I know that things are finally beginning to turn around…
That we are getting this #HomeCrazzyHome back under control (well as much as we ever have)…
Do you know how?
Because yesterday…for the first time since January…
I wrote a weekly menu!!!
And those three months without them have proven to me WHY they are so important. WHY it is worth the little bit of time that it takes to plan ahead.
First of all…Having a menu cuts down on the number of times you eat out/delivery/take-away. We have resorted to that more in the past three months than the previous six…almost twice as much. A dozen or more times in fact.
And of course eating out is MORE EXPENSIVE than cooking your own food…and likely LESS HEALTHY.
More variety too…you don’t find yourself having the same couple of things over and over again because they are easy and you have the ingredients on hand.
But it is not just that…my food recycling bin has been overburdened with things I could have used up instead of thrown away…with a bit more careful planning.
No, the hour or so that I spend each Sunday taking inventory of the food we have on hand, going through recipes and planning out the whole week makes all the difference.
Even before I became a professional cook…menu planning was something that I had used when my adult children were teens. Especially since I was working full-time then. If I did not plan ahead we ended up eating out way too often…and that broke this single Mom’s budget.
But when I did study to become a cook, I learned a couple of things I want to share with you…
Variety is important. Not having the same meats two or three times in a row obviously. Chicken…beef…fish…pork…lamb…and even vegetarian mix them all up.
Speaking of which vegetable variety is important too. By color specifically. No, not all vegetables are green. Some are yellow…white…orange…red…and even purple. All have different vitamins and minerals so it is very important that you get a bit of each every week.
Which means that shelf life becomes an important issue…especially with leftovers and fresh ingredients. Three days is the best rule to follow. So that roast I made yesterday…I need to use it all up by Tuesday…lunch Wednesday at the absolute latest.
Carbs too…rice, pasta, potato are not your only option these days. Cous-cous and the latest…quinoa. Whether as a side or a main or the base for salad or casseroles. Despite everything that you hear about no-carb or low-carb, they remain an important source of easy energy…complex ones anyway.
Seeing now why it takes me an hour or more to plan my weekly menus?
Tomorrow we will talk about the process I use…but now I have to head off and make that pasta salad with smoked haddock. Yum-yum…I hope…it is a new one I am trying.
Variety is the spice of life…at least when it comes to food…and menus.