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Meal Rotation

How many of you use a semi-formal "meal rotation" and how many just sort of "wing it" depending on what is in the fridge? Just curious.

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  1. The only meal rotation I ever experience is when I am heating up leftovers in the microwave oven.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Tripeler

      Or at a Chinese restaurant with a Lazy Susan.

    2. I don't do a meal rotation, but have done it in the past. My husband grew up with his mom always doing a fairly strict rotation. We have found that being more flexible works out better for us. During the school year, we take our six-year old granddaughter to her dance/gymnastic class on Thursdays, so we usually eat dinner out that night, after dance. Tuesdays, one of the grandchildren usually has soccer practice at 5:30, and it's our local pizzaria's buy one get one night, so we often order pizza. My husband is retired and home during the week, so he usually cooks. We usually have pasta at least one night. I cook on weekends, and try to usually do something new, different, creative on Saturdays (although last night I made oven beef stew, which is none of those things:, but it felt fallish to me:) and on Sundays I usually do a pretty traditional family dinner...roast something, potaotoes, vegetable, salad, bread and dessert. Tonight was roast chicken.

      1. I cook what is in season and plentiful, and most probably on sale. I also cook what my husband, or I have a craving for.

        1 Reply
        1. re: letsindulge

          That's pretty much it for me, as well. Whatever is in season and sounds good. Or whatever is in the freezer or fridge and sounds good!

        2. I do *not* use a rotation (and didn't grow up with one either). My only rule is that I must cook something I really want to eat. And the time to decide that is when I make the list to go shopping. Once the ingredients are in the fridge, they must not be wasted (and including them in what I'm cooking for the dogs does not constitute waste). Typically I make what I planned to before I went shopping, but occasionally I'll mix things up if for some reason the original plan doesn't appeal.

          1. No rotation. I wing it sometimes but mainly do a lot of planning. In fact, I usually plan out a week at a time (depending what is fresh, etc.). We could easily go an entire year without repeating a lunch or dinner as what I cook is extremely varied and creative. There are a few things we have regularly of course. Cooking is my passion; I cook what my husband and I love to eat. Our tastes are similar and we take great joy in eating a huge spectrum of things. It is such fun to try new and different foods and techniques.

            1. at home there is no rotation, but when cooking for my elderly sick dad, i rotate between 3 or 4 things he will eat/likes to eat. my sister will do the same for him.

              otherwise, like everyone else - what i feel like at the time, what i crave, what i see at the market, what i've seen on a thread on CH or some other food site, or even something inspired by something i ate at a restaurant.

              1. I do. Beef on Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday. Chicken on Monday, Wednesday, or Sunday. Seafood on Friday. But that's not a rigid rule. The general rule is eat light most days, so Sunday might be a salad only for dinner. Meat and potatoes are ok, but only once in awhile. Having a framework makes it easier.

                1. No, we rarely wing it. If it is in the fridge, then it's been thought about, bought and will be used in the recipe we considered. Usually.

                  1. Never given it a thought.

                    1. My system is very formal. I've got two recipe indexes--one containing quicker recipes for week nights, and the other containing marathon recipes for the weekend. Each index is ordered so as to ensure little repetition of like foods. Our meals are determined by what comes up in the indexes. There's no selection about it, and there's always the element of surprise. The Khantessa and I love this method.

                      PS--Tuesday nights are for TV dinners/processed foods/very easy preparations. Friday night is dining out night.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                        So if you have a craving for a particular dish, do you have to wait for it to come up or can you skip to it?

                        1. re: escondido123

                          We just wait. And if I do say so, every one of the ca. 300 dishes in our indexes is delicious, so it's not like we suffer too much if a craving isn't immediately slaked.

                      2. Like most here, we practise extreme "winging it" when it comes to meal preparation. My lifestyle requires that we be very flexible with meal planning, making something out of whatever time we have available, whatever is in the fridge or pantry, and to suit our current, ever-changing health needs and tastes.

                        The only single thing on rotation we have is the weekend pancakes, something that we all look forward to (and never get tired of), and definitely cannot be done during the week unless we freeze leftovers.

                        1. Wing it. I usually look to see what's in the freezer and combine that with what I feel like eating.

                          I'm also working through a CSA this summer/fall, so that has a lot to do with what's cooking.

                          1. I don't wing it, but I don't have a rotation either. I tend to cook a large batch on Sunday and eat leftovers all week. I plan the week's menu based on what food has been on my mind and what is on sale that week.

                            1. Interesting that this has come up now because I was thinking about introducing a rotation. I spend so much time thinking about food, and it has got to the point where it has almost become worrying about food, so I was considering some sort of rotation to take some of the decision-making away from myself. A short list to choose from for each day of the week, depending on activities. So on Weds, when I can cook a very quick fresh dinner after Pilates, it can be either frittata, gypsy eggs, stir fry or thai curry with prawns. Soup on Thurs, takeout or dinner out on Fri, steak or fish on sat. Someone above mentioned a framework, I think that's a good idea (for me).

                              1. We wing it, but have a rotation for Friday night.

                                I cook the first week, my mom cooks the second, and my sister cooks the third. We all have Shabbat dinner together. It is always wine, challah, meat, veg, starch, dessert.

                                That is as strict as it gets. :)

                                1. No real rotation for me either, I've recently started adding more beef/chicken to our meals, leaning towards paleo/primal outlines (which also ups the vegetable elements), but my daughter is a pescetarian, so I fix different foods, hope they eat some of it, & the problem is, once they decide they love something, I stock up, & & then they go totally off it, & I'm left with it moldering in my frig....