For a few years now, I have made a weekly food plan. Typically, I wake up ridiculously early on a Saturday and start rummaging through my recipe files (one for recipes I've made, and one for those I have yet to make) as I drink my morning coffee. I fold a blank piece of paper in half twice. On one of the inner panels, I list lunches and dinners that sound appealing to me at the moment, or that play off each other's ingredients. I usually list more meal options than there are meals in any given week, and so I eventually whittle the list down and, on the opposite inner panel, list what we shall have on which day.
I often leave one day blank, giving us the opportunity to grab take-out or to shuffle meals around. Once I know what we'll be eating, I make my grocery list on one of the outside panels. I also divide this panel into 4 rectangles and separate the items on my list into either dairy, meat, produce, or 'other.' I never seem to find myself in the same store, but this division always works. I may not be so organized in other aspects of my life, but my grocery list has definitely got it goin' on!
We don't have a good meat section anywhere here in Northern Berkshire County. (If anyone reads this and can dispute this fact, please let me know.) My nearest meat section is downright pathetic. I have found that I cannot always plan a meal around a given type or cut of meat, since I often cannot find said meat anywhere in this corner of Massachusetts.
Thinking that it was only my neighborhood store that didn't stock beef tenderloin, I bought all of the other ingredients to make a roast. After examining the meat departments of 3 other stores, I gave up and bought the much more affordable pork tenderloin. As per Emeril's recipe in Everyday Food, I marinated it in mustard, horseradish, rosemary and thyme. The roasted pork came out wonderful...but I'm still determined to find beef tenderloin!
Oh, how I miss the meat counter at Whole Foods!