The Plan to Eat Podcast

#31: Plan to Eat Customer Meal Planning Tips - Part 1

September 07, 2022 Plan to Eat Season 1 Episode 31
The Plan to Eat Podcast
#31: Plan to Eat Customer Meal Planning Tips - Part 1
Show Notes Transcript

We asked and you delivered! We recently asked our customers for their best meal planning advice and we received so many good tips! Join us for a two-part series where we share and discuss your meal planning tips!

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I'm Riley and I'm Roni. And this is the plan to eat podcast, where we have conversations about meal planning, food, and wellness. To help you answer the question what's for dinner.

Riley: Hello and welcome to the Plan to Eat podcast.

Roni: Today we have a special podcast that, is probably gonna get broken up into two different pieces. So, uh, recently we sent out an email where we asked our customers and podcast listeners to send us their tips for how they meal plan. So we are basically taking the tips that you have sent into us. We are going to, uh, you know, read some of them to you discuss them.

Talk about what we love about them. Uh, some of these things are things that Riley and I have talked about before. They're, uh, you know, not necessarily like new and flashy, but there are some really cool things in here that Riley and I both thought, really good little tidbits that, uh, we are gonna take away from this [00:01:00] and that we hope that you will get, you know, some extra little tips and tricks for how to create your meal plans.

Riley: As usual you. crushed it, you always are so responsive when we ask for something you guys deliver. And I just, I just makes me love you guys more and I already loved you, but thank you for being responsive and sending in these ideas because it doesn't just help me and Roni and helps everyone we help.

Um, and so if you're new to meal planning, hopefully you can take away a ton of these tips. And these are real from real Plan to eat customers. We love it.

Roni: Riley actually said this. When we started the email started pouring in, after we sent that email and she was like, man, our customers always deliver. And it's so true. You guys are the greatest.

Riley: Yeah. I don't know what other companies experience with something like that. But, um, when we ask for help or for, you know, if we do a, a poll of some kind or a survey, or if we ask for something like this, where we say, Hey, can you send us advice or can you send us a testimonial? I mean, Hundreds of [00:02:00] emails.

Roni: Oh yeah.

Riley: I mean, sometimes we're overwhelmed because, and it's amazing overwhelmed, you know, it's like, we're so shocked every time and we shouldn't be, so,

Roni: Yeah, it's great. So. we're gonna do our best to not repeat ourselves. Because a lot of, uh, the responses include similar pieces of advice. We've tried to structure them a little bit around themes, but, uh, just know that we might be, you know, bouncing back and forth between things , it's just gonna, it's just found to happen. I feel like.

Riley: so Roni did a great job of breaking down all of. All the email content that we received, into different sections. And this advice, you know, like one person sent in, you know, five tips and it kind of got broken up into these different sections.

And hopefully that helps, so hopefully you can kinda key in on, what's gonna be the most helpful for you or what tips you can take away when we, you know, mention those headers.

Roni: Yep. Yeah. So let's dig in. So one of the first things, um, that we received feedback on was getting help. Family to create your [00:03:00] meal plan. Obviously, this is something that Riley and I have talked about before. but Stephanie wrote in and said that her advice, her advice is to include your kids when you're planning, because not only is it gonna help you in the moment, but then when they grow up and get older, they already know how to plan and shop and prepare their own food, which I thought was a really great tip and such a good like forward thinking way to look at me of landing.

Riley: Absolutely. I know that a lot of people have given us advice like this, where they suggest that the kids help. And I love that, you know, if your kid is like 10, they're probably not doing the meal planning and cooking and shopping, but when they're 15, 16, 17, like when they can drive , um, and they already have that basis of meal planning, Even before they've flown the nest, like Stephanie says, like, I mean, I'm sure you could recruit them to do those kinds of things to help alleviate that load, from the main meal planner person. So I really like that. Uh, so Kate sent us in a really cute. Little piece of advice. And she says, if I'm in a hurry, we get a week [00:04:00] of mom meals like roast and spaghetti and sausages, where I don't even have to bother with a recipe. If I've got more time, I can spend hours hunting down. Interesting new recipes to try. And I'm always uploading favorites from recipe books, but I just love that she has a list of recipes.

She doesn't need a recipe for, that's a big thing that we do at my house. And I just throw something on the calendar or on the planner, like, like she says, like spaghetti or I don't know, tacos or, um, my mom's, you know, something my mom made and like, I don't need a recipe for it. It's just in my brain and I can just make it and those kinds of things for me.

Even if it doesn't take that much less time, you're not having to constantly look at a recipe. And so it feels like easy because it just kind of comes out of you instead of being this forced thing of like, this is a brand new recipe and, I don't know, think of something I've never made before. I don't, I 

Roni: beef 

Riley: beef Wellington. That's what I was thinking. And I couldn't think of the name for it. Um, yeah, so I literally that's what I couldn't, [00:05:00] I couldn't think of the name. So like I've never made that before. So I would be constantly looking at the ingredient list, constantly looking at the directions, rereading them and trying to make sure I'm doing it right.

You know, there's recipes out there that are very finicky. And I don't know if beef, Wellington is one of them. It probably. But, you know, like a finicky recipe, like something I watched them make on the great British baking show. And it's something that needs a lot of, you know, exact steps like that. You know, it's a lot of, it's like, it's that mental drain that you and I talk about.

It's like, that actually takes a little bit more out of you. Whereas if you have nights where you just need something easy, make something, you know, how to make.

Roni: Totally. And, just, you know, little spoiler for listeners, we're gonna be having a podcast episode coming up. That's all about no recipe cooking. So if you're interested in getting better at no recipe cooking, we're gonna be talking about that in a few weeks. So stay tuned for that.

Riley: I can't wait.

Roni: So another tip, another theme is to plan around the weather, which I love this tip. [00:06:00] Because this is actually something that I do intuitively and not, not necessarily like I don't necessarily plan specifically around the weather, but you know, a lot of the recipes that I use, our seasonal, as far as like, we grill a lot in the summertime, we mix a lot of soups and stews in the wintertime.

And so. Kate once again, this was one of her tips was, um, says that she looks at what the weather is like. She has salads on hot days casserole in the winter. What vegetables are in season that you can build your meal around. So I really love the idea of the weather and I just, I like that it was brought up because I didn't realize that I was actually creating my meal plans this way as well.

Riley: Well, this totally feeds into the podcast. We've done about seasonal eating because you know, things you're gonna grill or, you know, all those vet like beautiful produce and fruit that's available in the summer. You like want to, like, those are things you're gonna wanna eat fresh. You know, those are things you're gonna wanna put into a cold salad or, or do you throw on the grill or make kabobs, something like that. And so it really does [00:07:00] kind of start to bring around these ideas in your mind of like, what, what can you make with them?

And I know for me, I am really excited for fall to come because I love a warm soup and crusty bread on. Like a fall evening, like just, it's like making me drool. Even just thinking about it. Um, and so leaning into that, the food fits the weather. It's perfect. And it really does round out your meal plan.

Roni: Yeah. Yeah. And Jessica's tip, I for the weather is thinking when she thinks about the weather, basically hers is like, is it nice enough to turn on the grill? Or is it cool enough to turn on the oven? which is totally, which is totally true. You know, like if it's sprinkling outside or something, probably less inclined to wanna go put something on the grill.

So, you know, like looking at. Week ahead as far as like, are we gonna have four days of rain or is it gonna be sunny and hot every day? Um, that's also an important little piece of that.

Riley: It's been pretty warm here. And I had the oven on, I think it was at like 400, whatever I was cooking [00:08:00] in the oven was it was a hot, it was a warm temperature. And, um, my husband walks in and he's like, oh my goodness. It is so hot in here. And we actually don't have AC in our house. And so, you know, I had kind of gotten used to that temperature because I'd been in the kitchen cooking and I was like right around the oven, but.

He walked in from another room and was like, man, you gotta turn that thing off. cause you're making our house so warm. So it, yeah, it would've been a good day for me to put something on the grill instead of putting it in the oven.

Roni: Yeah. I actually avoid the oven at all costs in the summertime personally. So

Riley: Another suggestion that is from Jessica that's in the, this section of weather. Is that she adds recipes to the queue. And I know you use the queue a lot. I don't use the queue a ton, but the queue is a great place to put a bunch of summer recipes or fall recipes or spring or winter. So that like during that season, you're, you're, it's even less work for you cuz you've already put 'em in the queue and there's in the holding area.

You can. Pull out that beautiful strawberry spinach salad and put it on your meal plan, um, in the middle of the [00:09:00] summer. And there's a like, kinda like, almost like a seasonal holding area. It could be a way that people use it. I, I really like that idea. Um, and it kind of prevents just the, having to search your recipe book, and.

I love the filters, cuz you don't have to do a ton of digging with filters. If you added tags or maybe, um, you're searching by like, uh, you know, like a recipe that only is 30 minutes or something like that. Like the length of time it takes to make it. But I really like the idea of just putting seasonal recipes in the queue at the beginning of every season and then just pulling from there.

That's that could be really helpful for somebody and maybe even for me.

Roni: All right. So the next, um, main topic to cover is using menus with your meal plan. So in plan to eat, you can save your meal plans into menus, which are basically reusable meal plans. So you don't have to go through the process of planning, individual meals.

You just plan a single recipe and includes an entire meal plan that you've pre-made and saved. So Carrie uses menus in a really interesting way. Um, she [00:10:00] has some, a religious, fasting schedule that she follows. And so she's basically created menus to take out the, mental process of figuring out oh, like, which you know, which, recipes.

Can go with, you know, if, if she's eating vegan or something for a specific, um, religious holiday, she already has those recipes already planned in a menu so that she can just add them really quickly, for when those holidays come up. And I really liked that. Um, that's not something that I like have an association with, but I thought it was a really interesting way to utilize the menus.

Riley: Absolutely. Carrie had a lot of really great tips to say, and the next two kind of fall into the family help. And then also, the menus feature, but she talked about how, when family comes over, um, what they like to eat is different than what they like to eat.

And maybe just like a different palette, you know, a preference. And so she has a menu for those situations too, so that when those people come to visit, she just plans it. Um, and then she just knows, like they [00:11:00] like these things, this fits their preferences, um, and needs or whatever that might be. And that just eliminates that brain drain again.

And the stress. Having family in town, cuz it can certainly be stressful to make sure everyone's fed and happy. And um, I don't know. There's things for them to actually eat, particularly if they have preferences or allergies even. And then the other thing that I really appreciated that she re that she mentioned is that they have a nanny and then that nanny helps them with cooking when their kids are in school.

And it's just, it's another aspect of like, Plan to Eat is so helpful for when you have somebody else helping you do the, do the cooking, kind of like having your kids help you. But hers is that she has a nanny help. And I think that is brilliant because then you can plan it. The nanny can cook it or even shop for it.

I think that's super helpful. Like something that Plan to Eat allows to happen very easily, because it's so easy to share your account or share recipes and things like that. So that probably is really smooth.

Roni: Okay. So another idea about menus is using a template.

And [00:12:00] so Chelsea says that she kind of has a, a mental template that she uses, but you could also create a, a template menu that would help you do this. And so her formula is basically that she takes the protein variety of her recipes as her guide for like what her week looks like. So she ha so she puts basically like main ingredients of tofu, beans, fish, Tempe legumes, and.

and then she has a, she says she has a wild card as well, so but she just basically uses those main ingredients. And then she filters in her plan to eat, to find recipes with those main ingredients. And it helps her find recipes faster. And it also helps her potentially find new recipes because, you know, so I would guess something maybe.

Tempeh . She might not have like a ton of recipes in her account that include that. Um, and so it kind of helps her to like go seek out inspiration or maybe ask a friend for inspiration if she knows that, um, she has a friend who really likes that ingredient. So I thought this was a really great idea. We've talked about using, [00:13:00] um, menus as a template for your meal plans before.

Um, and so I love that we have customer who use it that way.

Riley: Well, and this is unique too, because I think the way you and I tend to talk about it is like Asian night or Mexican, or like a flavor themed night. But I really like that she's using a main ingredient as the. The building block, because I it's so easy for me to be scrolling through my recipe book and think, oh, that looks great.

Oh, oh, that looks great. I'm gonna try that. And then I've got four ground beef recipes, or I've got three salads, you know, or, um, I'm trying to think. Or, or, or three soups or something, and maybe I just wasn't paying attention and, or they just sounded good. And I don't mind eating soup every day. Um, and or I end up with everything being chicken or something along those lines.

I don't, you know, I'd rather have a lot of variety. And while I do batch cook so that we can have leftovers, and that means less variety, you know, the nights that I am cooking a [00:14:00] new meal for our family, I don't wanna have chicken every single night. Um, and so I like that she's using this like main ingredient as the, as the building block, because it does, you can use the filters in Plan to Eat.

To search by main ingredient. And so you can find, like you just said, you can find Tempe or whatever you're looking for. Or maybe you, you know, are looking for a pork recipe or maybe you're looking for, A Turkey, a Turkey recipe or something along those lines. And it just makes it a lot easier to find those because you have somewhere to start from instead of just scrolling aimlessly in your recipe book or on Pinterest.

If you're looking for a new one, um, you can have something to search by and that gives you something a little bit more interesting to utilize as you're building block for the whole day.

Roni: absolutely. 

Riley: You know, it's interesting because Chelsea said that her, the quiz is a quote from Chelsea. This simple formula has been the number one thing that keeps me meal planning year after year. So this building block of the main ingredient and then filtering by main ingredient. And finding a [00:15:00] specific recipe based on that, like that is something that is keeping things really interesting and keeping her interested and keeping her on track.

She says it's keeping her meal planning year after year. So I love that because everybody can find something specific to them that keeps the meal planning, whether it's your motivation. Of like some kind of goal or resolution that you made, or maybe it's just this, that this keeps it interesting enough for her that she's continuing in the cycle because she knows what she's looking for.

And she goes, and she finds it. Uh, I just, I just think it's valuable to remember that like your tool or your formula that keeps you meal planning is gonna be unique. Um, but her, her, her tidbit is so helpful. And I, I personally wanna implement that for me.

Roni: Okay. So the next idea in this is something that we talk about a lot on the podcast in our blogs all over the place is to plan around other events that you have. So Cindy was one of the first people actually to email us [00:16:00] back after we send out her email and she, um, has a multi day process for her meal planning.

And she says that, um, she likes to do it in more days because it, she just doesn't want it to just be like one intense. Day of doing her meal planning. And so I kind of like that idea, like if the idea of doing all of the steps of meal planning is kind of daunting, breaking up, breaking it up into multiple days, I think is a really good idea.

And so her day number one is basically taking a look at her calendar and putting her schedule as notes in her plan to eat account. So that's something we've talked about a lot using the notes feature to remind yourself of, you know, events that you have going on or other dinner plans that you have already made.

And then she just basically picks her dinner ideas. She adds anything special for the week. Like if she remembers that they have like a birthday or something, things that they need to bring in for their class, like one of her kids needs to bring in for class at school. The second day she then goes through all of her, uh, food at home, her fridge and her [00:17:00] freezer and her cupboards.

And she checks to make sure that she's buying the things she actually needs crosses off the stuff she already. And then that same day, she places her pickup order for her groceries. And then the third day she picks up her order and does any in-person shopping that she needs to do. So I thought that this was a really great way to structure it.

And just the act of going through her week helps remind her if they do have any special events that are coming up, or like, if you have kids, then you need to remember to bring treats in for school or something. Like this is a great way to remind yourself of that.

Riley: I love that because for a couple of reasons, one, because she's not buying stuff, she doesn't need for a night that she's actually not gonna cook. Uh, and that is one of my least favorite things. Um, because it's actually why I only start, I only been planning like three or to four dinners in a week in the summer in particular.

I was cooking. I was planning for more than that. And then like something would come up because it's the summer and fun summer things come up. And so we're gonna do those things. And so I'm having to move meals around all the time. [00:18:00] And so, like for her, she's looking at like what they have to do every week and she's not, you know, wasting energy and groceries and money on things because she knows they won't be home.

Or she knows that they're gonna be out or something like that. I think that's super valuable. Another thing I really liked about her having these different days for what she does is that for her, that eliminates the overwhelm of doing, trying to do it all in one day, everyone's busy. Cindy's probably a busy lady and, and so breaking it down.

Makes it a simpler task because she doesn't have to do all of those things in one day. You know, with maybe the hour she has free or whatever, she's breaking it down to little chunks. And again, kind of like with the last tips that we were giving, it's just making that process simpler for her so that she can do it over and over and over again.

Roni: Yeah, great tips all around Cindy. We love it. Okay. So another person who wrote in about this is Jeanette and Jeanette has been with Plan to Eat for a really long time. She is a super fan of [00:19:00] Plan to Eat and we love to hear from her . So the, one of the things that she mentioned is that they. Again, look at their calendar, make note plan to eat.

Um, they, she also includes any travel plans that they have, which I thought was a really good point to make, particularly she mentioned, um, in her tips that she's been retired for a little while. And so, you know, particularly if that's your situation in life, um, you know, thinking about potential travel plans or just not gonna, if you're not gonna be at home and realizing.

This idea that like, maybe you don't need to make as much food, or maybe you want to make the same amount of food and free some of it for leftovers for when you get home. So you don't have to immediately jump into a new meal plan when you get home from your traveling. Jeanette just has a ton of really great tips.

Like I said, she's been a meal planner with us for a really long time. Um, so some of the other things she recommends is. When she is meal planning for lunches, they typically make soups and salads and she batch cooks her batch, I guess, not really cook, but she batch prepares her [00:20:00] salad for a week that she's gonna use as like a side salad for her soup or salad situation.

Both Riley and I really loved that idea and not something that we necessarily thought about doing .

Riley: Yeah, well, you and I have talked a lot about batch cooking and cooking, you know, and freezing and, um, or just like chopping the vegetable. But going one step further and making the salad that you guys pull from for the whole week. So, I mean, uh, making one gigantic salad can actually. Be more than just a side salad, you know, you can put it in a wrap, you could put it on a burger.

You could, you know, you could put a different salad dressing on it every day. So it's not the same, like, but just having something like that cooked or, well, not cooked , but pre prepped, that just makes meals so much faster. I, I made a meal that you suggested to me, Roni, that like hamburger salad, and once it was made.

It really, wasn't a long process. But you know, in the, in the middle of a work day for me, I work from home and I'm gonna run in the kitchen. I'm gonna try to make something for [00:21:00] lunch. And I'm typically gonna go with a thing that takes the least amount of time because, you know, I'm trying to, you know, just get things done really quickly.

And, uh, I don't usually take a very long lunch break, but so if I have to cook it, I will not. I just won't I probably won't cook it. And so I'll opt for something that's cold or fast throw together, but I'm not gonna like cook a whole meal. And so just the idea, even with that meal that you suggested that I make, it was like it was pre, it was done.

Like, all I had to do was warm up the meat. The salad was already chopped. The dressing was already made. Everything else was ready. I just put it all in a bowl and I was good to go. So I really liked her idea because it makes those meals so fast and you're not wasting your time on it. Get to the eating part instead of, uh, wasting the cooking part.

Roni: Tammy also mentions looking at her family calendar and putting notes, for family activities. And then she says that on specifically busy days, she's gonna be looking for quick recipes or leftovers, recipes that can be made in the crock pot. [00:22:00] Or she'll also look in her freezer to see if she has anything that has been made already, that she can use on those days that they have a lot of stuff going on.

So, and then she checks her weekend schedule as well to see if she has time for any bulk cooking so that she can kind of like restock her freezer on the weekends, which I thought was a really great idea to kind of not only to look at your schedule on the weekdays to see what you have going on, but also on the weekends to see if you have time to like squeeze in a little extra meal, prep time on the weekends.

Riley: So our next customer is Betty. Um, and she's also giving us ideas around meal planning around other events, and she has nine people living in her house at any given time, which to me is just like, that's just, just a lot of people to navigate. And so like, I'm so impressed with Betty that she does meal planning for all of this large family.

And, one of the things that stood out to me. She had this quote and I really liked it. She said my horizon for knowing my schedule in enough detail is about a week. So she plans for a week at a time. I love the sentence. It's [00:23:00] beautifully visual, you know, you can just see it, you know, like I, uh, but I also just love that she knows her boundaries.

She knows she needs to plan for a week at a time because that's what she can, she knows. And so this is just my reminder to everybody. Not buy off more than you can chew. If you can meal plan for three days at a time, do it three days is better than going every day to the grocery store. In a, you know, our last customer that we were just, um, talking about her tips, Tammy, she meal plans for two weeks at a time because that's what she can handle.

And that's what she knows she can do. And so this is just my little. I loved what she said, and it's not necessarily like a tip. It's just something that she said kind of in passing in her, uh, in her email to us. And I loved it. So, my Horizon's about a week too. And so I can connect with that, but if it's a month for you, then do it for a month.

It's just whatever, you know, works for you in your schedule and your margins really?

Roni: Yeah, I agree. When we talked to Amy Lee, she talked about how previously she would plan for a month at a time. And I am personally very impressed by people who can plan for a month ahead a time, [00:24:00] because, well, we've talked about before. I don't really have. Uh, probably enough storage space for like a month's worth of food to keep in my cupboards.

But just in general, just to like, uh, be able to look at your schedule for a whole month and say like, yeah, I feel confident that I can plan enough dinners for the entire month. I'm not an incredibly busy person, but, but my. The amount of flexibility that I have in my life means that I can't plan for a month ahead of time, because a lot of times events happen, you know, three days ahead of time or a week ahead of time. So, you know, Bravo to those of you who can plan far ahead.

Riley: Yeah, I could probably store food for a month potentially, but I. I find that, that aspect of like, not knowing what's coming and then having to move things around, like, it's easier for me to just do it a week at a time. I know for Amy Lee, hers is very much budget oriented. They got paid it once a month and it was a necessity for them.

And so they made that work. And so I really [00:25:00] respect that and the fact that she could make that work for the whole month, that she could think that far ahead, that she could. You know, like the, she said sometimes by the end of the month, they were eating beans and rice, and that was great. cause that's where they were at.

So whatever your, you know, your space and what you need is, is it's okay to lean into that. 

Just one quick thing about planning for a month at a time or for a week at a time.

You know, one thing that I do is, uh, we have, we've had family in town and I planned this week of meals. I don't know, three weeks ago. And so it wasn't, I didn't shop for it. I didn't, I maybe, I think I prepped one thing and put it in the freezer. Uh, oh, two meals. I prepped two meals and put 'em in the freezer so that they were already ready for when family arrived.

But that's another idea is that when you do. Your meal planning, you could meal plan the whole month and just shop week to week. And that allows you a bit more flexibility about, um, you know, the, the week's planned, but oh, that doesn't sound good anymore. Or, oh, now we know we can't go, [00:26:00] oh, we can't have this because we'll be out of town or can't have this because we got a soccer game or whatever your plan looks like.

But doing that planning in advance could be something that's really helpful for people. I know it's been really helpful for me this week, or, you know, this week with family in town, I just, I planned the whole week and I knew what I needed and I just had the grocery list made. And, you know, then as the cleaning of the house happened and the like organization of other parts of the trip kind of found a place and I have to worry about the meal prep aspect.

And I find that I do that. Like, if we're going camping, I'll plan the camping food way in advance. And so it's just on my planner sitting there waiting, and I know we're doing that. Um, or maybe we're, I don't know, like this, like we're having family in town and I, so I, I pre-made meals to go in the freezer so I could do less work this week.

Um, but the rest of the meals were planned. And so all I had to do was shop for those ingredients. So it's just something that, uh, you know, just Betty's idea. Got me thinking about.

Roni: Yeah, I like that a lot too. I think that I could probably utilize that style of planning a little bit [00:27:00] more myself, um, to kind. Take out some of the, like every week being like, ah, what recipes we gonna eat this week? Like, even if I just have to swap a couple, because I decided that, you know, we don't want to eat the same recipe again, or we have different plans or something I could probably utilize, like, just putting down some like re basically like recurring recipes every week to be like this, these are staples.

We're gonna have these and then fill in the rest.

Riley: Yeah. I mean, I do it also when I import a new recipe, if I find something, something comes across the internet and I'm like, oh, this looks so good. I'll import it and then immediately add it to my planner for the next week. And it's because I don't wanna forget about the recipe. And sometimes I'm really bad about this, but I'll import recipes and they just, Can pile up and I never cook 'em until I see 'em again.

And I'm like, oh, I really wanted to make that. And so putting it immediately onto the planner, um, is something that's really helpful for me, but I mean, Meal planning [00:28:00] becomes a very mundane task. And so if you give yourself again doing your future self a favor, we say that all the time of maybe planning for a whole month, or if there's a recipe you really love and you had it tonight for dinner and then duplicating it, moving it two weeks down and having it again, cuz you know, you loved it.

It was easy. Everybody liked it, whatever the parameters are. And then you end up with a whole month. I feel like that takes away a bit of that mundaneness. Um, and then that little, that little spark of joy, of, oh, I already did this and all I have to do is the shopping part to me that, uh, can help kind of keep it interesting.

Um, and keep that mundaneness to a minimum, if that makes any sense. Um, and I think that's our goal here with any tips that we give is like, what can we do to just make this less mundane and less of, you know, a chore? You know, we really wanna keep this in a less of a chore. We know it's a chore, it's a chore for me, it's a chore for Roni.

But what can we do to make it more [00:29:00] enjoyable and easier and better? That's what we're all about here at plan to eat.

Roni: One other thing I want to highlight that Betty says is that, uh, after she looks at her meal plan and plans around events, she also then looks to see what needs to get used up faster. So she talks about like, is my spinach, is my spinach going wilty?

Do I need to use that? Do I have tomatoes that need to get used? So she says that she tries to plan. The most delicate produce early in her menu. And then save things that are more like staples for later in the week. And I really like that. I thought that was a super great tip. I could probably be better about doing that

Riley: I could, I could, yeah, I could be better about it too. The thing that, that prompts in my mind is like the idea of like, if you get a CSA, if you go to a farmer's market, like utilizing those things that you purchase or that you get in a CSA box, um, I just like the way she's thinking about prioritizing those things.

Cause it's very easy for me to be like, I wanna eat that. So I'm gonna cook that first instead of Nope, this will go bad if you don't eat it first. So you need to prioritize it over your, [00:30:00] I don't know, pallet and desires, I guess 

Roni: Yeah, I agree. Okay. So I think that we. Have reached to the end of part one, uh, where you are going to have part two next week for, more customer tips. But one thing that I wanted to end on that, multiple people mentioned, um, it's not necessarily related towards meal planning, but it's how they use the shopping list.

And I really liked this idea. A couple people mentioned that they have a special store in their shopping list related to like jobs or to dos that they have to do. And so I really like that idea of like, you have an extra list for like, oh, I need to drop off my library books or I need to go, you know, pick up a prescription or whatever.

I, I really like that because I, I tend to write down my to-dos on. A physical, you know, handwritten list. And then I usually forget it at home and I'm out running errands and I'm like, oh, what were the two other things I needed to do?

Riley: It never fails. I leave it at home paper lists. I leave it home.

Roni: pay for lists are never the thing I always leave 'em [00:31:00] at home. So adding a store into your Plan to Eat shopping list for your, um, to-dos or chores or whatever it could be, I think is a really great tip. Just like a, a good pro tip for how to use the Plan to Eat shopping.

Riley: Yeah. I mean, just literally making the store name to do list and it's, you know, pick up prescription, run to the bank, go pick up. Whatever , um, I think that's super helpful and could be something that's really valuable for people if they've never used plan dates, lists like that. 

Roni: Do you wanna talk about, uh, recipe real quick that 

you had this week that you enjoy?

Riley: I do. So again, we have family in town and so I, one of the things about having family in town that can be a bit of a struggle for me is how much I end up being in the kitchen because with so many people. To feed, you know, you have to start a little bit earlier cause you're making maybe making larger batches.

And while I love cooking with my family, sometimes, um, it can feel like that's all I end up doing [00:32:00] when family is in town and maybe other people can relate to that. And so, like I mentioned already in this episode, I made a couple of things for the freezer, a breakfast casserole and a lasagna so that we had like a super easy breakfast one day and a super easy dinner one day.

Another thing that I did was I grilled or I smoked a whole bunch of chicken. And then I knew that it wouldn't, it would be way more than what we needed to eat that night. So we had a great, you know, like chicken. Um, I think we had pesto mashed potatoes that my niece made and, a salad and rolls.

And then the next day for lunch, I took that chicken and I chopped up and I made a recipe that actually was in one of the challenges we did a few years ago. Um, it was the grill at challenge and it was the, it's a Tika masala wrap. I think that's what the recipe is called. I'll double check. So I took that chicken.

I chopped it up. Mixed in Greek yogurt, um, Sola seasoning, lime or lemon juice, salt and pepper tomatoes, mint, cilantro made it like a, like a salad, you know, like a chicken salad of some kind. Um, so I, [00:33:00] the variation on that tea of masala recipe, because that one, you actually marinate in the Greek yogurt and seasoning and stuff.

Um, but since I didn't do that, cuz those flavors didn't go with what we were having the night before. I just chopped it, mixed it all together in a bowl, we put it on wraps and it was a super easy lunch. that was super summary cuz it was so like the tomatoes and the mint and it was like all Herby and it was so good.

Everybody really liked it. And it was really easy and fast for me. Because the chicken was already cooked. I just chopped it all and put into a bowl and everybody loved it. So, that's my recipe that I made that I really liked. And also another little tip of like, what can you do to like make another meal easier when you're like already on the smoker.

Roni: Yeah, I like that. That sounds really yummy. So the recipe that I wanna highlight is, um, A pretty simple recipe. It's a grilled steak salad with blue cheese dressing. Um, and so it's just a, grilled skirt steak, or you could use a flat iron steak. Um, and then it's like a romaine salad with some added [00:34:00] veggies, you know, cherry tomatoes, red onion, that kind of stuff.

And then you make your own homemade blue cheese dressing for it. Which I really like because. I'm not really a fan of blue cheese dressing, but if I make it myself, I like, I like being able to adjust the flavors just a little bit more to like meet my palette. So, it's really good. It's yeah, it's a great summer recipe because it's on the grill.

It's a salad it's light. yeah, so I really like it. It's

Riley: that sounds.

Roni: mm-hmm all. Well, thanks for listening to another episode and we will see you guys next week for part two of our customer meal planning tips.