Planning As I Go

I think we can all agree that planning and making lists are about the best fun a person can have. Despite my conviction that this is true, however, I’m taking my own sweet time getting into a meal planning habit. I showed you a bit already about what it looks like when I take an afternoon and fire up the Office Suite to plan well in advance of any shopping or cooking. But sometimes I realize I have no plan and decide to make the list on the same day I need to go shopping, and that necessitates a speeding up of the process. Today I thought I’d share some pictures of my highly scientific ad hoc meal planning system.


First, write down everything you have on hand (and take a picture in case you forget to bring the list when you go shopping).





Then, commit unspeakable acts upon the list as you shove it in your purse, take it out and unfold it a million times across a few different stores. My basic approach here was to go aisle-by-aisle through the store seeing if anything in that aisle matched up neatly with anything on the list, adding that item to the list so I wouldn’t forget I was buying it when I got to the next aisle, and keeping a running list of meal ideas for the things I was buying on the other side.



Finally, rewrite the meal list neatly, noting which major ingredients you need for each. In no particular order, this week’s plan includes:

  • beet, spinach & brown rice salad
  • quiche
  • pizza
  • eggplant parm
  • eggplant…curry, maybe?
  • chickpea noodle soup (was going to be chicken but I made chicken tacos last night; sometimes you set your stove on fire and 3 hours later when the smoke has cleared — literally — you’re so hungry you say screw the plan and grab whatever’s closest)
  • nachos & guacamole
  • hummus & toast for work lunches
  • banana bread muffins (I made bread today and forgot to oil the pan, so that’s out of commission for a bit)

Everything on the list uses at least one item I already had, and for most of them it’s more like I only had to buy one item to complete the recipe, so the plan went well I think. And now I’ve gotta go cook some of this stuff. I start a new 9-5 tomorrow and I haven’t worked one of those in almost three years. I have two classes this semester on top of that, so Sundays are going to be cooking days for a while since I’ll need some ready-to-go breakfasts and lunches on hand at the very least.


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