Monday, March 4, 2013

Menu Details

I posted my menu for March on Friday, so now I'll walk you through the process as promised.  

First of all, please know that I'm not in love with my menu.  If I feel like I want to change it, I go ahead and change it.

I'm wild like that.

I just really like having a plan AND the freedom to change it.  I shop a week at a time, so if I want to change things around in an upcoming week, it's super easy and I won't be wasting ingredients.  Also, if I want to have Thursday's meal on Tuesday, I can go ahead and do it...because I'm unpredictable and edgy.

Or not.

Anyway, the first thing I do is get an editable calendar.  I use this one.  

I look at our family calendar (the one on the wall and the google calendar) next and mark the days that we are out of town.  Obviously, I don't need a meal on those days.  If we are going somewhere and I'm bringing a snack or a treat, I write that down and decide what to bring.  That might be a last minute decision, though, just in case something on pinterest calls my name :)

Next, I put pizza on the calendar.  Yes, we have pizza once a week, mostly on Fridays.  The exception is when we are out of town on a Friday, in which case we'll have it on Thursday.

That's a lot of pizza, but pizza is one of the few meals that is unanimously appreciated by everyone in our family.  It's homemade, so it's (perhaps) less unhealthy than other pizza options.

Or at least that's what I tell myself!

After that I put our date nights on the calendar.  Aaron is super great at lining that up ahead of time!  We go out for supper, so I fix the girls cheese, crackers, yogurt, and fruits or veggies.  Basically, it's something easy that they'll eat for the babysitter without complaining.  

I fill in Sundays right away, too.  As you saw, we have sandwiches for lunch and then SCS.

SCS stand for Silly Cereal Supper!  I've mentioned it in passing before, but not in a ton of detail.

It's just a super easy meal because we have shakes and popcorn with a movie after supper.  

After I do all that, quite a few days are filled in with meals.  

Here are some things I consider when deciding on the rest of the meals:

  • Shop your pantry first-see what you have on hand and choose your meals from there.
  • Breakfast for Supper-once a week or so, I'll have breakfast for supper (or lunch on Saturday).  Breakfast meals can be a little cheaper and/or easier.
  • Mix up the proteins-I want to make sure we aren't eating chicken every night.
  • Consider your picky eaters-I make soup almost every week when it's cold and not everyone loves that.  I make sure to have bread and cheese, etc. with it
  • Cook ahead-maybe roast a whole chicken at the beginning of the week and use the leftover chicken for soup or chicken salad or something.  Work smarter not harder :)
Once you know what meals are hits with your family, make a list of them!  I have a word document with a list of our favorite meals that I look at when I decide on meals.  I look at that and on my pinterest boards for meal ideas.

I really enjoy cooking (which is good, because I have to do it!), so I cook a lot of different things because it's fun for me, but there is certainly nothing wrong with making the same thing on a very regular rotation.

Now, when I'm really on the ball, I use my binder!

I print out my menu and slide it in the clear cover.

Then, I use page protectors and print out the recipes from the computer and put them in the binder.  

It's nice to have the recipes all in one place and it's great not to worry about possibly spilling on my laptop!

I'm not quite that organized this month though, but I suppose there's still time!

I hope that was all helpful!  I think the most important thing is finding what works for you and not being stressed out.  

Eating meals with little kids can be stressful in and of itself, so coming to the table in a more relaxed state is always a plus!

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