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 right 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.