Meal Planning for Unpredictable Lives

It took me some time to come up with a successful meal planning system. My biggest mistake was planning specific meals for specific days, for example, we will have pork chops, potatoes and green beans on Monday. It fell to pieces when we didn’t feel like porkchops or there was something else that had to be eaten before it went bad or someone gave us casserole I couldn’t freeze or any number of unpredictable changes to our day.

The Happy Homewife was my meal planning beacon with her series Menu Planning 101. It was a simple change but it made everything I was doing work. Now I just make a list of about 20 main dishes and keep them listed in my planner as “meal options”. For side dishes, I have a bag of potatoes and a bag of rice and shop the sales for seasonal produce, which gives me a lot flexible options. It’s the perfect combination of planning and spontaneity.

Our month starts on the 15th (pay day). For the coming month, I’ve only planned 15 meals. With Canadian Thanksgiving and other special event (and the leftovers that they create), I don’t think we’ll get through 20 newly created dinners.

1. roast chicken

2. chicken soup (using chicken and stock from roast chicken)

3. butter chicken

4. maple meatballs (new recipe to try)

5. spaghetti

6. turkey (expecting turkey sales)

7. turkey soup (again, using leftover turkey and stock)

8. pork chops

9. penne

10. creamy fettucine (new recipe)

11. tuna casserole

12. beef stew

13.tomato soup and sandwiches

14. perogies

15. hamburgers

One of my October monthly goals is to learn how to bake our own bread. I’m a terrible baker so this is potentially fraught with disaster. Pictures to follow!

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