In my quest to automate the domestic routine, I’ve fallen into a casual rhythm of meal planning. Every Sunday evening I look ahead to the coming week’s activities and map out the meals.
- I include at least one pantry meal (something that doesn’t require fresh produce).
- I jot the meal choices into my calendar.
- I add ingredients to my grocery list in Wunderlist (so my husband can access the list if he’s doing the shopping)
- My husband or I grocery shop every Monday.
- I assume we’ll scrounge or get pizza on the weekends.
One detail has vastly simplified my meal planning: I choose recipes from a single cookbook for the week. I write the page number of the recipe next to the note in my calendar, and I keep the cookbook on my kitchen counter so every day at 5pm, I’m ready to go.
This week (for the last month, actually), I’ve been cooking from The Six O’ Clock Scramble: Quick, Healthy and Delicious Dinner Recipes for Busy Families. I got a review copy in the mail a long time ago, and only now have gotten around to cooking from it.
The recipes are simple, delicious and healthy, and the author, Aviva Goldfarb, makes reasonable allowances for picky kids. It’s a friendly, conversational book, and I’m really enjoying it (which is saying a lot — I’m a bit of a cookbook collector).
The book was inspired by Aviva’s weekly meal planning and recipe subscription service. If you’re regularly stumped when it comes to planning meals and you’re open to some dinnertime variety, it’s a godsend.
Once I get my routine down, I plan to level up by preparing at least one “investment” meal per week — what I call meals I make ahead and store in the freezer (they’re like money in the bank).
Do you have any tricks for keeping the weekday gravy train running smoothly?