Meal Planning, courtesy of Real Simple

I received my October issue of Real Simple magazine last week.  This issue included a section A Month of Easy Dinners.  Yes please.  The cover calls it "Your no-stress plan for delicious weeknight meals."  Inside you find recipes for four weeks of weeknight dinners, colorful pictures, and tear-out shopping lists.  The lists are broken up by "what you might have" and "what you might need."  About a year ago or so they had a similar plan that Mark and I sort of tried.  By sort of I mean we read all recipes ahead of time and did a pick and choose method instead of following the plan.  This time around, I am determined to follow it to the letter...almost.  Our "weeknights" will begin on Sundays.  That way, we'll have a night to go off book in cases of dinners with Auntie and the Cousins, or pizza night with Grandpa.  Beyond that, we are also following one of our kitchen rules: the first time we try a new recipe, we do the exact recipe.  All times after we can experiment.  I'm also going to try to keep up with blogging about it to track our progress as well as share our findings and opinions of the recipes. 

Beginning of Week One:

I had taken the day off of work Friday (9/16) to prepare for house guests / get a jump on weekend chores since most of the weekend would be devoted to my 15th reunion year from college.  That's another blog entirely.  At any rate, armed with my handy tear-out meal plan / shopping list, I headed to Wegman's.  I spent close to one half hour in the produce section alone.  I was ridiculously proud of the amount of fresh ingredients populating most of the cart.  Things like savoy cabbage.  That's a new one for me.  In the produce area, selecting the correct amounts of ingredients was easy.  2 oranges?  You got it.  1 small, 2 lb butternut squash?  Check.  I did feel like a bit of an idiot though at the deli counter asking for 8 ounces of thinly sliced roast beef.  Especially when the clerk (very nicely I might add) said "so, you mean about 1/2 pound?"  Sure, for those of you who understand all that weird math stuff...  Wegman's is an awesome place to shop though because they're there for you, no matter what level of chefdom you're at. 

I did not yet add up how much the ingredients for the plan cost aside from our other groceries purchased, but the total bill was just over $200.  Hopefully, the run for just the plan ingredients next week is much less.  As much as I like new recipes and a set meal plan, $800 for a month of meals would be just ridiculous.  The plan however, is clever.  Your meals are organized so that the most perishable items will be consumed earlier in the week.  So at least there should not be waste on the front end.  I'll let you know about the leftovers.  Each recipe is supposed to feed four and I'm feeding about 2 and 1/2 (dinners are not Evie's biggest or most favorite meal of the day). 


Week 1 meal plan:
MONDAY          Salmon with Gingery Green Beans and Bok Choy
TUESDAY         Tomato Soup with Roast Beef, Cheddar, and Horseradish Panini
WEDNESDAY  Pork Chops with Roasted Beets and Oranges
THURSDAY      Chicken with potatoes, Bacon, and Cabbage
FRIDAY             Tortellini with Butternut Squash, Mushrooms, and Fontina

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