Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What's for Dinner?

When I started homeschooling last fall, I decided I should probably get my act together with some time management ideas. The one that stuck best was menu and grocery planning. Using my datebook to keep track of what we were going to eat for dinner everyday kept me from dreading 5 o'clock everyday. I learned to enjoy fixing dinner every night because I never had to dig through the pantry to see what's there. It's also certainly cheaper to plan out meals in advance, rather than simply finding the fastest and easiest solution. It even helped me maintain my weightloss from last winter.

Sadly, though, when things started getting crazy, visiting family and being gone more nights then we were home between Thanksgiving and New Year's, my menu planning kinda fell by the wayside. And so did my healthy cooking and eating. I gained a few pounds (just 3 or 4) and the kids certainly didn't have the healthy meals I was proud to serve most days.

So... I have determined to get back to my meal schedule. It's not a resolution, I don't really do those, but it is something that's easy to change since the hub-bub of the holidays is gone. And since I'm getting back to this, I thought I'd share. Maybe you could use the encouragement or you can just keep me accountable. Anyway, here's the plan:

I typically do my shopping on a Saturday, since Kevin can keep a couple of kids and make the trip that much easier. I find it works best for me to go right after payday so DH doesn't think we have a budget surplus and do something crazy like overpay the mortgage;) Before I shop, I sit down with my calendar for the next two weeks and a list of 10-15 possible meals.

First I fill in all the high-pressure evenings: AWANA night, small group, any event we might have that makes dinner rushed. Those get meals like quesadillas and pizza. Anything that can be thrown together and eaten quickly or even grabbed on the way out the door. Then I fill in meals that typically are easy to make in bulk for the freezer or can be turned into something else later in the week. Then I fill in the rest of the week making good use of leftovers and crockpots. All of this takes me about 30 minutes, definitely a small price to pay for such a lifesaver.

Here's what this week looks like:

Sun Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
Mon Tacos
Tues Chicken Mushroom Pasta
Wed Quesadillas
Thurs Leftovers
Fri Pizza
Sat Chili

The chili will be use later in the week for nachos, and the chicken for the sandwiches was made in the crockpot, half used that day and half used in the quesadillas.

Tomorrow, I'll show you how to make this yummy chicken and mushroom pasta. Super easy and Super fast.

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Mom to four beautiful blessings including a brand new little guy. Laugh and cry with me as I navigate the joys and perils of motherhood and homeschooling.