Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Meal Planning

So, we're on a budget.  That's the hearts and flowers way of saying that we really don't have any extra money and we feel pretty poor most of the time (though we are not poor, really).  One income, living in Chicago, paying off debts, raising kids and pets.

It all means that every cent counts.  Finances often seem really out of control for me, so it helps to do what I can to make me feel more in control.  Menu planning is one way to do this.

Since the new year, I've been implementing my new Eat Like An Adult Food Regime.  This basically amounts to cutting out processed foods (particularly pizza rolls and sugar), laying off the coffee and wine, and eating three real food meals a day.  I've been heavily influenced by Nina Planck's book Real Food.  If you haven't read it and you want to be inspired to kick the sugar and white flour habit, this book is a great place to start.  If you want to continue living in dark about what processed food does to your body, don't read it.  It'll only piss you off.

I doubt I'll post our weekly meal plan, but here is this week's, just for fun.  I'll try to write a bit about how the actual prep and eating goes each day.

Tuesday:  Rotisserie Chicken with Cucumber & Tomato Salad
Wednesday: Taco Night
Thursday:  Slow-Cooker Beef and Broccoli
Friday:  Irish Blue Cheese Soup with Green Salad
Saturday: Red Coconut Curry Soup OR Leftovers
Sunday:  BLT's
Monday:  Chicken Soup or Lentil Soup

We are trying to buy more sustainable high-quality meat, which can get pricey.  To stretch my limited budget, I'll make chicken salad on Wednesday for lunch from the leftover rotisserie chicken (on sale at Whole Foods on Tuesdays), and make and freeze chicken soup for Monday.  The Tacos will easily roll over into lunch on Thursday.  I'll increase the soup recipes a bit to freeze for future lunches.

I do really miss my fall-back easy meal of pasta and red sauce from a jar and the even easier frozen pizza.

(Full disclosure:  The pics are all older.  I didn't have any food-related images from today!)

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