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Musing about meal planning

Every time I have a spell of culinary activity, I think maybe I could develop an approach to meal planning that would actually be sustainable.  That is,
  • I could manage to complete all steps of the process (planning, shopping, cooking, storing, cleanup) in a small enough timespan that it would be feasible to do this in a normal work week
  • The result would be tasty enough and offer enough variety to keep us happy
  • I’d feel good about the diet we were eating for short and long-term health goals
 Achieving all of that seems to be a project with a lot of complexity and moving parts.  There are certainly lots of resources and tools I could use for each stage of the process.

 Meal planning

  • Capture ideas
  • Individual recipes:  try things out and track what works (the lab journal)
    • First time for a recipe
    • Further experiments
    • Final plan would include shopping list, portion size, notes for storage, etc
  • Develop a template for quickly pulling together a week’s cooking
    • The planned recipes – a template could help ensure that each week’s cooking has a balance of
      • Flavors – sweet dishes, tangy dishes, savory/rich dishes, spicy dishes, etc
      • Ingredients 
        • At least one thing a week of certain desirable foods like legumes
        • At least one or two veggie recipes a week
    • The related grocery lists
    • The plan for using resources efficiently (eg start something in crockpot and then cook things in oven, pressure cooker, etc, while crock is perking along)

Shopping and food inventory

  • Shopping would be easier if had standard inventory of basics, with straightforward approach to re-stocking as I use things.
  • Organizing my panty would help, as it would be easier to see if an ingredient was running low.
  • Explore using tools like online shopping and/or grocery store curbside pickup

Storing food

  • Ideally would put up food in ready-to-serve format whenever possible, so can just heat up without further effort.
o   Explore what’s the best sort of container for that sort of thing.  Should be able to tolerate freezer and microwave conditions.
o   How to label things in a way that would survive the freezer but not last forever?

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