frozen vegetables. I also have added some comfort foods, Tator Tot hotdish anyone, due to the overstock that was in my supplies. I have a couple soups in here, despite the weather getting warmer. I can bring leftover soup for a quick eat at my desk lunch, and I can guarantee we have some wet soggy cold days where soup will hit the spot.
This is a plan-not concrete, but it was puzzling to not repeat over and over, and be sure to try and use up food on hand already, not leaving out a food that will go bad before it comes up on the plan. There are a few planned meals out, such as Mother's Day brunch, a Papa Murphy's $5.00 take and bake, a wedding reception, and a night out with friends.
Besides the odd meal ingredients, I'll be needing to buy things like cereal, French Toast and Pancake makings, and sandwiches fixings, and of course fresh fruit for lunches and snacks. I'm not too worried about buying more things, but for sure wanted to build around things that need to be used up, like tonight's pizza hot dish, using up the cottage cheese and open mozzarella, and tomorrow's potato soup with veggies, as I have a bunch of potatoes that need using up, and some broccoli and cauliflower that sort of got forgotten about. Three weeks is probably too long a time frame,and I already know I will more than likely veer off plan. The good thing though, is this will help fill in a gap when we just don't know what to do, and may want to pick up the phone and order a pizza or run out for a meal.
Some of you are masters of menu planning. I probably have read your plan. What are your repeat items, and why? For those not eating down the kitchen, do you plan first and then shop, or shop specials, then plan?