Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How to plan your menu by shopping at home

I've been inspired by Stephanie at Keeper of the Home, who posted a series on taking inventory of what you have in the kitchen and turning that inventory into a month's worth of meals.

Her series has come at the right time for me, since we're moving to Wellington at the end of September and I want to try and declutter as much as possible before then. That includes decluttering food. I tend to hoard food in my pantry and freezer so I want to clear it all out and start fresh in Wellington.

I've challenged myself to make as many meals as I can by shopping at home, planning a total of 38 so far.

Here's how I've done it, and you can too:

1. Pantry
Take all the food out of your pantry, write down what you have, and in what quantities, wipe out your pantry, put all the food back, reorganising as you go.

2. Fridge
Write down all the meal components, produce and other perishables you have in your fridge (and garden).

3. Freezer
Write down all the meat, vegetables and meal components you have in your freezer.

4. Meal brainstorm
Looking through recipe books and your own recipes for inspiration, list out all the dinners you can make using the ingredients you've recorded from your pantry, fridge and freezer. Cross items off as you dedicate them to various meals.

5. Menu plan
Use a calendar or diary (electronic or paper) to record when you'll make the various meals. Take note of meal components you can make in bulk one night to use as parts of other meals later in the month, eg. seasoned mince for lasagne and spaghetti bolognese.

Good luck! Let me know how you get on.

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