‘Ever get the feeling like the dinner-making well has run dry?
I’ve been trying to nudge that afternoon routine out of a rut lately. As the primary cook in the household I try, with all good intentions…
- to serve not one but two vegetables at dinner, and
- to offer meat not as the main course all the time but occasionally as only a side dish, and
- to have at least two meat-free dinners a week, and
- to add more flavor and texture, and especially to make enough for a couple lunches (but not so much that it goes to waste), AND…
it’s all just tapped me out.
Did I forget to mention that my husband is gluten intolerant too, so I get to do all the above AND convert dishes as necessary to make them wheat, oats, barley and rye-free?
This is where the menu planning service Food on the Table has been a godsend. With some initial setup I can peruse a database of recipes and create menus for the upcoming days. Since Food on the Table uploads the circulars from my local grocery stores I can hone in on recipes that will use sale items. I can also enter my own recipes and family favorites – useful, that. Then Food on the Table generates a shopping list from my selections.
In my case I use the service less for every last detail of a meal and a shopping trip, and more for inspiration and organization. It’s become my palette for thinking through dinners for the week: I see what’s on sale, I recall what I have in the fridge to use up, I hone in on a cuisine category (vegetarian, pasta, etc. – they even let me indicate a gluten free dietary restriction), and without fail, something – and often something I’d never thought of trying – surfaces as the next couple days’ worth of dinner. What’s more, I can throw the leftovers in the lunchboxes the next day!
If inspiration is that missing piece to your meal planning efforts, I have great news: If you buy a lunchbox this weekend either at the website or at the Good Earth Home, Garden and Living Show, you will automatically be entered in a drawing to win A MONTH OF LUNCH. Here’s what you’d get:
- A $75 Gift Certificate to the grocery store of your choice – That’s $3.75 a day for weekday lunches, which would be an epic meal if it’s brought from home, and
- A free one-month subscription to Food on the Table to help you plan those great dinners that will turn into epic lunches. So far I haven’t found a meal planning service that offers a lunch menu, but many of our lunches are really just dinner leftovers. Better yet, they pack up in the food containers right after dinner and get popped into the lunchbox in the morning!
The fine print: Contest runs from noon Friday January 20, 2012, and concludes midnight Sunday, January 22, 2012. To be entered in the drawing you must purchase a small, medium, or large complete lunchbox set while the contest is underway from the booth at the Good Earth Show or on the website. One entry per complete lunchbox set purchased. Winner will be drawn and contacted Monday, January 23, 2012.
By “month” we mean “a month of weekdays”, since most packed lunches are carried on weekdays, not weekends. Thus $75 / $3.75 a lunch = 20 lunches, or 4 weeks of 5 days each.
You may get gift certificates to more than one store, as long as the total of all gift certificates is no more than $75. Gift certificates will be mailed to the contest winner, and winner will be notified via email about how to sign up for the Food on the Table subscription.
Did I mention? Lunchsense will be staking out a booth (#1112) at the Good Earth Home, Garden and Living Show this weekend, so if you are in the Eugene area please stop by and say hello! It’s a fun show and a wonderful bunch of exhibitors and presenters, so you’ll be certain to find a new idea or two.