i use to be the worst at getting groceries – horrible – and don’t even get me started on months when i was doing business travel (hmmmm tuna, pickles, hot sauce – oh the meals that i have fake made with you). i have found over the past while that while i still do HATE to get groceries (why do people push and shove over broccoli, really??) that taking time to think about what you want to make in the upcoming week is an important step for in cooking for one – even more so, i would say, than when cooking for a family. Here’s why:
• most vegetables come in “family size” naturally. you will need to decide how to use something like broccoli or a bunch of carrots in different ways
• unless you are going to a butcher shop (i am jealous if you are) you are probably buying a minimum of two of any type of meat
• because of what i said above, variety is hard to get
so, how to deal? meat tends to be the easier thing to plan for me. I go through the flyers each week, see what is on sale – and pick it up, along with some freezer bags. That way, i “usually” will have a variety in my freezer, and in the end, save money because i am buying things when they are on sale (although, if you are just starting this, it may take a bit to get your freezer on-sale-stocked).
now the harder part, veggies – i will fully admit that i have found some scary stuff in the back of my fridge over time. i’ve mentioned it before, and i will mention it again – either buy something that you won’t mind eating 3-4 days in a week, or buy things in the salad bar, or go frozen. Yes i know that buying frozen really sucks when you see really nice produce all around, but if you are not going to get to eat it before it goes bad – maybe it’s not worth it? another option, go organic (you saying “huh?” yet???) – but here’s the thing – organic veggies tend to be smaller and smaller = using it up. Just look at the difference between an organic and non-organic cabbage – there is no way anyone could eat, alone, a non-organic one (or if they did be able to go out in public with the after effects of it) but the organic one, smaller, more manageable maybe 2-3 meals worth.
Ok now for the list – it is important – believe me on this one. Without a list it is really hard to a) remember what you wanted to buy and b) buy enough variety that you aren’t eating the same thing every day for a week. So how to decide on this list? Personally, i start as i mentioned above, with the flyers, then i plan out the week. Decide what on what days and then go from there.
and when all else fails – the best advice that i ever got from a friend of mine was to make “kitchen sink stir fry” – basically, take all the veggies and meat you have left near the end of the week and use it up (or go with “kitchen sink soup” or “kitchen sink pasta” once i even did a “kitchen sink pizza”)
so if you skipped reading some of the above – the gist of it is this PLAN – because without a plan, you end up having cereal for dinner.