Ahhh. Until very, very recently I thought it was normal to pre-plan weekly meals and regularly assess kitchen staples and keep a running grocery/farmers market list at all times. I can distinctly recall a list clipped to our refrigerator when I was very young – the door was magnetic and fastened to the fridge was a piece of recycled paper with a list of items needed from the grocery store. Meals were planned out too – after all my childhood home was a beehive of activity – there were five kids (and often additional family or friends) eating three or more meals a day, seven days a week. Prepared foods were simply not an option then, and my mother never used mixes or shortcuts of any kind. Oh, except back then canned fruits and vegetables and such were common.
Jumping ahead 60+ years, I run my household in much the same way with a few modern twists. Now I keep my grocery list on a cell phone app that I access from any device – ready for any grocery store or farmer’s market outing. As I load my grocery cart, I check the item and hear a nice bell sound. I do my major farmer’s market/grocery shopping on the weekend and then use an hour or two Sunday to prep vegetables, toast seeds and nuts, grate cheese, make lentils or beans or both, toast croutons, make hot cereal, pickle onions and so on. I multitask well so it never takes me more than an hour to do all of this – with the exception of beans, which take a bit longer. I make beans for an army and freeze smaller portions so cooking them does not need to happen weekly.
I also make sure my flavor enhancers are ready when I need to punch up my cooking – lemon, tahina, pesto, garlic, fresh herbs, sesame oil to name a few.
Once the shopping is done and the prep is completed, making meals during the week is a cinch. And one of the best parts – when my vegetables are prepped in advance, I tend to eat more of them on a regular basis. It’s simply a win-win scenario.