What’s for Supper?

The biggest stress in my life doesn’t come from work.  I’ve been at my job for six years, and I know what I’m doing.  I’m confident that I can handle my responsibilities, and although sometimes I’m overwhelmed with my work, the majority of my stress comes from keeping the house clean and cooking.  While I love cooking, it’s figuring out what to make, shopping, and thawing food that’s the hard part.  Once I have all the ingredients ready to go, that’s the fun part.  I’m going to work on tackling the cooking stress and then I’ll deal with cleaning (since I enjoy cooking much more!)

Figuring out what to defrost seems to be the most difficult part.  It used to be that I’d shop once a week and then choose whatever meat looked good from the refrigerator.  Now, I need to plan ahead to get things thawed and ready to cook.  I think if I start to post a menu for the week, I’ll be more organized and won’t be in a panic to figure out what to defrost when I get home from work.  I don’t typically plan out a week’s worth of meals in advance, but it’s worth a try. 




  • My award ceremony is tonight, so I’m not sure if we’re going to eat at home.  If we do, I think I’ll make eggs or pancakes.





  • We’re having friends over and I’m not sure what I’m making yet.

Do you plan menus for the week? How does it work for you?


Filed under Food, Home, Living from Scratch, What's for Supper?

12 responses to “What’s for Supper?

  1. OMG, Abbie, you’re way too organized and you’re making me look bad!!! Can we just come over to your house for dinner?

    B.C. (Before Children) and when I was working fulltime, can you believe that I did plan out meals for a week and then wrote a shopping list and went to the grocery store just ONCE a week after work?

    Now, it seems like I’m at the store at least every other day (sometimes every day) and I just can’t plan that far in advance. Plus, now I’m cooking for 3 BIG guys who love meat and potatoes (when I could just live w/ vegetables and dairy products.) I’m working fulltime now and cooking all the meals, too (and cleaning up, etc.) What I would just love is a reprieve from grocery shopping. I’m growing to HATE schlepping groceries home. Of course, when we’re harvesting our gardens, I can just go pick fresh produce, but I can’t grow everything!

    I am envious of your system. Hopefully, it will hold for someday when you’re cooking for more than 2!

    With love and respect for all you do, dear daughter,

  2. Menu planning is the bane of my existence. I would honestly rather go to the market everyday and let the produce inspire me. I never know when I am going to be at work super late or be completely exhausted and no longer interested in cooking when I get home. I am trying to start choosing meals that I can make in advance and freeze. I keep a running tally of what is in the freezer and what meals I have planned and choose from that. But… I shop every 2 weeks. Then, I spend the weekend frantically trying to get organized!

  3. We do meal planning for a week. We’ve tried doing more than that, but my husband likes to be more seat of the pants on the weekend and we’d end up having meals that didn’t get integrated in, with veggies rotting, etc.

    So, we stick to the 7 day plan and only go shopping once a week. If there are staples on sale that we use a lot, I’ll stock up and we won’t be buying week to week so much as just filling in what we need for the week.

  4. ctdaffodil

    I’ve been thinking of getting back into Menu Planning myself. Mostly because is spring sports season for my kids….which means a couple of really hectic nights a week at home. Yikes!!

    your menus look yummy to me….And planning does allow you to save money because there is no last minute take out….

  5. Oh buddy, I’m coming to your house for dinner! It all sounds delicious. Any budgeting or frugal living book will say that meal planning is a great way to save money too. I made a list about a month back of meals we eat regularly but never did put them on a calendar. Yesterday I made a ton of meals and froze them for the first time so we’ll see how that turns outs. I’ll do a post on it soon. As far as housecleaning, that is a big stressor for me too. Right now we wear our shoes in the entryway and kitchen and I am so close to saying no more shoes… between the dogs and the shoes, I’m fighting a losing battle!

  6. I plan menus a week ahead, and I make my shopping list to support my menus, plus replenishment of staples and supplies.

    I have a “replenish” limit on staples and supplies, which means that I put an item on my shopping list when opening that item drops my “stock” below my comfort level. Because I handle staples and supplies this way, I need not fret if I don’t replace them immediately. I’m good for another couple of months. I just don’t like the stress of being out of important things.

    When I am shopping for food, I take my menus with me. Then, if I see something in produce or fresh meat that looks more tantalizing (or a better bargain!) than something I planned, I evaluate which menu to change in order to enjoy that bargain or feast fest. I rewrite my menus, and then rework the shopping list, so I still have everything I need for the week at the end of my shopping trip.

    I never go to the store between times for anything but milk and bread, and that is a rarity. The way I see it, a little more time invested in my really big shopping trip pays off in a lot of time saved going back and forth to the store. It really reduces stress, too, because I always know that I have what I need.

    I have been shopping this way for over ten years. I used to be less orderly, and I hated the frustration of going to the cupboard for things that were not there. I hated stopping in the middle of prep and running to the store for a forgotten item. Now mealtime is fun from start to finish. Shopping is even fun, because my strategy lets me flex to respond to great bargains and surprise veggies, fruits and meats.

    There is a lot of stress in our lives today. Removing stress from mealtime is a big improvement, I think.

  7. I meal plan in reverse. I tried forwards and it just didn’t work for me. I go to the grocery store, farm stand, etc. once a week and buy what sounds good to me at the time, then get home and plop all my ingredients on the counter, take out a notepad, and start moving them around and deciding what goes with what and sketching out a plan for the week.

    I try to only really cook 2-3 times and make big batches, and to have some vegetarian choices on hand (no thawing necessary!), so then I have a “sketch” of what the week will look like with some moveable pieces if things don’t work out the way I planned. About 2 months into this and so far it is working pretty well, my gauge is how often we are eating out or getting takeout – used to be 3-4 times a week, now we really do have it down to 3-4 times a month! Not sure how long we can keep this up, but it feels good right now.

    (I’ve also been sticking to cooking really simple stuff that doesn’t require recipes or “ingredients lists” 😉 )

    Good luck to you!

  8. Wow! Now all this time, you had me so fooled. I thought that house and home was what destressed you (especially since you share so much about it here). Well, I’d never have known that you’ve felt stressed all this time by it, you make it look like your second nature.

    On another note, yes, I have started meal planning and was going to post on it this week (though, my meal plans are all vegetarian menus). Another great veggie meal planner is Isil from Veggie Way. While I know you and Ed are not vegetarians, you might like to try out some of her dishes, especially since you’re already such a great cook.

    Last, I think my hubby would love to come home to dinner at your house . . . hee, hee. I tend to make 5 min. meals, lol.

  9. Mom- No, I do not believe that you planned meals a week in advance. That MUST have been before you had the three of us.

    Laura- Wow! Based on your post about meal planning, I thought you loved it 🙂

    CC- That’s a good idea to leave a night open, that way you end up with less waste.

    ctdaffodil- it really is hard when we’re busy at night. I’m hoping this will save us some money, too!

    jena- haha, yeah I like to eat… a little too much most of the time.

    Katherine- that reduces your stress? Just reading your comment stressed me out! haha! I guess we just think differently.

    Misty- that’s what I did actually. I shopped on Saturday and planned on Sunday, and I think that way will work out better for me since I like to see what looks good before deciding.

    Jessica- I love to cook, it actually does relax me. But I hate shopping AND cleaning! Remember when you came over in the summer and I had to run upstairs to pick up my clothes off the floor? That’s pretty much par for the course. I’m just trying to explore ways to take the stress out of shopping and deciding what to cook, since once I start to cook I enjoy it. As for cleaning… I just signed up for the Fly Lady and I hope that will help. My goal is to have a house that is company ready (at least downstairs) most of the time.

  10. I’m not much of a cook anymore. But when my daughters were younger, yes, I did make out the weeks food and shop for the ingredients on my list. Now I generally eat whatever. You know, the old familiar “been there, done that.” I’m retired from planning meals now!

  11. Misty, I have to meal plan that way as well because I have no choice over what produce I get in my weekly CSA share. It takes a little bit of organization to make sure the most perishable veggies (like greens) are used before the more durable ones (like sweet potatoes or cabbage). I just posted about my difficulties with meal planning.

    Abbie, years ago I bought my husband’s grandmother one of those defrosting metal plates. It actually worked really well and would defrost meat in about an hour. No electricity is required. It might help with your challenges!

  12. Oops. This complaint to the FTC indicates it might not be the easy answer. Thawing the night before in the refrigerator is probably a better bet. You don’t have to plan out the whole week, though. Try deciding on your next day’s meals the night before. And if you forget to defrost the meat, eating a veg meal won’t kill ya. hehe

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