Welcome to Cooking With Stanley! So the last two weekends where I normally would cook up a nice large meal with recipes from The Tucci Cookbook,
I was in Vegas and swamped with events. I didn't want to have this series just disappear for two weeks so instead, I thought of some fillers based off of your comments and my joke of a life. Between this series and my Weekly Eats
, I get comments about the planning of it all. "How do you plan it?" "I wish I knew how to plan my meals." You know, things like that. So this post is going to talk you through it. Hopefully it will inspire you to start planning healthier meals for you and your family!
Let's start with my Weekly Eats
because this is the simpler of the two. I have several cookbooks, a binder of organized printed recipes and an excel doc of organized recipe links. I typically go grocery shopping on Saturdays so I'll plan a week's meals the Thursday or Friday prior. I sit down for maybe a half hour and plan out what kind of meals I want for that week. For example, this week was all Tex Mex and Mexican food. Planning meals that have similar ingredients will save money on your grocery bill. I'll also look and see which nights I'll be home alone and which nights I have an event or meeting. I only plan meals for the nights I'm actually cooking and the nights I'm alone, I plan a meal for one. Once I have the recipes I'm going to make, I just put them in a word document next to the day I'm going to make them. It's really that simple. My document will look something like this:
You get the picture. It's nothing fancy. That's an exact screenshot from a week in January.
But Cooking With Stanley is a whole different ball game. I don't recommend doing this for all of your meals but if there's a particular cookbook you really want to cook through, this might help you out. What I did first was right out all of the recipes from each section so I could cross them off as I planned them out. After I had every single recipe on paper, I created an excel doc, which I took a screenshot for you below. I started with the main dish alternating pasta and meat each week unless I did both. I would then note any suggestions from Stanley and plan appetizers, side dishes and desserts. I planned out one recipe each week for a little over a year in order to use every single recipe. It was a lot of time and a lot of patience but well worth it because now I just reference this document, find the recipes, write down the ingredients, shop, cook and eat!
If you're working on larger projects or goals like I am with Cooking With Stanley,
planning takes time and commitment but it's worth it in the long-run. However, there is no excuse to not plan your meals each week because it really doesn't take much. Sign up for some food blogs' and websites' newsletters to get recipes straight to your inbox. Also, plan for leftovers! Fridays are always leftover days if I'm going to be home for dinner. I also like to eat leftovers for lunch. It's super easy and I don't get tired of stuff if I just eat it two or three times. This will not only help your waist-line (as long as you're cooking healthier meals) but also keep your wallet filled since you're making one meal go a long way.
To send you off, I'm leaving you with some of my favorite food websites and blogs. Check them out, add them to your blog feed or sign up to newsletters. That way you can just file them for future dinners!