Some people meal plan by making a list of meals and checking them off as they use them, in whatever order they may decide.
I find that I need more detail than that. As I’ve said, the meal plan is tied to specific calendar concerns and often includes planned leftovers. It also helps me to be able to know what I need to start doing when I get home from work.
That said, it helps to have the ability to be a bit flexible. This week demonstrated that.
As I said the other day, we grilled on Monday and included grilling items to use on Tuesday and Wednesday. The plan was for vegetarian “Mediterranean Picnic” on Tuesday after the meatfest that was Monday. But Tuesday, I got home later than planned, had forgotten to soak the chickpeas, so they’d need longer to cook, and then had to turn them off and go get the kids from school (Primo from his after school club, Secunda from her after school daycare) because Olaf missed his usual bus and wasn’t home at his usual time.
By the time we all got home again, it was after 5, the chickpeas needed at least another hour, plus some cooling and then the whole meal needed assembling. And then there was a 7pm meeting at school.
We had the Cart Chicken instead: Make rice, mix dressing and chop salad while it cooked, heat up chicken and dinner was on the table.
Which meant hummus and baba and salad today. TO make that easier, I finished cooking the chickpeas last night. When I got home, there were chickpeas and roasted eggplants chilling in the fridge waiting to be pureed in the food processor with garlic and tahini and lemon. By the time Olaf got home with the kids, everything was done but the cucumber salad, and we had plenty of time to eat before Secunda’s band concert.
If I hadn’t had two meals that could be flipped, there are a few that can be dropped in fairly easily. I’ve always got pasta, jarred sauce, and frozen veggies that can stand in for the planned meal, and then the whole plan gets shifted back a day or reordered slightly. This time, that didn’t need to happen.