The summer growing season is in full-swing now, and that means veggies might start piling up in your fridge! It makes you moan and groan and feel all guilty but you know it’s true. If you get a CSA share or are an avid gardener, pretty soon you are going to scowl when you realize you’re getting backlogged on produce.
We all know that cooking and eating should be enjoyable, especially this time of year. We also know that planning out things in life (no matter what those things are) is generally a good idea. Sometimes it can seem really daunting to merge those two worlds though. So we’ve made it easy for you w/ our FREE DOWNLOAD : FSC’s Weekly Food Planner!
Our Food Planner is not just for planning meals but a week-by-week strategy for those who do many food-related activities in the kitchen! Such as DIY food projects like making your own crackers, yogurt, cheese or granola or food preservation processes like dehydrating, infusing or canning.
If you’re like me, I don’t fuss much with breakfast or lunch. It’s usually smoothies, sandwiches, salads, or leftovers. These meals are great times to use up things like greens, either cooked up with scrambled eggs, or in a wrap or salad for lunch.
But there’s still that dreaded dinner slump! This is the time when planning is crucial. Sometimes it’s so easy (especially when you are tired) to just head out to dinner or order in something instead of preparing a meal. Although I can’t tell you what you should prepare I can say it’s much easier when you pair up your produce with recipes you like to make or want to try.
Something that I always do when planning meals is to look at my schedule for the week. Will I have a meeting at night, do I need to take my son to 4H, will I be working at the market and getting home late? Immediately I know I need something quick or leftovers, then I work back from there.
I also like to map out things that need to be or can be prepped in advance. Examples are: soaking beans the night before using them, making a big batch of tortillas, making pizza dough, making a jar of salad dressing, etc. Then I also look at what other items I have on hand so that I can pick meals to make.
The last part of this is making a list for the store. This really should be last, because otherwise you could easily end up repurchasing something at the store that you already have. At least in my house, if I haven’t been keeping up with fridge and pantry organization, it’s easy to accidentally buy more of something I already own.
I also like to remain flexible and like to stay ahead of the game when I can. Sometimes I need to flip flop meals during the week, and in the height of the summer I know I can blanch and freeze items or quickly pickle them if they are about to spoil. I also like to think ahead for Swap items and make sure I have the right ingredients on hand so I’m not cursing at myself when I’m running all over town the day before a swap trying to get it all made and packaged properly.
Hopefully this will make life easier during the hustle and bustle of the summer. Other ways to save yourself some stress are having theme nights like Pizza Night or Stir Fry Night. Both of these are easy ways to use up lots of veggies all at once. If you are a CSA member, you could plan these nights to be the night before you get your next share pickup. That way you aren’t wasting anything and you are making room for the new veggies you are about to get.
Do you already plan out meals?
Have you always wanted to get better about it?
Try out our Meal Planner and let us know what you think!
FREE DOWNLOAD: MY ‘FROM SCRATCH’ FOOD PLAN