View Full Version : Meal Planning and Following Recipes

05-04-06, 04:54 AM
I wonder if this is part of ADD?

I never plan out meals for the week. I tell myself I should but it seems like too much work and I don't want to do it. As a result I go to the grocery store just picking out types of meat/pasta but not sure what I'll do with it.

Then at night if I don't procrastinate and choose not to cook dinner but choose instead to order pizza, I have no desire to find a recipe and follow it. I know I could be a good cook if I was more disciplined, but I don't do it.

I do love to bake (mainly because I crave sweets so much) but even here I hate having to follow a recipe.

05-04-06, 01:38 PM
I wonder if this is part of ADD?

I never plan out meals for the week. I tell myself I should but it seems like too much work and I don't want to do it. As a result I go to the grocery store just picking out types of meat/pasta but not sure what I'll do with it.

Then at night if I don't procrastinate and choose not to cook dinner but choose instead to order pizza, I have no desire to find a recipe and follow it. I know I could be a good cook if I was more disciplined, but I don't do it.

I do love to bake (mainly because I crave sweets so much) but even here I hate having to follow a recipe.
I swear, if my husband read your post he would think I wrote it!! I am EXACTLY like that. I have improved a bit in the 2 years we have been married, but I am not entirely better.

I either end up making pasta (AGAIN!!) at least it wheat, or something thrown together or I get one of those already cooked chickens from the supermarket. I know my hubby is thinking I am nuts.

I do the same thing, I have the brilliant idea to plan the weeks worth of meals, then I attempt to write a grocery list which I then end up re-writing 3 times, I have no idea why, then I forget the list at home, so I go to the store and seem to wander around grabbing this and that, only to get home to discover I could make so many meals if only I had x, y, or z ingredient.

What I try to do it find recipes that a) have low # of ingredients and b) use common food items that I am likely to have in the house anyway. I also try to have tons of boneless chicken breast on hand for quick marinade and george foreman grill dinners.

One major problem I have though, and maybe you can relate, I dont know, but I CANNOT stand to defrost chicken in the microwave, it makes me sick to even think about it, the edges getting like grey and semi-hard, yuck. I can defrost burger or meat there just not chicken so sometimes I will be freaking out about supper and then declare "theres nothng to have", my hubby knows that translates to theres chicken but its frozen and I am not going near that!

Try that, look for simple recipes so you dont have to worry, then gradually build up maybe. I struggle with making all the side dishes be ready at the same time as the main dish, you too? Thats why I love pasta, cook that, then the meat sauce and viola! No fussing with rice, veggies, meat, etc.

And oh man do I love sweets, I could follow a recipe a mile long if it were going to end up being sweet or chocolaty!


05-04-06, 01:47 PM
I make out menus for the week, but then I NEVER follow them.
I do have to follow recipes though, only because I'd completely forget where I was in the preparation process if I didn't. I wouldn't be able to remember if I'd already added 3 TBS of baking powder or not, etc.
As it it, I have to look at the recipe, read the next step, hyperfocus on it by saying out loud as I fill and dump the tablespoon 3 times, "One, Two, Three", then go to the next step in the recipe.
I often lose count anyway when I'm measuring. :p

05-04-06, 02:15 PM
I love following menu plans and recipes but I am also ADD so it is survival for me, because I have been down the "what's for supper" road, and I do not want to go down it again, I have made great meals for my family over the past year, and I have used coupons and saved money-one of my little successes!!!Yippee. It really is more of a habit than anything time consuming-just make cards out and go through them-there is real easy backups you can do too-bbq is easy to throw together, how about breakfast meals? Sometimes I just warm up a ham-or I have lots of recipes for hamburger-just make it interesting. Lori

05-04-06, 02:17 PM
For your chicken problem I just buy fresh and keep it in the frig for a few days before I use it. It is ready to go-I don't like all the preservatives they put on the frozen stuff.

05-04-06, 08:45 PM
I hate defrosting meat too! And I always end up defrosting it too much because I don't look to find out how long to put it in the microwave for! :rolleyes:

05-04-06, 10:17 PM
I can totally relate with thinking about planning meals for the week... and then lacking inspiration (and focus, LOL) to go look for the recipes...

So I decided to marry a chef instead :D.

That said I know a lot of good tricks about thawing meat, because I too hate thawing any kind of protein in the microwave. Here's what he taught me, and it works like a charm.

For starters make sure your chicken, steak, hamburger meat, etc. is in a sealed plastic bag. Then put the bag in a relatively deep bowl in the kitchen sink. Run a very, very small stream of water from the faucet. In about 30 minutes to an hour it'll be perfectly thawed out and ready to go.

So I usually start thawing meat first while prepping veggies, etc.

Hope that helps.

01-14-07, 01:13 AM
I try to plan meals for the week, and to buy groceries from the list made up based on selected meals. I really appreciate this system when it's about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. However, I found that I often drew a blank when I was trying to think of things to cook. In my notebook, I made up a list of all the meals that I often prepare, and I asked my hubby for his favorites for the list. I keep adding meals that have been approved by the family to the list.


01-14-07, 01:39 AM
I might plan a meal the day before or I might buy ingridients to several meals at once, but I never plan meals for a whole week. I have no idea on Sunday how much energy I'll have on Thursday or if I'll feel like cooking what I planned at all. Often I decide what to cook right before I start cooking. Sometimes I haven't decided what to cook even once I've started.

01-14-07, 12:43 PM
I am the same way. I buy different stuff at the store, and usually I end up with doubles of things, because I didn't check the pantry and I already had it, Oh Well. I ALWAYS have pasta and Barilla pasta sauce in the house, so once a week I know I will make that. I try to plan things out, but end up forgetting I have meat in the fridge and then it goes bad. I LOVE the crockpot. I can throw a roast in there with water and onion soup mix and either cook it for 4hours on high or 8 hours on low. I have a crockpot recipe book that I use alot. I also buy the crockpot meals in the Frozen Food department. The chicken & dumplings are great. But in all honesty when it comes to dinner I am a fly by the seat of my pants cook, no one ever knows what it will be. Sometimes its take out 3 days in a row.

01-14-07, 09:05 PM
Oh- I should clarify! I make up a list of meals for the week, then I put the list up on the fridge. Each day I can pick what meal I feel like making of the list, and I know I'll have everything I need. Most of the meals are super easy- sometimes I'll put one more involved dish on the 'menu', but I usually find that I go for the easy ones. Of course, this all hinges on the execution of the plan, which doesn't always happen!!

01-18-07, 10:14 AM
I was like this and then started dieting. That made me more aware of it because I count calories. I start planning dinner in my mind around when I wake up so I can decide if I need a small breakfast/lunch or I can splurge on my calories. So maybe it's not weekly, I don't think I could ever get that ahead, but I'm happy with daily instead of last minute. Hubby is so happy he's not cooking anymore.

01-18-07, 10:49 AM
Wow, I go through the same process, my biggest problem is picking out a bunch of items that were for one recipe lose that recipe and then have no other recipes for the food I have so I just have it sitting there with out knowing what to do with it. I always say I am not a good cook but the real problem is actually taking the time to the cooking.

01-18-07, 11:37 AM
I love the crockpot too. I have several recipes I have collected over the years, and do you know if you cook roast beef in the crockpot with a beer it will be falling apart tender when done? I add some dry french onion soup mix. You can't taste the beer when it is done, and the alcohol burns off. A trememdous tenderizer, my Mom told me about this.

Maybe we need a recipe exchange! I have to admit cooking is harder now that I am divorced, even a little help goes a long way. I will do the dishes rather than cook if I have my choice.

01-18-07, 01:20 PM
For me the kitchen is a huge challenge. My mom has taught me how to cook since I was 5, so cooking up stuff is no problems. But when I'm in the kitchen, if I don't hyperfocus, something's gonna go wrong. Hyperfocus is the only way I have to stay on track. For me, that means doing things really fast, because doing things fast keeps me focused. If I start doing things slowly I give my brain the time to get distracted and then I forget that I have to stir the sauce, decrease the heat or that there's actually something in the oven.

Yesterday I was baking a chicken, steaming broccoli, making mashed potatoes and stirring gravy. I was doing fantastic, and then my pomeranian started yelping because my retriever was trying to steal her treat. After I took care of the dog drama, I returned to the kitchen at a slow pace, off the track, back to distraction mode. The gravy started to burn, the potatoes were pressure cooking for too long bleh...

Some people have no problems in the kitchen. I've been cooking for 25 years, and I still have trouble keeping track of things, even on recipes I've done millions of times.

To get back on topic though, I never plan a grocery list. I usually go to the store with one meal idea in my head, and buy whatever else that strikes my fancy, but only if it's on sale, ha! Because I do that I end up going shopping for groceries several times a week, to pick up this or that. Luckily the grocery store is half a mile away!

01-30-07, 01:26 AM
I use meal plans. I plan breakfasts, snacks for the young ones, lunch, dinner, and packed lunches. It's a matter of survival. All my shopping is done according to my menu. If it's not on my menu, I won't remember to have adequate snacks on hand for my little one. And since I only have a vehicle eveyr other week....that could be a real problem.

When I didn't plan out a week at a time, I still had to have some kind of a plan....crock pot something for the day and the entree is already done, all I had to do was come up with sides.

I also cook extra all the time and immediately freeze leftovers. It's helpful. If I don't want to cook, all I need to do is defrost and heat some bowls o' stuff from the freezer.

Planning is a chore for me [chore is a dirty word] so it takes me a while, but I've found little things that work along the way. I take notes on the current menu, ideas for the next week...get it half done before I have to sit down and plan it out. I suppose it would be super easy to do like some people and have mexican one night, italian another, steak on thursdays....blah blah blah....but that is really unexciting for me and I just wouldn't even bother. I suppose I keep it exciting by planning different meals. I still have my standard 10 or so meals, but they're shuffled around and something different/odd/new is thrown in every week.

Oh, and the menu's the best thing for my budget EVER.

02-04-07, 05:00 PM
Cooking and I do not go well with each other...i can only do a couple things at a time...actually...Like one thing at a time...if i don't something gets ruined because i'm focused on something else not even related to DINNER...I also can't cook if anyone else is in the kitchen with me...i feel self-conscious about the way I go about menu is pretty limited because i get overwhelmed at the thought of multi-tasking.

02-04-07, 10:38 PM
I have had the same problem- not planning meals in advance, and then in turn, not having enough ingrediants to make anything useful. My wife doesn't particularly like to cook either.

I've recently have been trying to get a handle on this, because we have a baby now that we'll soon need to cook for, and I'm tired of the same-old same-old. The main problem is tackling the disorganization- deciding what to make, finding a recipe and having all the ingrediants.

I found a website that helps: You can search for many recipies, it will build shopping lists from those recipes. You can also enter ingrediants you have on hand and it will try to find a recipe you can make with them.

03-08-07, 05:51 PM
Meal planning is a nightmare for me.... ok, let's rephrase that... I can PLAN anything!! It's the day-to-day execution of that plan that has some issues. I cannot tell you the number of times I have gone grocery shopping with my menu list and then ended up tossing bad food out at the end of the week. It is NOT pretty. It is so frustrating and makes me feel really guilty.

03-08-07, 06:13 PM
Some of my most interesting meals come from leftovers, or wilting veggies (great in soup (puree 1/2 of it & add back), stirfries, or food processing recipes, like sauces and dips). :)

My OWN problem is that I find it hard to cook for one person w/o freezing things, or getting boring. I"d rather trade cooking 50/50 time. (Eating one's own cooking gets boring.)

(e.g. My partner hates to cook or eat in; only makes pasta and jarred sauce. However he did eat the Spicy Sloppy Joes from TVP. (TVP is way low fat vs. meat.) It was on the Vegetarian Times website (recipe is online). He ate the whole pot!) *smirk*

(Substitutions: I used BBQ sauce instead of chili sauce & OJ or AJ instead of Beer. Chilis from an Old El Paso jar.)


03-11-07, 04:28 PM
I finally understood why my mother ALWAYS made the same things on certain nights of the week. It really is easier this way -- we have steak on Monday, fish on Tuesday, spaghetti and meatballs on Weds, chicken on Thursday and pizza on Friday. Boring, but it works.

I actually hit upon this menu rotation by kid's friend, who lives next door, would always ask "What are you guys having for dinner?" hoping she could eat over. Naturally, I never knew what the heck we would I'd ask her "Well, what is YOUR mom makin g?" Then I'd make the same thing.

One day, the mom popped in while I was making dinner. "Oh, you guys always have spaghetti and meatballs on Wednesday, too? What a coincidence! So do we!" I started laughing and confessed that I had been copying her meal plan for quite a while. She was flattered that I thought she was such a supermom! She has five kids and a shockingly clean house, so I told her that she needed to be my mentor!

03-14-07, 06:41 AM
I will do the dishes rather than cook if I have my choice.

This is what I do now that all the kids are grown. I never know when Gary is going to bounce in plus he is a real picky eater so he cooks and I put the dishes in the dish washer. When I was rearing four children then meal planning was more of a necessity.

When ever I looked for new recipes I always looked at the list of ingredience and if it was too long or the instructions were more than a couple of paragraphs I would flip on by.

Did a search using Easy meal plan, shopping list, weekly planner, free

My results :

Meals Matter (

Meals Matter is a non-commercial website developed and supported by the Dairy Council of California, a not-for-profit organization funded by California dairy processors and producers. Meals Matter is a free site and because of our funding, there is no charge to use any feature on this site and this site does not include any advertising

menus4mom (

sheknows/frugal living (

sheknows/mealplanning made esay (

The Home School Mom (

Download our Menu Planner (requires Adobe Acrobat) and plan your meals for the whole week. With room for all three meals plus snacks as well as a grocery list, the Menu Planner will help you to stay organized in the kitchen throughout the week.

***End Search results

Maybe some of these will help some there wasn’t any computer stuff when I had six mouths to feed but I sure wish there was.

07-21-07, 10:38 PM
I never plan meals. It's kind of hard with only one person.

Sometimes I get in the mood to cook but usually I will buy stuff like frozen pizza, frozen burritoes, corn dogs, spaghetti and spaghetti sauce, hot dogs, frozen dinners, and snack items. I usually don't cook an entire meal. If I am hungry I might cook hamburgers but won't fix any side dishes. If I am super lazy, I will eat sandwiches like peanut butter and jelly or lunch meat. Or I might have a bowl of cereal or a snack.