BUT I bulk ordered sides - so in the cupboards I have Near East Mediterranean Curry Cous Cous and Near East Roast Garlic and Olive Oil Pasta. Both are delicious and the Monkey eats both so no worries on finding a starch.
Meal planning is so weird. I look at other blogs for meal planning ideas and while recipes LOOK FANTASTIC, I realize that when I put it down on my calendar that A) I don't have time; B) I am missing 2+ ingredients that I probably won't ever buy again; or C) I just don't want to make it because it's too involved.
Another thing about meal planning - there are things that I don't like that I see quite a bit -
- I hate quinoa,
- I'm not much for elaborate breading of meat (I don't have room for all of that),
- I don't deep fry things,
- I don't have time to make a sauce or make a mix and then make dinner
And also there are only certain vegetables that I like and that the Monkey will actually eat:
- Green beans
- Water Chestnuts (I know, weird)
- Broccolini stalk thingys
I also have to work within our budget, so if that means that I only buy some lettuce, milk, butter, and eggs at the co-op, then so be it. My grocery budget sometimes has to be eating out of cupboards only (which is fine because they're usually stocked in general because every few weeks/months I buy certain items in bulk).
And the other thing with meal planning - I buy organic. We're up to eating 75-85% organic except for some frozen pizzas, cheese, and some pantry items. Organic can be expensive so I need to choose meals that fit within our budget. There are meats that we can't afford (like $17.99/lb for some meats at Whole Foods, seriously....) so I switch up marinades to cheaper organic beef and chicken cuts. Whole chickens are cheap but boneless, skinless breasts are the easiest for me to work with (Costco has organic chicken and beef for bulk purchases or else I order from my organic meat lady at the farmer's market).
So, as you can tell, I'm a super picky freezer meal planner and regular meal planner.
Onto what I have in stock...
Below I'm going to list my freezer inventory and my cupboard inventory so you can see what we usually have in stock. Then I just pick and choose what's for dinner from both lists. I choose a protein, starch, and veggie (sometimes I do two veggies and no starch).
I think this is the easiest way to meal plan for myself - that way I'm not tied down to a certain menu item because who in the heck knows what we'll actually be hungry for on Friday!!
- Greek Chicken (Italian seasoning, olive oil, salt & pepper, sliced lemons), just marinated chicken in a freezer bag
- Plain "Just Bare" chicken breasts
- Sweet Glazed Chicken (ketchup, apricot preserves, worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, olive oil) in a freezer bag
- Margarita Chicken (alcoholic margarita mix, parsley, olive oil) in a freezer bag
- Thin cut beef roast
- Taco Meat
- Pasta sauce - meatless AND beef sauce
- French fries
- Chicken sausage
- Ground turkey (which I think the dog might end up eating)
- Pork chops - two different marinades
- Steak (5 steaks)
- Mixed veggies - a few bags of random seasoned and plain veggies
- Annie's Mac & Cheese (mostly for lunches)
- Near East Garlic & Olive Oil Pasta
- Near East Mediterranean Cous Cous
- Black beans
- Tomato sauce
- Tomato paste
- Jasmine rice
- Flour & sugar
- Black olives
- Wildtree Organic spices, flatbread mix, cinnamon rolls
- Pasta - spaghetti and rotini