A central tenet to organization, frugality, healthy eating and other important aspects of mensch-hood is meal planning.
This, surprisingly, is one area where I do not fall down on the job. I think is is partially because it gives me a weekly excuse to read recipes, which is like giving an 8-year-old a weekly excuse to flip through a toy catalog. Cooking satisfies two of my basest urges--the one for books and the one for delicious food. J will sometimes find me on a Sunday afternoon cross-eyed with yearning while every cookbook I own is strewn around me.
Once I have my dream meals planned for the week, I make my grocery list, and on Monday afternoon LO and I go shopping. (Shopping with a 14 month old who vehemenly objects to riding backwards in any kind of conveyance including a shopping cart is an issue for a separate post). Generally the shopping goes well, despite the fact that I forget something every. single. week.
No, the only issue with meal planning is not the planning, nor the shopping, nor even the cooking. The problem is the leftovers.
I don't know who decides how many people recipes are supposed to feed, but they are always wrong. (Interestingly, they seem to be wrong on the low side when I'm making desserts and wrong on the high side when making dinners. I will allow you to draw your own conclusions, and no, that is not cookie dough clinging to my fingernails.)
Last week, for example, I made the following recipes:
Monday: Cabbage Soup
After J and I each had two bowls, there were approximately 2000 bowls-worth left.
Tuesday: Easy apricot baked chicken
This one is my fault. When you run out of freezer bags, the decision to just go ahead and cook all the legs and thighs at once is not really the best and most rational course of action. We could have fed much of the neighborhood on my folly.
Wednesday: Stuffed Shells
The 12-count recipe made 18 stuffed shells, because apparently cookbook authors aren't accountants. Or at least, not honest ones.
I could go on, but you get the drift. At any given time, my refrigerator is stuffed to the gills with fresh ingredients for this week's recipes, leftovers from last week's recipes, and science experiments from the recipes of yore.