Friday, January 29, 2010

The Dreaded : What is for dinner?

I normally do not mind this question, these days, but there were days with 3 little kids, or 2 and then sometime 4 - when those little people wanted my attention and I had none. Those were the days that I thought I was losing my mind. For the last 5 or so years I have put more effort into meal planning ahead of time, but there are still days that I am struggling to figure out dinner about 90 minutes before we plan to eat. Those days are never the good ones!

So, when Kristen told me of a recent speaker she heard, who plans her meals based on a list of about 84 meals that she rotates, it made me stop and ponder. Would it work? Would it be worth it to spend all that time planning and then just get tired of the rotation? Well, this particular person who presented this plan has been using it for about 9 years. That says a lot! She is a homeschool mom of 7, I think - so she is busy, she has lots of mouths to feed, and well has more on her plate than me - so why not give it a shot?

So, Kristen and I have been planning our meals together - her ideas and mine - we pick through each others and then make our own list. So here is my list:

sweet potato bean burritos
Lentils & Beef
Marinated Tilapia
Egg Plant Parm
Chicken Parm
Fish Tacos
Asian spring rolls
spaghetti & Meatballs
sausage and peppers
beans & rice
potatoe and sausage soup
ministrone soup
shepherds pie
cheesy potato soup
bean soup
Pork with rootbeer sauce
mexican bowtie pasta
baked ziti
fiesta burritos
baked tilapia
taco salad
southwestern egg rolls
Baked Potato
stir fry
Mediterranean chopped salad
chicken pot pie
chicken maribella
Potato corn Chowder
Sesame Noodles
Drunken Beans
chili relleno casserole
Mexican Mountains/nachos
cowboy casserole
Bourbon & Br Sugar Flank Steak
Red Beans & Rice

For Recipes go HERE to find most of my favorites. I have not organized them into weekly groupings, and honestly we have a veggie night at least every other Tuesday when I pick up veggies from my organic co-op. Normally we have more than one meatless night - about 3 on average I think. So I am going to take my list above and plan 3-4 meals a week from this list. We may plan something different for the weekend - like if we want to smoke something on Saturday or something. And I like to plan a crock pot meal for Sunday when we get home from church so we may get some soup out of the freezer for that. But overall I think we are going to use this master list to come up with about a 4 month rotation. Of course in the summer we will have more sandwiched and salads and in the winter more soups. But I hope this system works for our family, and if not, well then I have a list of all my favorites still in one place.

And the bottom line is, if I have a plan, then the evenings are a much easier time, and I am a much happier mama! So if this plan does not fit our family to a T - we will modify it and keep trying until we find the best solution!

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