In my former life, my “just a homemaker” life, I was (well, I am just going to say it) a ROCK STAR in the kitchen. I was constantly making new recipes, had dinner on the table most nights, and rarely made something that was a big miss. Maybe I am romanticizing it a little bit. But looking back on my kitchen routine back then, I really had it going on. And now that I am a “mom of two with one on the way homemaker” my kitchen life is considerably less rock star. I struggle to menu plan, to get dinner on the table, to not give into the urge to make something completely processed for dinner (or worse, go through the drive-thru one more time)…simply to FEED my family. I know it really shouldn’t be that way and that I need to do some work on my meal planning mojo. Here are the things I am committing to today (this month, and until baby comes and rocks my world again!) in terms of planning in order to end my menu planning woes.
Um…so that this the name of this blog. And God must have given it to me so many years ago now for such a time as this! I really have to get back to basics and here’s what I mean:
I sat down a couple of weeks ago and thought about why I struggle to get dinner on the table. And it really is that without a simple plan, I have NO idea what to do. I need to have something simple to follow, something that becomes so routine that I can get it done no matter what. So I started thinking along the lines of dinner ideas for each evening of the week. Yeah, it might get a little bit boring, but at least it won’t be forgotten. So here is my tentative (still needing tweaks) SIMPLE menu plan for each week:
Monday – Meatless meal – hoping to cut the budget and get some pasta type dishes in there on a regular basis because the girls and I really love it.
Tuesday – Eating out – I have to leave a little bit of room for error in our plans and we typically have an even harder time getting dinner on the table on Tuesdays. After teaching Bible study in the morning, I am pretty much tapped for the day (sad but true). Plus, two of our favorite family friendly restaurants run really good specials on Tuesdays for kids (so we spend less than we typically would)
Wednesday – Salad for dinner – We are all salad eaters around here and the salad possibilities are endless. And adding protein to the salads is really easy too! Plus I typically do my produce shopping on Wednesdays, so this is the perfect time to have the freshest ingredients.
Thursday – Taco night – We all like tacos and I love that the concept of tacos can be played with enough to make life seem a little more interesting. I mean a quesadilla counts as a taco, too (and it can’t get more simple than that)!
Friday – Favorite meals – This is the night for trying new and classic meals. This will be the day that I get in most of my new recipes. We don’t have to be in bed right at bedtime on Fridays, so if dinner takes a little longer, it is ok.
Saturday – Stir Fry – We love Asian flavors and I love playing with ingredients for stir fry. I love that this one has the versatility I desire while giving my family something that they really like. Our girls are serious rice-lovers and my husband loves siracha and soy sauces!
Sunday – Breakfast for dinner – I don’t get the opportunity on Saturday mornings to make the major breakfast and we go to church on Sunday mornings. But we all love breakfast foods, so this is a great way to sneak a special breakfast in each week.
So, this is the hard part for me! I have become much too reliant on outside the home solutions to my meal planning woes. A quick run through the drive-thru or too-easy processed meals from the grocery are WAY too common around here. So I am committing to eating more at home, coming up with easy solutions for lunches and snacks, too! And making sure I have what we need as a family AT HOME!
This one is a little more abstract, but my menu planning woes are very clear to every adult in our home. That means my husband has mentioned more than once that he is tired of eating out so much. He has mentioned that I just don’t cook as much as I used to. And he has been brainstorming on his own ways to help me get my mojo back. So I know that if I commit to blessing him by having dinner more at home, we will all be blessed. Part of what I need to make sure I am doing when I am planning my at-home menu is: focus on preparing things that we all love (including him). He is not a fan of pasta dishes – I know the easiest thing in the world to make! So I need to keep this in mind and bless him with things he likes. It cuts both ways though, because he is not allowed to complain when I do make pasta (because everyone else loves it!).
As for our girls, I have committed not to be a short order cook for them. They eat what we eat and we encourage their trying new foods whenever we can. With that in mind, I am still going to try to make them things I know they like. But I refuse to freak out when they refuse to eat dinner (another meal will be coming up really soon!).
Simply put: in the forefront of my mind when I am planning my menus is blessing my entire family…while realizing that doesn’t mean everyone is going to LOVE everything every night.
OK, that is what I am doing to end my menu planning woes! What is working for you? I would love to hear from you how you get dinner on the table every night!
This post was shared at Menu Plan Monday