You might be wondering how I am able to cook all these lovely dishes while having a busy life and lots of other things to do. Actually, the answer is quite simple: planning. Every weekend my boyfriend and I take some time to plan what we will eat during the week. This depends on several things:
– What there is for sale. Because it safes quite some money we try to use products we like that are for sale in our week menu. Pantry products that are for sale we buy in larger amounts, but not that much that we cannot finish it before it spoils.
– What we have left in the fridge from the week before and if there are staple/pantry foods that are nearly expired.
– The weather. If it is rainy and cold you fancy other food than when it is sunny and 30+C.
– The week planning. For example, usually we have a bit more time available on Wednesdays, so then we cook a bit more complicated. But usually thursdays are very hectic, so then we cook something fast and easy. If we’re going out dishes tend to be lighter than when we stay in, and more of those considerations.
– And of course: what we fancy to eat.
On Saturdays we plan the meals for Saturday and Sunday. These are usually the days that we use to cook elaborate, and also a bit more luxurious. Also, we have more time to shop, so we can go to the market and all our favourite food stores in the city centre.
I make a list for every week, containing what we will eat which day, what there is for sale, what we need (pantry stuff that we finished) and what we still have left in the fridge. This makes it easy to see what you need to buy when you go for groceries. This planning also helps preventing products to spoil, because you list every week what you have left, and to buy only what you need. I hate to throw away food, I already was quite concious about that, but nowadays it is really rare that we have to throw away something. Did you know that the average Dutch person throws away 40 kilo (~150 euro) food per year? So an easy way to spare a few hundred euro per year and do something environmentally friendly is making sure you only buy what you need and to use up what you have in your fridge!
Having the list of what you eat each day is also nice because it can help choose what to eat when you’re feeling uninspired. We have a list of favourite dishes that we eat quite a lot, like pasta with meatballs, rice with chicken, or a hamburger, but we also try to make something new once during the week and once during the weekend. In that way, the list of favourite dishes keeps growing. Give it a try and you will see that it works!