The never-ending chant of “What’s for dinner tonight?” is called out in households across the world on a daily basis, often driving the chief cook completely bonkers! It sometimes feels like you’ve just got over making dinner one night and it’s time to start thinking about the next one.
I actually love cooking and often feel enthused about the evening meal and keen to try out new recipes, however I still go through phases when I find the endless slog of selecting and preparing meals really monotonous. Employing the simple art of meal planning, specifically evening dinner planning, has saved my sanity on many occasions in the last few years.
When you plan the whole week’s evening meals at the start of the week the following wonderful things happen:
- Everyone in the house knows what to expect each evening and doesn’t need to ask the question – put the dinner planner on the fridge for all to see!
- You can shop in advance and make sure you have everything ready to go so no last minute dashes to the supermarket are needed.
- There is less waste as you know exactly what ingredients you are going to need for the week. Less waste also equals savings in cash.
- You don’t have to use time and energy each day wondering about what to eat that night and your sanity is saved over and over again.
When you first start dinner planning stick with meals you’ve prepared before and you know how to cook. Think about your schedule and if you know that you are going to be home late on a particular night choose an easy meal, on the nights you have a bit more time choose something that takes longer. Or even better, prepare enough for two meals and make the following night a breeze. For example, on a night when I have more time I will prepare a large lasagne and have it with a salad the first night then cook up some fresh veg to go with it on night two.
Once you get into the swing of dinner planning start adding one new recipe a week and watch how fast your repertoire expands. Weekends are the perfect time to experiment with new ideas.
I like to do meal planning on Sunday morning. I fill in the Dinner Planner for the whole week, write my shopping list and go to the supermarket to stock up. It takes a little time but saves so much more in the long run.
You can download the printable SilverOwl Dinner Planner here. It prints two weeks on an A4 page so just cut in half for a handy A5 sheet to stick on the fridge.