Dinner time!

Hey there blog world! Guess what time it is in our house? ...yeah, okay, I gave it away. It's dinner time! I'm set up on the kitchen counter and typing out this post while waiting for our dinner to come out of the oven. Look at me multitask!

Honestly, this is a rare feat. We got home from work a full 30 minutes earlier than normal and I have just enough energy to squeeze in a blog post before serving dinner and becoming a slave to the sofa.

Despite our crazy schedule, I've always found ways to keep up with groceries and cooking. My husband and I have stuck to a pretty simple system that makes cooking a breeze -- we meal-plan!

Since we only have a limited time together each week, we've chosen to host our master meal-planning list on Google Docs. This allows us each to log in and make suggestions for next week's dinners whenever we find a spare moment -- in the evenings at home, while we're on our lunch break at work, and sometimes even during a boring seminar (but you didn't hear it from me). From the meal plan we make a grocery list, and the rest is simple!

At first, my Mister thought this was a pretty crazy system. He's the real chef in our house; he has the amazing ability to open the fridge, pull out a handful of ingredients, and come up with amazing recipes off the top of his head. Meal-planning, to him, was creative suicide. Despite his initial arguments, he agreed to try the system and now I think he enjoys it more than I do!

Being able to plan our meals in advance means that we only need to go to the grocery store once a week, which I think is the biggest bonus. It also helps me in my amateur couponing, because I can make sure to plan meals around the coupons I've clipped. I know that I'll always have the ingredients on hand to make up dinner, and I can also plan to use things that will spoil quickly early in the week, so we have less waste! Finally, it makes sure that we don't get stuck in any "food ruts". The Google Doc keeps a log of all the food we've eaten since -- oh, wow, May! -- and it helps me make sure I don't cook the same recipes every week.

In our actual kitchen, I've made up a cute "meal board" that displays our plan for the week. We don't typically keep computers in the kitchen, and the board keeps me from having to go turn on the laptop after a long day of programming at work. Hopefully I'll get some time in the future to show you how this board was made, in case you're interested in making one for your own kitchen!

How do you simplify meal time in your home? Do you meal-plan? What's your system for keeping up with your plan?

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