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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Menu Planning

     As part of my "New Beginning" for January, I wanted to start meal planning in an effort to stick to a budget, and stop eating out so much.  It was getting a little crazy how much we were eating fast food or out during the holiday season.  I justified it by telling myself we were so busy, I had more pressing things to do, etc.

     This will be a good way to work on my will and our rhythm, also.  I really have to will myself to make a meal plan every week, grocery shop every week, and - the most challenging - actually make those meals, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack!

     Back to basics.  Cheap and easy, tried and true.

     In order to make this work, I have to take baby steps.  Trying to make a month long meal plan of 31 different meals is not going to work for me.  At least not right now.  So I am going back to basics.  I will use the meals I know best, aren't super expensive, and my family will eat.  And I will limit myself to only a handful of selections.  Also, I'm going to allow myself a little grace, schedule in a pizza night, and not beat myself up if I slip every once in a while.

     The best way for me to do this, is to make a meal plan that has a general theme of the day, and repeats somewhat.

The plan

Monday - Some sort of Mexican meal.  Tacos, burritos, taco ring, etc
Tuesday -  Pasta.  Spaghetti, buttered noodles, lasagna...
Wednesday - Chicken.  Chicken and cous cous and peas, or quinoa, or stuffing, or noodles.
Thursday - meatloaf.  Every week.  (I make several at a time and freeze them to cook each week)
Friday - PIZZA DAY!  We order pizza, pick it up, and enjoy pizza and a movie.
Saturday -  Quick and easy.  Pigs in a blanket,
Sunday - Comfort food.  Pork chops, pot roast, that kind of thing.

     I put all my meals into my Homeschool Planner (available HERE) on Friday, make my grocery list, go shopping, and do any prep work over the weekend (like making extra meatloaves, hamburgers, separating hamburger or chicken from the bulk packs).

     If possible, put the plan on a chalkboard, dry erase board, etc somewhere prominent.  I have a large dry erase board in my dining room with our meal plan, notes, grocery list, and homeschool notes.  Having it available to everyone really helps eliminate the "what are we having for dinner?" questions twenty times a day, and also allows my husband and I to be on the same page.  If he knows we are having spaghetti and I need some help, he can throw the noodles in the pot for me until I'm available.