Life is an adventure.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Menu Planning

Almost daily I obsess over what to make for dinner. Now that I have two kids in school that means I now have two lunches to obsess over every day. I came up with a system that, three days in, I absolutely love! Every month the school sends home a menu for the entire month. I had both kids pick out the lunches they wanted to eat from the school. Then I made a chart to keep track of lunches and suppers. (See my lovely chart above)
I took a loose leaf piece of paper, put the dates 1 - 30 down the left side and then made two columns. The first column is lunch and the second is supper. I wrote HOT on the days both kids wanted hot lunch. If Bryce wanted it and Hannah didn't I wrote HOT/whatever I wanted Hannah to have for lunch...PB&J with yogurt, for example. I reversed the order if Hannah wanted hot lunch and Bryce didn't.
I made a separate list of all of the dinners I know we all like and that I don't need to a recipe to make. Things like tuna and noodles, tacos, spaghetti, etc. I came up with something like 25 dinner ideas. I decided I wanted to try and incorporate about 10 new recipes a month, more or less depending on the month. So, I plugged the dinners I know how to make into my schedule on the right side of the sheet. I tried to put dinners like spaghetti on the menu the night before one of the kids wanted cold lunch. This way they can take left overs to school instead of ham and cheese or PB&J.
I also added in notes for nights when I won't be home. Luckily September is not as busy of a month during the evenings. The kids have swimming but we're home early enough to get dinner on the table. Hockey starts in October so I'll have more crock pot dinners listed then. I also made sure I added some things from the freezer that I already have set up.
Speaking of food in the freezer, I'd like to get some breakfast items in the freezer. I'm thinking of having a pancake, muffin and waffle day. I'll make huge batches and put them in the freezer for school mornings. Homemade is so much healthier than the alternative!
So that's my meal planning idea for this year. Hopefully I can stick to it. I would much rather take one hour in the beginning of the month to plan rather than taking several hours every week, which what I've done previously. It's not rocket science but meal planning can be a major decision making venture, at least it is for me.
I'm always looking for new tried and true, family friendly recipes. If you have any please share!!


La said...

Wow! I'm impressed. You've inspired me to give meal planning a try!

Heather said...

Impressive! I have started menu planning just recently and it makes everything so much easier and less stressful! Hopefully I can keep it up...

Jessica-MomForHim said...

I've got several recipes posted here:

And some freezer friendly recipes listed here:

I am not a meal planner by nature, but I've been trying it this year, too. I also do a month at a time, and switch when necessary. I hope it works for you and saves you some stress! :-)