Cooking Class: Meal Planning 101 & Building Your Perfect Pantry

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of starting a Cooking Connect group at my church. For eight weeks we will gather together, learn some new skills and tips, cook, share life, and enjoy a meal together. It’s my hope that at the end of our eight weeks we’ve all been inspired to slow down and savor those moments together.

During our first time together, we discussed my process for meal planning and learned some tips for building your perfect pantry. Every household is different but with a few easy steps you’ll be able to figure out what works best for you. In just a couple hours a week you can set yourself up for success!

Step 1: Look at your weekly schedule – My hubby and I often have completely different schedules so planning ahead keeps our budget in check and keeps us from ordering takeout every night. I consider our workload and other responsibilities and decide how many nights I want to cook, what days we want breakfasts and lunches available and start planning accordingly.

Step 2: Select your recipes – This can be the most time consuming honestly. As a general rule, I try to select one or two main proteins or vegetables for the week and then plan my recipes around them. Sometimes I’ll make a big batch of something like grilled chicken or a pork roast and use it in multiple recipes throughout the week.

Step 3: Check your pantry – One of my biggest tips to meal planning and making things easy on yourself is to make sure you have a well-stocked pantry. I recommend always having your favorite spices on hand, also things like stock & broth, canned tomatoes & beans, and vinegars & oils. When you use it up put it on your grocery list to replenish.

Step 4: Make your grocery list – I use my grocery’s mobile app to make my list, check weekly sales, and clip digital coupons. Often this helps guide my recipe choices for the week. My app also organizes my list by aisle which keeps me from a lot of impulse shopping which helps my budget!

Step 5: Shop – No matter how you do it, make a list. Going to the store with no plan takes longer and you end up with a lot of things you may not need. If your grocery has curbside pickup that makes it even easier!

Step 6: Prep some ingredients – When you bring your groceries home that is the perfect time to prep a few things. For example, if I’m planning on smoothies for an easy, grab-n-go breakfast I’ll prep individual servings in ziploc bags and store them in the freezer. Then all we have to do is grab one and blend it up and head out the door.

Whether you’re sticking to a budget, want to eat healthier, or just want to make life a little easier, then following these few easy steps will get you on the meal planning train. If you need help to get started feel free to reach out! Here are a few recipes to get you started.

Meal Planning & Perfect Pantry Recipes:
Banana Bread
Jalapeno Cilantro Hummus
Broccoli Salad with Cranberries and Walnuts
Classic Vegetable Soup
Greek Chicken Salad
Sesame Brown Rice and Chicken Salad
Salsa Chicken Tacos
Cornbread Fried Chicken
Chicken Tamale Casserole
Creamy Taco Mac
Buckeye Brownies
Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

One Comment Add yours

  1. Jane says:

    Thank you Amanda!!! Great tips! Love you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s