Owl Haven and other sites have been making menus from their pantries lately, so I thought I’d give it a try.
I like that The Food Nanny has you plan and shop for two weeks of meals at a time, but lately, our meals have been centered around our local boxes, which means that we plan meals once our local box has shown up. If we get fresh black-eyed peas, potatoes, eggplant, and squash, then that will take care of a couple of meals the next few days. Yes, you can look online to see what’s coming in the local box, but that doesn’t guarantee the quantity of a certain ingredient that you’ll receive, or the exact kind. For example, “assorted peppers” could be bell peppers or hot peppers.
I’d like to be able to use meal planning ideas from The Food Nanny, so that I know ahead of time what will be for dinner, but I want my dinner plans to be flexible within a two-week planning period. I think that a having staples on hand (pasta, rice, etc.), as well as planning a mixture of pantry meals (which I can purchase ingredients for, but not necessarily assign to a menu) should help us be able to do that.
I started planning meals (paper and pencil) by making a list of the produce and leftovers that we needed to use up. Then, I made a list of meals and snacks that would go along with that list. As we used up items, I would cross them off the list. I found myself doing a lot of erasing to make room on the paper, as items were continually fluctuating: adding items from new local boxes, adding leftovers, etc. Thus, I needed a dry-erase board.
I found this magnetic one from Target. It came with a magnetic notepad that you could use to write down your grocery list.
As I plan my dinners, I’m trying to:
- use meat for some of the meals, but not every single one
- make use of the produce from our local box and from our family’s farm, so that it doesn’t spoil
- plan meals using ingredients that we have at home, so that I don’t have to shop for anything
In the picture above, you can see the theme nights in purple on the left, two weeks (well, a little over one week) of dinners, and on the right, a list of produce that we need to use up.
For dinner each night, I put additional veggies and fruit on the table, to help get it eaten. For example, I might put sliced cucumbers, snacking tomatoes, and sliced watermelon or sliced peaches on the table. I’ll eat the veggies, and my husband and I will both eat the fruit.
How do I get my husband to eat the veggies from our local box?
Hint: Think Sneaky Chef.