Wednesday, May 6, 2015

MiM Mail: Feeding a family

Another long day in the life of a resident, and I find myself at home wondering what to feed myself and my family for the next week. Hubs is willing to help, but lacks creative energy in the kitchen most days and doesn't like to spend much time prepping a meal. Munchkin is young enough to be happy with basic staples pulled out night after night, though she does express boredom at times and I prefer to introduce a variety of foods.

I found an app with associated website this weekend that will let me plan a menu with recipes and create a shopping list. I'm hoping with less call in the upcoming year that we will be able to eat more intentionally.

How do you keep your family fed? Do you plan ahead and shop for your weekly menu? How often do you sit down to a freshly cooked meal, and how do you get it done?

-One Hungry Mama, aka Ladybug


  1. This changed my life! I was always trying to do this on the fly until my husband suggested we make a plan. That was 4 years ago and we have never looked back. It has gotten us through brutal residency rotations and a new baby. I know it will be key when I go back to work and have to study with said baby. We call it "the plan" now and I'm passionate about it!
    What we do: we have 2 pads of paper - one to plan the meals/snacks for the week and one for the grocery list. Saturday morning (usually, but we are flexible) we sit down and make a plan for the week. This means who is out what night, what's for dinner/lunch/breakfast, and what's the baby eating. As we do it we make the list of groceries. It takes about half an hour. Then later we grocery shop, that takes about an hour. And it is DONE! for the whole week!
    Thoughout the week we just look at the plan, open the recipe, pull out the ingredients, and cook dinner. That usually takes about a half hour but fresh food on the table is worth it. Having all the ingredients and the recipe planned out means that who ever is home first can get things rolling too. Doing slow cooker recipe? No problem, that's ready to roll the day before to keeps things smooth.
    Dinner a love story (blog) did a series about this recently for NYTimes. She explains it more eloquently than me but its the same idea. When we started we just did Monday- Thursday and even that was really helpful. Ok, I'm done now!

  2. In the past we used a program called Six O'clock Scramble. They sent us recipes and shopping lists every week. I would make most of the meals but 1 or 2 nights a week use our own recipes or plan. There were always some vegetarian meals and often we adjusted recipes for our dietary preferences (the only meat we cook at home is chicken). We used this when my kids were little and I was doing most of the cooking. Now my husband cooks most of the time and he prefers not to use The Scramble but it worked really well for us for a few years. There are a couple of recipes that I saved and continue to use!

  3. Embracing the slow cooker has been a game-changer for us. Especially when there are so many kids activities in the evening. We generally have freshly cooked meals 5/7 days of the week. I am spoiled by having a husband who plans out the week's dinners and the weekly grocery list/shopping. During the week, I'm the sous chef and handle dinner duties on the nights he coaches our daughter's soccer team. For us, it has helped to have some routines. Pizza night on Fridays. Taco Tuesdays (with obligatory margaritas). And a rotation of slow cooker favorites that require minimal prep work. This morning, I threw together a slow cooker pot roast that everyone in the family loves and takes <1min to prep - the roast, 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup (I use one "healthy" version and one regular), 2 cans of water, 1 packet of onion soup mix. Cook all day on low. We serve with linguine and roasted asparagus or a quick salad. Done.

  4. I second the slow cooker! We do a lot of freezer to slow cooker meals, where you prepare the ingredients for several meals at once, then dump them into freezer bags. Then, when you need them, you just dump the contents of the freezer bag directly into the slow cooker. Some things you need to defrost in the fridge first (like a big roast or chicken), but for us with longer days, the frozen stuff has time to melt and properly cook. We also do batch cooking on the weekends and make a big thing of rice / potatoes, or extra chicken / beef that we can just toss into a recipe. Add a vegetable and a sauce and you are good to go. Breakfast for dinner is another big hit, doing scrambled eggs with toast and smoothies. It takes less than 10 minutes and is a kid fave.

  5. We did this without a plan for years - during residency and grad school and after that and then for the first few years of our daughter's life, when I was working part-time. We both like to cook and we like to cook together, and it worked fine until I went back to work full-time, at which point we were cooking the same three things each week and doing takeout the other four nights. Not OK. Now we do much the same thing that Ainslie does, except we do it on Sunday mornings. We sit down with our calendars, our recipe files and the Cooks' Illustrated website and we plan the dinners for the week as well as the lunches for those of us who pack (me and the kid). We eat out once a week every week (date night!) and sometimes again on the weekend. My husband does almost all the cooking and most of the shopping, because he gets home earlier than I do and has time during the day that I don't have. Before we started doing this I thought this kind of thing was absurdly over-regimented. Now I LOVE it.

  6. We keep the Sabbath, so I do a big cook for the weekend on Thursday night/Friday ( roast chicken, meatballs, rice/couscous, other kinds of chicken, etc.) I supplement each meal Sunday-Tuesday with different vegetables- salads, or roasted vegetables, etc. Wednesday is "empty the fridge night" a kind of all-in smattering of repurposed leftovers (chicken salad, burrito bowls, add a pasta). Thursday night is fish/pizza (and shopping day). Not fancy, but it works for us :)

  7. When we have busy weeks coming up we have what our family calls "big hunk of meat Sunday and leftover MTW!"

    I will usually roast a full sized turkey for a great Sunday afternoon meal OR put a roast on the stove top (Pioneer Woman Pot Roast is incredible and easy!) and then we have leftovers throughout the first part of the week: turkey tacos, turkey tetrazzini, chopped up pot roast BBQ sandwiches, etc.

  8. Just looking through some vintage posts and found this related one by neurosurgeon gcs15:


Comments on posts older than 14 days are moderated as a spam precaution. So.Much.Spam.