I’m good at thinking ahead in some areas of my life. But my meal planning usually amounts to one of two activities. Either I stare vaguely into the fridge until something that appears edible comes into focus. Or I find a recipe I want to try, rush out and buy all the ingredients, make a great meal, and then watch the leftover ingredients morph steadily into worm food.
But! In the spirit of Mindful Munching Rule Number One (do not throw out usable food), I am attempting my first-ever weekly meal plan.
My sister-in-law Marilyn has remarked several times over the years that when she was a single mom raising her daughter, she’d take time on weekends to plan out all the meals for the coming week. I was always impressed, but let’s say not exactly moved to action.
However, lately it’s gotten personal. I’ve now got a freezer full of the best meats in the world from Lefever Holbrook Ranch (I’ve been raving about them here for weeks)–but you can’t cook them if they are frozen solid! So it has dawned on me that some level of forethought is called for here.
And Paulette Levefer herself gave me a glimpse of the way meal planning works for her, in the context of helping me figure out how large my meat orders from her should be. (I am buying a share in her community-supported agriculture–CSA–plan.)
She says: “Set your CSA orders based on your meat needs; look at your upcoming months ahead and what menu items you will have the time and the desire to work with. Think about the seasons… spring and summer. One idea from a cook that I knew long ago was his tips on prepping food items and refreezing to use while in the crazy of a dinner rush. We live a busy on the go life and I have two teenage kids that are hungry 24/7, so to keep healthy, fresh, good tasting food that can be user friendly, fast and not have me in the kitchen 24/7 is a challenging but do able. I will sit down once a week and plan out the meals/snacks/ soups/ salads/ desserts. Take your main two meat items- thaw them out and plan-prep your next 5 days’ meals. Refreeze only if you still have ice in the raw meat. I will refreeze my cooked pulled pork, beef and poultry into small pkgs for later use. I still struggle at times to find the time…. but after prep time, relish the satisfaction of looking to the refrigerator fully stocked for the upcoming week.”
Beautiful advice! Can I come even close to eating this mindfully? Let’s give it a try! I’ll start this Sunday! (Amendment!–Thanks to a gratifying uptick over the last couple of weeks in my roster of social events, “this Sunday” has marched across my calendar from the 6th to the 20th!–But I swear that I’ll start my “EAT! week” this weekend!)