Monday, January 21, 2013

Meal planning 101 (for the mama who would rather pretend she has a migraine than be in the kitchen!)

For me,  "meal planning" goes something like this...

4:32 (in my head) "oh's that time again..what the heck am I going to feed these people!  They expect food, again!!!"
4:38  go to bathroom (I think better on empty bladder)
4:46  dig through pantry 
4:48  dig through freezer
4:59  close enough to 5:00 for wine
5:17 wine kicks in, juices start to flow (the thinking kind)
5:43 chicken on the BBQ, veggies in the steamer.
6:00  call myself a rockstar for pulling it together one more time!

Well...lets just make this short and sweet since we all have at least one little one clawing at our legs right now..I've decided to dive in to meal planning.  The real kind.  The kind that happens on Sunday night, not at 4:32 every day.

Since I am what you would call a novice at this whole thing...wait, I used to do this, before kids when I was fancy schmancy and only worked until 3:00 and did I mention before kids???  So I went back to the drawing board and asked all of you smarty pants out there for some advice.

So here it is, broken down into meal planning 101!

Rhonda says...I've done it for years,, helps the aimless shopping sprees,,, only try and do about a week at a time,,, and try to cook enough one night where you can have leftovers in a day or so, if you plan to make a casserole or lasagna type meal,,, go ahead and make enough forv 2 ,,,, and freeze one,,,;)

Kelly...Have each family member choose a dinner for one night of the week. The cook chooses which item to make on a given night. Rule: can't choose any meal that was made the week before.

Carlyn...Crockpot! Need I say anymore

Hannah... I repeat my menu every two weeks. My family doesn't get too bored with my menu, but some families only repeat every 3 or 4 weeks.

Melissa...I look to see what I have in the freezer that needs used before I start my menu.

Colette...Great app for your ipad is Big oven. You can create grocery lists from your menu plan with a tap of the button!!! I love it! And I always struggled with menu planning.

Megan...(aka, my great friend and initial inspiration)  I keep the list of meals on a post it so I know what is coming, and I look to my calendar to see what nights I dont need dinner before I make my list

Allison...I use a food planner app. Love it. Tells me what to buy, I can even scan items so I can cost out my trips.
Great tips from my girls!!!  After one full week of my new lifestyle, I made a couple of mistakes and here is what I learned....

~look at your recipe in the morning because if it needs to be marinated for 4 plus hours, it wont work to start at 5:00 (yep did that)  
~If hubbie won't be home because he has a meeting, for gosh sakes DONT FOLLOW THE MEAL PLAN, make popcorn.  Learned this the night I was sitting eating a fancy meal with my little ones who would have rather eaten dirt.
~if you dont know what a "shallot" is, dont just put an onion in and call it close enough
~remember to turn the crockpot ON (nuff said)
To sum it all up, my first week was a total bust!  But I am not giving up...going to go make my list for next week!  
Please add your brilliant ideas to this list in the comments below!  
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