Feeding yourself is complicated. You have to figure out what to eat, then what you need to do to prepare it, what ingredients you need, go to the store if necessary, spend time fixing it, feed yourself & then clean up. Repeat roughly three times a day.
So, uncomplicating the inherently complicated task of food. For January, I'm adopting an idea I read about in Amy's blog New Nostalgia: the Eat From Your Pantry Challenge. The basic idea is to plan ahead for your food & to primarily use items that you already own. It's such a great idea, I wish I had thought it up myself. I usually try to keep some canned & frozen items around for random use (I normally plan just a few days in advance for meals), but didn't think about planning meals to specifically use those items.
Thus, I planned ahead an ENTIRE MONTH for meals, basically taking about an hour of the month to be complicated so that the rest of the month is more-or-less uncomplicated. On the menu for January: pot roast, corn meal pancakes, chilaquiles (I'm a frickin' genius for that one!), stir fry, pasta, vegetable soup, chili, & a few other assorted dishes. I tend to cook large portions 2-3 times a week & take my leftovers for lunch at work.
For breakfasts & snacks, I like to make my own granola & granola bars (easy recipes coming soon...) and munch on fruit since it's so easy. I really like easy.
I went grocery shopping today to fill in some of the pieces that were not in my pantry. I'll probably have to go 1-2 more times this month for produce & soy milk replenishing, but I was pretty happy with my total bill today.......$40 for all my big meals for the month. Huzzah!
The difficulty will come when I have used up items in my pantry & must once again buy all my meal components. But until then, I will be extremely happy for the month of January.