About not meal planning, and making dinner

I’m sitting here procrastinating about dinner. Contemplating this thing called meal-planning. So theoretically I am procrastinating about meal-planning.

How does one do this, you ask? By random googling meal planning, of course. I’m currently reading this article. All kinds of good tips in there…

I tend to manage dinner most days without too much fuss. But every so often, I feel the fatigue, the lack-luster meh-ing of making something everyone will eat. Where to get the inspiration when one out of three would eat pasta daily but not the other two? When one out of three would be more than happy to eat bread or cereal but not the other two? When we need some meals to be ready really early, or rather late, or perhaps portable which eliminates certain types of meals?

Every few weeks I think I should do this planning thing for real, incorporate it in the daily to-do list on the white board (shit, forgot to do the whiteboard today). It would make my life so much easier what with the various activities sending the family in different directions for at least half the week. If meals were outlined for the week and I knew what to make before everyone leaves for the day, each day, I could procrastinate about something other than dinner, meals or meal planning.

My research tells me making meal-planning lists could be as easy as 1, 2, 3. Simply write down the days of the week and the meal to be had that night, and you’re done. Everyone’s heard of Taco Tuesdays, or Pizza Day on Thursdays or something like that, right? A quick look at the schedule (who is going where, and when?) and a quick scan into the cupboards, drawers and freezer and meal planning is done. But if you are me, this is what happens:

Hm, I got precooked, frozen chili here. I could make burritos, tacos or serve as chili. Oh wait, at least one kid won’t eat chili. They all eat burritos though…oh, only have two tortillas left, and we’re out of TexMex cheese. Forget the burritos. What else could I make with the chili? …Oh look, there’s some turkey meatballs…

What I’m realizing is that planning meals for the busy week is more than just having inventory on hand. It’s about remembering to take out/defrost meals, set up the crockpot, or prep the accompanying meals which often calls for chopping vegetables (salad) or the like. Precooking and freezing is one thing but most of the time that’s only half the meal…like with the example above. Which means grocery shopping has to have a rather detailed list-making exercise included in the meal planning endeavor…

For example, I have a cauliflower here. To have cauliflower for dinner I need to actually prep the thing…(Does cauliflower go with chili? lol)

So now it’s almost 1 o’clock. I need to make a decision, the bus is coming in a couple of hours and then it’s homework time. Here’s what’s on the books for tonight:

  • The girl has an activity prior to dinner so we’ll eat when we get back.
  • The boys are going to hockey but won’t be back till after 8 pm, so they need to eat prior to leaving.

Hence, I need a meal that is ready and warm for both sides of the family a different times of the evening. Let’s see what’s in the freezer…

I have frozen home-cooked meat sauce. I can pre-cook the pasta. So I guess…Pasta is it. And for those who don’t want it there is just enough leftover mashed potato and stew in the fridge from yesterday to serve one person.

Now, what am I going to do for tomorrow night’s meal? It won’t be pasta again (and today’s is the last pack, anyway)…oh look, and we’re out of rice. Won’t be rice, although rice would go well with the salmon I saw in the freezer.


2 thoughts on “About not meal planning, and making dinner

  1. My husband got me to start meal planning years ago and I have to admit, it has made for a happier household. It’s the deciding of what to have that’s so frustrating, and so hard at the end of the day when you’re tired. Now I just check the schedule – we have a monthly rotation – and that’s what we’re making.

    One negative, though, is that it does get repetitive. Even though we have a four week rotation, it sometimes feels like we are eating the same things over and over again. It’s rare for me now to find a new recipe and decide to try it, because it’s just more work. I should get in there and shake things up, I think!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you don’t have a meal plan, then it would get repetitive too, wouldn’t it? We reach for pasta too often, and although few people complain about pasta, it does get kind of ‘old’ sometimes…

      I don’t know what the answer is. But good to know that people are functioning with a meal plan. Perhaps it’s time to get that started here…


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