In case you haven't figure out by now, I love to cook. Actually to be more precise, I love to eat, and I'm cheap. So cooking is the next best thing! Thought I'll share with you some of my meal planning method. Usually I only do my marketing on the weekends. I'm kinda particular about the food I eat. I don't eat frozen meat at all, so during weekends, I go to the market on both Saturday and Sunday. Yes, I am pretty anal when it comes to my meat :P But luckily for me, I love vegetables, so I'll stock up on vegetables either on Friday after work, and also during the weekends. I usually just buy whatever is the cheapest vegetable available (usually SGD1 per packet), and that will keep me happy. But there are a few things that is always in my kitchen: tomatoes, onions, and garlic. I am addicted to all three. I find that i am also especially fond of carrots, and can eat a whole pack in a few days. And eggs, there are always eggs at home :)
Anyway, to plan what to cook, I usually scan through what is available at home, and write out a meal plan. If I'm cooking only for the weekend, the meal plan would look something like the above picture. That is a meal plan for one fine Sunday. Yes, it's written apple spaghetti. I love apple spaghetti ever since I tried it once in a fusion vegetarian restaurant. I cook them quite often actually. I kinda like fruits with my main dishes. Baby tangerine with salad during Christmas time, lychee with roast duck during Chinese New Year, mango prawn spring rolls, French toast with bananas. I love fruity dishes although I hardly eat fruit on it's own.
So once a plan is hatched, off to the market I go to gather my ingredient. That usually just takes half an hour and I'm home. I usually don't spend more than SGD20 each trip. Compare that to a SGD40 meal in a restaurant, I pretty much indulge in raw ingredient without much guilt. The only pity I have is I'm not allowed to cook steak at home due to religious reason (even though I myself am not religious. Preparation usually takes another 30 minutes, and after that it's the cooking that usually don't last more than an hour. My husband always comments that I make cooking seems so easy. But seriously, it is easy if you have a plan, and you love fresh and simple food.
I would love to be able to cook home-cooked meal everyday, but sadly I have to work to make a living. I used to per-packed lunch to work, but somehow the nutrient is lost in overnight food and microwave heated food just isn't the same. Now I just try to cook for weekday dinner, and weekend meals. Above it a weekday sample meal plan. I'll try to write everything out by Sunday so that I can stock up, and I can go auto pilot mood during the weekdays. I usually get home by 7:30pm in non-peak project period, and can eat my dinner between 8 to 830pm (depending on how complex the meal is).
So there! My retirement plan is to live within walking distance to a market/supermarket so that I can always buy fresh ingredient to cook daily! I have self-made recipe scrapbooks in which I collect recipe I'm interested in. Hopefully one day I'll be able to cook them all!