Mini-Blog Capsule Pantry- A minimalist meal plan
This is an idea I started to write up several months ago, then kind of abandoned as a post, but the good news is that I have actually implemented the idea in the meantime, and it’s working great! But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me explain…
I actually really enjoy cooking, so back before I had kids, when I was still imagining perfectionist fantasy versions of myself (which I never would ever do these days) I thought that meal planning would be a perfect way for me as a parent to make sure my whole family gets nutritious 100% made from scratch meals. But it's never worked well for me in the past, largely because trying to manage an assorted list of ingredients for a bunch of recipes is hard. And trying to find new recipes every week is even harder. Each week I'd use up all my cleaning energy just in going to the grocery store (which was such a favorite chore in my 20s that I would do it entirely for fun), before I ever even cooked a meal.
Yes, I know that you can get or make meal plans that use overlapping ingredients, like chicken tacos, chicken pasta, chicken soup, but for one you're eating chicken all week, for two, each of the recipes usually have a small amount of overlap so there are STILL multiple one-off ingredients to manage (or trash), and for three, this effort to make the perfectly puzzled-together meal plan is a lot of work which means you're gonna pay a hefty cost either in your time or your money to have a service assemble your meal plan for you.
I already had meal templates, which I've talked about before, where I pick a few items to plug into easy, established techniques for variety, but they were only getting me through a couple meals each week. Otherwise our fridge is always filled with RANDOM items I saw at Costco or my partner found at Aldi that have no real purpose or plan behind them. In fact, while I was originally writing up this post, my partner came home with a butternut squash - just because he saw it at the store. I nearly had a panic attack, I was so overwhelmed with the state of food in our home at the time.
We were dealing with the classic situation of looking at a fridge/pantry full to bursting of food and not being able to find anything to eat.
But what I realized is that there are a few core things we all like and that we tend to have on hand: chicken, broccoli, eggs, cheese (and MANY more as you can see in the photo, but it is a fairly limited list compared to what we have now) so I thought....What if I designed a meal plan around that list - and ONLY that list?