Sunday, April 14, 2013

Meal Planning

I've been doing a lot of cooking in the last month or so because I discovered this fabulous meal planning website called The Fresh 20.  Every Friday, they put out a list of 20 ingredients (the shopping list) that will make five meals for the week.  I've cooked with chicken, ground turkey, turkey sausage, (skipped the shrimp), and a bunch of different types of fish, and I've been really impressed.  I even made a rockin' flank steak with my grill pan (which I had never used before).  Check out those fancy-schmancy grill lines!

The recipes are set up so that you can do things over the weekend that will help you prep the meals for later in the week (like chopping vegetables and cooking rice).  Then you use the ingredients in different combinations to create 5 different meals.

As a single lady living on my own, I usually cut the recipes in half (they tends to make 4-6 servings) and then I have dinner and lunch for the next day.  Some of the recipes have been a little more time intensive or end up not-so-good, but the majority are quick, easy, and tasty.

Pesto turkey burgers with sweet potato nuggets
Since I just feed myself and I try to be social and go out and eat with other people from time to time, I don't usually make all 5 meals straight.  It usually takes me a week and a half or two weeks to get through them all.  And sometime, if a recipe looks really good, I'll make the whole 4-6 servings and eat that for the next 3 days.  So I'm not actually cooking every night.

The recipes are also on the healthier side of things.  The weekly menu includes the nutrition break down for each meal which is super helpful.  Then I can decide to cut a serving in half or two-thirds if it seems like a little too much.  I even cooked (and ate!) some broccoli in one of my meals. Sidenote: I hate broccoli with a fiery passion. Fact.

Do you see those little green trees?!
I also feel like I'm becoming a better cook just because I'm doing it a lot more.  Plus it makes me feel fancy- I mean, I made ginger chicken lettuce wraps this week!

Chicken fajita burritos anyone?

I imagine if I was cooking for more than just me, this would be even more of a lifesaver.  While I, personally, can eat the same thing over and over again, this planning lets me use a few ingredients to create a variety of dishes- and things I'd even be willing to serve to others. 

I'll try to share some of the better recipes I've found in the next few weeks, but as I mentioned, the best part is how all of the recipes in a week come together.  So check it out at The Fresh 20 if you think it might be your thing.

Have you ever used any sort of meal-planning before?  Ever tried planning like this on your own?

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