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Monday, October 31, 2011

Meal Planning For my Family

medival kitchen
Over the years I have employed a variety of meal planning methods. But I have gravitated back to a simple plan time and time again.
I have tried Menu Planning and Preparing the Shopping List to match. – I found I was spending way more doing this.
I have tried freezer cookingthis worked well when my kids were younger and I was at home more with them. I could take out meals early in the day to defrost. Now that I teach part time this no longer works for me.
I have tried the stocked pantry method. – This is probably my favorite way to cook. I shop with a basic list that has room to take advantage of sales. This works well if you can keep your pantry stocked.
But what works for me is to have a loose plan a weekly template for meals. This allows me to have flexibility while still knowing what is for dinner. This allows me to take advantage of any sales, or finds at the Farmer’s Market.  Having theme nights allows me to be flexible in my scheduling, So our busy night is my crockpot night. If I had to choose from the other methods above I would say it is the Stocked Pantry Method.
Here is what a basic week looks like for us.
Monday -  A roast (a natural roast usually in the crockpot if it is hot outside), or a whole chicken. I prefer whole chickens because I will then use the carcass Overnight Crockpot Broth,
Tuesday -  Is our soup/salad/sandwich night. It is also the night that all of us have an activity. By assembling the soup in the morning and putting it in the crockpot it is ready when we get home at 4pm. A quick change for soccer and dance and a mug of soup or a sandwich and we are out the door. As people come home from dance/soccer/church (Deacon G) people can have more soup if they choose or a grilled cheese sandwich.
Wednesday  Is a day home for us, but I like to keep it easy by doing a meatless meal.
Thursday  Is our breakfast for dinner night. For us that means something with eggs, frittatas, baked pancakes, buckwheat crepes, possibly some bacon or sausage. I am lucky in that this is the meal that my dear husband now cooks for everyone. Which is great since being a deacon’s family, Sunday’s mornings are not lazy breakfast days.
Friday is a meatless day too, but we usually go with a Mexican theme theme. With a build your own burritos.
Saturday is a day off from cooking for me. A great day to have our left over buffet and finish up anything in the fridge.
Sunday has seen the return of Sunday Dinner for us. Depending on Deacon G’s schedule on an given Sunday we will be home for mid day. We have a main meal at dinner time (1pm – in our family).  With one in Sunday school in the morning and the girls having youth group on Sunday night it works best for us and has been a nice treat.

Do you plan menus ahead of time? What is your plan for what to put on the table?

This post is linked up to Frugal Fridays


Lacey said...

This is really interesting to me. I do the 'pre-plan meals and match the grocery list' but I really do find myself exceeding the budget a LOT. Perhaps I should give your approach a whirl for a month and see if it makes a difference. Thanks for the tip.

Lisa - the Granola Catholic said...

Let me know how it works Lacey, I am curious to see what happens to the budget. BTW, tonight I came home from coaching my son's soccer team to farm fresh eggs, bacon and potatoes, thanks to my dear husband. He gets cooking duty now on Thursday nights.

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