Meal Planning

My favorite part of the day is mealtime. Yes, I mean mealtime. Not breakfast or lunch or dinner  – all of them. I love every meal! I love to eat and, thankfully, I married someone who is equally excited about food.

Back when Chris and I were dating, all of our dates were planned around good coffee and good food. When we got engaged and made our first budget together, we skimped on every category we could in order to put as much money as possible toward eating out. And I’m not ashamed to say that that hasn’t really changed. For us, nothing could be better than a great meal!

Together we have lived in 3 distinct and very food-savvy places: Los Angeles, Louisville, and Seattle. I know that you’re all thinking, “LOUISVILLE?!” Take that attitude home and go to Louisville – you won’t be disappointed. (I’ll share some of our favorite places to eat out another time.)

More recently, we’ve decided to save money by eating out less and cooking at home. So far, so good! But, cooking meals at home takes lots of planning and that’s what were here to talk about: how to plan healthy, easy, AND delicious meals. It feels daunting, but it’s doable and even fun! We scour magazines, cookbooks, and the Internet each week for new and old recipes.

The easiest meal for us to plan is breakfast (though making it has become a little more complicated). A few months ago we stopped eating cereal and started eating more wholesome foods (no, we’re not paleo, vegetarian, vegan, you name it): eggs, bacon, fruit, oatmeal, or even muffins, waffles, or toast from scratch. That’s not all for one morning but it’s an assortment that we rotate through.

Lunch is our least favorite. What do people eat for lunch?! For us, it usually ends up being left overs.

Our favorite meal? Definitely dinner. There are so many options and it’s the most fun to cook. We both work full time, though, so right now the challenge is to find dinners that are quick. There’s almost always Indian food on the menu and “Fish Fry Friday” (we have yet to actually fry it).

Once we’ve gotten our meals figured out, we’re off to the stores – yes, more than one. We usually get a few things from one of the farmer’s markets and then shop around at  2, MAYBE 3, grocery stores. It sounds crazy but each one has unique things to offer and some things at better prices than others.

On Sundays we’ll prep a few things for the week, like chicken stock or English muffin bread. Then we’re off! We cook together every few nights, try to make enough for leftovers.

So what’s been on the menu this week?

Pork Tamales (Joy of Cooking)

African Peanut Soup (The Oregonian Cookbook)

Pesto Chicken Power Bowl (made up dish)

Brussel Sprout and Sweet Potato Hash (Love and Lemons Blog)

Fish – we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it

With the exception of the tamales, these are some easy and tasty meals! I’ll keep sharing our weekly menus for you to try, as well. In the words of Julia Child, “bon appetite.”

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