Tuesday’s Tip: Menu Planning and Grocery Shopping 101

September 14,2010
Sweet Pea Chef
Jessica Efird( )

Jessica, aka the Sweet Pea Chef, is a former U.S. Senate staffer/weekend gourmet turned full-time mom/family gourmet. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and two sons.

I love how each person is created with their own special gifts and talents, approach to life and personality. Wisdom is often choosing the best approach to different aspects of life, taken from the multitudes of people you have the benefit of knowing. Sure, there can be multiple approaches to most things, but more often than not, you find a best way that works for you. All this to say that I believe there is an art to effective and efficient grocery shopping. I almost cringe as I write the word “efficient” attached to “grocery shopping” because before I was a mom, I loved to linger in the aisles of different grocery stores, reading labels, sniffing produce and talking to the butcher or fish monger. And yet, as my days as a mom continue to grow in number, I have learned that efficiency is a must in the grocery store, especially if I have 1 or both of my boys in tow. Most weeks, we have a rhythm to our menu planning and grocery shopping. Sometime on Saturday, I start brainstorming. I begin the list of ideas for main dishes, which usually includes 1 or 2 quick and easy options, 1 or 2 new dishes and 1 or 2 family favorites. If it is a good (read: have enough time to ask) week, I then poll the boys and SPH, “hey boys—what do you feel like eating for dinner next week?” Sometimes I get a sort of nebulous, “pasta?” Other times they respond with something specific such as “how about barbecue black bean tostadas?” After we get the menu in line, I begin the task of seeing what we have on hand in the pantry and what needs to be purchased for the week. It is at this point that I adhere strictly to what I call the “Rookie Cookie” method. Rookie Cookie is one of my favorite food bloggers and although we have never met, I consider her a friend. She wrote out her approach to “Menu Planning and Grocery Shopping 101,” in a blog post and I just have to share. Click here to link to Rookie Cookie’s practical and super helpful approach to grocery shopping. So for my Tuesday’s Tip for the week, I suggest you click the link above and start making your grocery shopping a much more enjoyable experience. SPC