Welcome to the first installment of the Weekly Menu Series!
A few weeks ago, I wrote about why weekly menu planning work for me. While it requires a little extra time each week, it reduces daily kitchen stress, and makes grocery shopping more efficient. In order to demystify the process, I want to start sharing my plans, and associated grocery lists on a more regular basis. Enjoy!
Step 1: Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Pick-Up
David and I belong to a CSA run through a local, small business, which brings fresh produce from family farms in Lancaster, PA to our community year-round. We pick up our share each Friday after work, so my weekly menus run from Saturday through Friday. One of the best things about this particular CSA, is that the store owner emails members each Thursday with a list of the expected items in our boxes for the week.
Advanced notice of CSA items = great opportunity to plan my menu in advance.
Here's what we got in our CSA this week:
Step 2: Menu Creation
I base the weekly menu on our CSA in order to make sure all of the delicious, fresh produce isn't wasted. Each Friday, I take about 30-45 minutes and create a simple plan for the week; taking into account schedules and availability. The key to a successful plan in our kitchen is flexibility and ease. I also like to throw in one or two new recipes each week, when possible.
Note: the weekly menu does not include breakfast.
* = Eat whatever is around
** = David and I volunteer at a cooking school a few times a month, which means we eat delicious, chef-prepared meals. This week's class will have us tasting onion tarte, salmon, and lentils (plus dessert we take home for the next day).
Step 3: Create Grocery List
The final step in the process is creating a grocery list based on the week's menu plan. Strategically using the CSA produce each week keeps our grocery list simple (and less expensive). The list is split in two: staples and things needed for specific recipes. However, overlap is common.
That's it! Easy, right? If this seems overwhelming to you, believe me, I felt overwhelmed at first, but I am glad I worked to incorporate this process into my week. It requires some focus and time, but I believe it takes less of my time and energy that worrying about what to make for dinner each night, and extra grocery store trips.
Walking enthusiast, and kitchen experimenter currently living out my dream in Mexico City, Mexico.
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