Friday, January 9, 2009

Ahhh, time to make dinner.....AGAIN!

DINNER. SUPPER. Whatever you want to call it.....we need to eat it, most of us need to make it, all of us should be making it. I have blogged about this before but continue to get emails about it. How do I work my meals? What do I cook? How do I shop? I have blogged about this before but for those who are still asking, here it goes again. This is a good refresher for me as well since the holiday fluff has ruined any schedule I have. I am ready to get back to the norm.

I don't know why, but dinner time is the most hectic time of the day. Someone always needs to be picked up precisely the time the dinner prep cannot be interrupted. All activities for the children are ending or just beginning r
ight at dinner time. Kids are grumpy or need help with their homework and they are ALWAYS "going to die" if they are not fed within the next five minutes! I am sure that all sounds familiar to you. I know that if I don't have a clear plan of what dinner entails that evening, we will eat late, not as well and I will be grumpy. Unfair to the family. This is my job, if I was an employee of a company and didn't have an action plan and complete it well, on time and with admirable results, I would be fired. I also strongly believe that our duty to take care of our children greatly involves feeding them well so that they can feel good and perform well. You get all that I am sure. So, here is what I do. I know it is nothing new but you asked. Share any great ideas that you have, please. I know that if I don't do this, evenings are a bit more crazy. Who needs that!!!

This is the program. I schedule for two weeks. I write a list of 12 meals, 2 days off for good behavior.It is on my fridge so I have the game plan in front of me. I don't stick to this list perfectly and I don't do it in this order, but this is my general guideline. I try to have some common ingredients to cut down on cooking time. I then make up my shopping list and get it all done in one day so that I generally have what I need on hand. It doesn't always work like this but at least this is the plan.

This is the list on my fridge now. I am 5 days into the plan and it has gone well. I have grilled chicken sliced and in the freezer to pull out for the fajitas and the panninis. I made lots of extra black beans when I made the fajitas to use as a side dish with the corn enchiladas and fry bread. I also cut up all the peppers for the fajitas to then have ready for the french dip sandwiches and shishkabobs. I cut up lots of carrots and cucumbers to have on hand to set out with the meals along with some dip. The fry bread I made on the day I needed to make bread since I use the same dough. I can still get three loaves made and enough fry bread for everyone. The mango salsa I made with the macadamia nut chicken also went on one of the pizzas I made along side the prosciutto pizza.

I plan to make the more time consuming meals on days I am not so busy or make the recipes, like the baked spaghetti or french dip sandwiches on my busiest days since it can be made ahead of time. Nothing is very complicated. I try to throw in a few new recipes from the great blogs I check regularly. Never disappointing. I love food so the idea of serving macaroni for dinner sounds horrible. I save those meals for the nights I am going out for my kids to make. I don't want them.

The main point....planning saves lots of time, trips to the store and money. You can plan meals around coupons and time issues. By planning ahead you can look for new recipes instead of relying on the old stand byes. Variety is important to me because I don't want my children , who's taste buds are just forming , to only like a few things. I want them to like all the different food I cook. We are getting there. They actually didn't fuss too much this time about the peppers and mushrooms in their shishkabobs! Progress.


Dale & Christina said...

okay. Fantastic. I will make up my menu and get going on it. I guess, if it doesn't exactly go according to plan, it still will be successful for the most part. I am going to visit Power ranch market on Monday too.Thanks.

Kim D said...

I do something similar to this in the fact that I plan the meals out but I do a general plan where I have 7 days with 7 choices...chicken, breakfast for dinner, italian, mexican, hot subs and salad, meal share with a friend of mine, meat dinner with something that was in the sale ads like roast or pork chops. This is the plan for each week and I bulk shop once a month at Sam's club and for weekly perishables. The less time you spend in the grocery store, the less your grocery budget will be. I have a master grocery list with everything we use in the house for Sam's club and I highlight what we need that month. That's how I do it and it definately cut down on the money I spend every month. Thanks for all your good tips.

Katie said...

Thanks! I need to be better about using ingredients that overlap. Great hints, and great meal ideas! I love seeing what other people eat!

Ryan and Jayme said...

Yay!! I am so happy you did this! Now can you do this for us every 2 weeks?? :)

RPH said...

AMEN! this is a great post. I do something similar and can attest to your statement...planning ahead saves money! It certainly does!

happy go lucky said...

I make a Calendar for a month to keep up the variety, but I only shop for two weeks worth at a time. I also lay the calendar in front of my 13 yr old daughter at the beginning of each month and she chooses one meal a week that she would like to prepare. Friday and Saturday are free bee days, which means something super simple from the freezer, take out or go out. This plan is my life saver, mid morning I look at the calendar and do any early prep work, then after kids homework etc... I get it going, and am usually done within 30 min.

happy go lucky said...

P.S. This is Brenda, somehow this is posting from my daughters blog name??? who Knows