Now there aren't many things I have under control around here right now...
...the storage room...
...getting fully dressed before going out in public...
But there is one thing that I finally have down to a science and that is meal planning.
(And if that ever breaks down heaven help my family.)
Here's what I do:
On the side of my fridge I have hanging a list (just a simple list on lined paper...it hasn't been scrapbooked and isn't a printable...) that lists the roughly 25 meals that we rotate through on a regular basis. (Cajun Fish, Taco Salads, Lasagna, Southwestern Chicken on rice, etc.)
*25 meals may sound like a lot but I bet if you sit down and write out the meals you make the most often you'd have around that number as well.*
This list didn't take long to make..I've added a few things to it over time and it sure comes in handy.
(You'll see how in just a minute.)
Then every single Monday morning I look over the family calendar of what we have going on each day of the upcoming week and plan what kind of meals I need for each night if we are all going to eat something besides take out.
For instance Simon has an activity and I have a meeting every Tuesday evening so I plan something in the crock pot that will be done and ready to go right during the window of time that we will all be home to eat together.
So after I look at the calendar I look in the pantry to see what we already have that can make the kind of meals I need (fast and easy, crock pot, or ones I have time to do more prep for). And this is where my list comes in handy. I just look down the list of what I know we like and tastes good and match the meal to the ingredients on hand.
Next I write down the weekly menu on the little dry erase board I have hanging on my fridge.
(My husband and kids love knowing what they are going to eat and they never ask me what is for dinner.)
And finally I list on the board any ingredients that I didn't have but need to make any of that weeks meals. (This has been kind of awesome to...it has cut way down on our grocery bill and the time I spend doing the shopping. I get whatever I need on Monday and then I'm done for the week.)
So that is that.
I think it may sound more complicated than it actually is. I love this system. It works for me and everyone gets fed every night and the only time I have to wonder what to make for dinner is those 5 minutes on Monday morning when I'm writing out the menu.
I love it. Really it makes meal time a breeze---I know what I'm making, when I need to do it, and I have everything I need. I swear, if I ever stopped doing this my entire family would starve...or be forced to eat my husbands cooking...bacon...kettle corn...protein shakes...
Recently I went to a meal planning class and heard that several of the other ladies there do similar things and others have routines that are completely different that they love as much as I love mine.
And I also heard a new idea I hadn't heard before and plan to try out this week.
It has to do with something to make meal times more fun.
I thought...hummmmmm...I"ll be the judge of that.
So, next Saturday, I'll tell you all about it and how it worked out for our family.
Until then, do you have any meal planning tips or tricks that you are loyal to?
If so , do share. Everyone can use a good idea.