The first step to start meal planning is to take inventory of everything you have on hand. In other words, shop at home.
[In case you missed it, here’s last week’s post.]
This simple step of shopping at home is often overlooked when prefabricated meal plans. Many meal plans have shopping lists prepared for you based on meals selected. It’s easy to print these nice little lists and head to the store, completely disregarding what you already had at home. (Michelle has 3 oregano spices in her cupboard…) This is the opposite of budget friendly! You also end up buying weird products for recipes and never using them again. Jordan threw away some sweet potato flour that was used once to make a recipe no one liked because of a meal plan.
Check your freezer.. especially the bottom
Now, before deciding what to cook, determine what you have. Check the fridge for produce, and then check your freezer for items buried at the bottom… You never want to find the last pound of that beautiful, pastured pork you found at the farmer’s market covered in freezer burn! We all have frozen vegetables, especially those in season that you want to preserve for later, but… if they weren’t blanched prior to freezing then freezer burn sets in. It’s so frustrating to remember those seasonal veggies and then find them freezer-burned.
Save money and time
It’s seems like a simple change to just let your freezer inspire your meal planning. However, if it saves you money and time, why not try it! One small change can make a big difference. Give it a shot this week. Before you head out grocery shopping figure out what you actually have. It’s often more than you realize.
Freezing your veggies
Stay tuned for more meal planning tips next week. In the meantime, here’s a quick guide on how to freeze extra produce… the correct way, by blanching first!
Prepare a stock pot of boiling water.
Clean and roughly chop vegetables.
Prepare an ice bath for the blanched vegetables.
Place vegetables into a wire basket and lower into rapidly boiling water for a few minutes. The time depends on the vegetable. Here’s a good guide for times.
After blanching, promptly put vegetables into an ice bath. Once cool, drain and place in a freezer-safe container or baggie.
Written in partnership with Shannon Demers