Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Spring Eating

We're trying something new around here: menu planning. It is a bit fussy at first and rather overly organized. I mean, really, who can't come up with a week's worth of good, delicious, nutritious, affordable, fast, healthy, sustainably-produced meals week after week? Us, I guess.
So I got a bee in my bonnet and put together 4 weeks worth of meals: breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner. I picked through our mountain of recipes, both the tried and true ones as well as some new attempts. I tried to focus on what is fresh in the spring (asparagus, leeks, clementines...) and I had a few repeating themes: taco Tuesday, fish Friday, pasta, beans and rice, pizza/tart, slow cooker meat, and salads. Then, in an effort to keep portion size in check, I tried to tally the entire day's worth of Weight Watcher points (using the old system, not Point Plus).
The part I'm sheepish about admitting is that despite how dorky and slightly obsessive this task was, I really kind of enjoyed it. We plan to rotate these 4 weeks through the spring and then come up with a new meal plan for the summer. Ditch what didn't work and keep what did. Keep it seasonal, keep it interesting.
Some notes:
  • The meat dishes are rather vague since we get all of our meat from the neighbor (or ourselves). We have odd cuts that I don't even think are generally available in the grocery store. We also cook whole chickens, which are 5-7 lbs each.
  • I've included some links to recipes that are similar to ours (like the slow cooker pork or chicken) but not exactly what we do. I just didn't want to type up a new recipe when there are food blogs out there that do that every day.
  • A friend suggested I add a grocery list, which would be very swell. But that complicated things because we don't buy meat and are trying to use up groceries from the previous week. I may try to find time for it down the road.
  • So far we find that when something comes up (a dinner invitation, an extra long work day...) the leftovers pile up and we need to adjust. Generally, we take the extras and put them in the freezer so we don't have food wasting. For the summer menus, I might try to work a flex day in to the schedule.
So if you end up using the plan, you'll have to improvise parts that work better or differently for you. If you have any thoughts, comments, questions, or suggestions - let me have it! I'm already anticipating tomato tarts, zucchini lasagna, blueberry crepes... and other staples of summer!

Meal Plans:
(click on an image to bring it up, then right click it to save it)


I put it on my recipe page so this post didn't get ridiculously long(er)
Martha Stewart Spring Produce Guide: heaps of our recipes come from Living magazine and there is an online guide to bunches of recipes using spring produce. Handy!

Blog Links:
I don't want to reinvent the wheel, and in doing this little project I was shown some (real, paid) blogs that do this kind of thing full-time. There are grocery lists and everything!

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