Do you make a grocery shopping list every time you go the supermarket?
Do you use one of those templates with every food product known to man and check off what you need?
Despite all your careful shopping do you often find yourself wondering what to make for dinner?
I used to too until I realized some very important things. Like that going through a huge list of grocery products to only check off a few items is exhausting and a waste of time. And sort of confusing at the grocery store since there are a million unchecked items on your list you might accidentally buy (ask me how I know).
I’ve also realized on more than one occasion it’s really stressful when you forget the grocery shopping list at home – assuming you’re old school like me and still write it down using pen and paper.
But most importantly, after years of cooking at home, I finally appreciate the fact you only need a handful of items to make an amazing number of unique meals.
Seriously, with the help of a decently stocked spice and condiment rack, you can whip up dishes from around the world with a very small number of staple ingredients.
Using a list of just 30 items (excluding spices and condiments since you don’t need to buy them regularly), I’ve figured out how to make 1,260 days’ worth of unique meal combinations. That’s almost 3.5 years’ worth of menus. Add in desserts and that number skyrockets to 11,340 unique combinations.
Feel free to check my math.
9 Breakfast Ideas X 7 Lunch Ideas X 20 Dinner Ideas X 9 Dessert Ideas
= 11,340 Unique Meal Combinations
Not bad for a go to grocery shopping list, wouldn’t you agree?
See for yourself. I made this FREE printable grocery list just for you. It includes the 30 staple ingredients plus spices and condiments (listed only as a reminder in case you’re running low on something) along with meal ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. I went ahead and organized it by store aisle because I’m “one of those people.”
Print it out, leave it in your car, and you’re ready for grocery shopping anytime, anywhere. Start using this printable grocery list regularly and I promise before long you’ll have the whole thing memorized.
Do you especially like the Meal Ideas list?
Yeah, me too. I refer to it so often that I made this magnet version to keep on my fridge. Despite being someone who loves to cook I also fall prey to the “what to cook for dinner” dilemma on occasion. Having a list of meals I know I have the ingredients for is SUPER handy in those moments.
Spices and condiments are on the list but which should I have?
Ultimately the answer to this question depends on what you like to eat.
For spices I’ve found this list of 27 Essential Cooking Spices You Need to Know from MasterClass to be one of the most comprehensive. I especially love the 6 Common Spice Blends section which groups spices by world flavor regions.
For condiments I recommend this list of 15 Essential Condiments from Laura Kumin over at her MotherWouldKnow blog. She touches on all food geographies and if you keep her list in stock then the world is your cooking oyster.
But what about things like chicken stock and tomato sauce? Or pie crusts?
This may seem like a blasphemous statement in a world of prepackaged food but here’s my answer – make your own.
Homemade chicken stock, tomato sauce, pie crusts, even pasta etc. taste better than their store bought counterparts and are often more economical. Contrary to popular belief they’re really not hard to make and they don’t take a million hours to prepare. Take another look at your freshly printed grocery shopping list and you’ll notice you have all the ingredients you need to make these things yourself.
Still feeling a little doubtful about your cooking from scratch abilities? Don’t. With a little bit of practice and genius tips and recipes like this 5-Minute No-Roll No Equipment Pie Crust Tutorial from Gemma’s Bigger Bolder Baking you’ll be a confident from scratch cook in no time.
But doesn’t it get boring cooking the same things?
Of course! But that’s why this grocery shopping list is so wonderful. There are between 20 and 23 weekdays in any given month depending on what year it is. There are 21 dinner meal ideas included with the list – that’s almost one unique dinner per weeknight for the whole month.
Think about what you eat for dinner now. I bet you have a rotation of meals and I bet you eat a lot of those meals more than once a month. Yes?
Well then this grocery shopping list and accompanying meal ideas already provide more variety than what you’re eating right now.
For those times when you truly feel stale in the kitchen – add whatever looks good at the grocery store to your cart! Buy the basics and then pick a fruit you know nothing about or try a different cut of meat. We don’t know what we don’t know so it’s not like those things would be on your grocery list anyway. Keep the basic groceries in stock and then add something new whenever you’re feeling spontaneous. Chances are you’ll need the basics to make a complete dish anyway and in the event something goes terribly wrong, you’ve got other meals to fall back on.
Leave the stress of grocery shopping lists behind you.
I know how stressful it can be meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking for a family. Or even just yourself for that matter. But it doesn’t need to be. Try using this free printable grocery list the next few times you go the grocery store and see what happens. After you do, please come back and share your thoughts with me and other readers in the comments below. We look forward to hearing from you!
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