Welcome to 2011. I am welcoming in new year with open arms. I sat down the other day with a new calendar with the hopes of planning out a couple of weeks of January. I know that once school starts back, the family will be off and running. I also found out toward the end of last year, that I don't plan my meals, we don't eat as well during the week. I sat down with the calendar, and I was able to easily sketch out a month's worth of meals. I surprised myself. Now, I will see how much things change during the month. Right now I am planning on the family eating in at 6 nights a week. That will be a challenge. However, after the holiday, we need to eat in. If you start meal planning this year, try to keep some things in mind as you plan.
1. Start with planning a week at a time. Don't try a month to begin with. A week is plenty.
2. Make a grocery list on the weekend, shop and get all you need for the week, and then group your ingredients together in the pantry and fridge. It helps me stay organized.
3. Use the weekend (or evenings if you would rather) to pre-prep what you can for the week. My Thursday meal will almost always be made on Sunday.
4. After dinner each night, pull out what you need for the next night. I don't know how many times I have forgotten to pull meat out for the next day, because I forgot to plan ahead a bit.
5. Look at your schedule:
- Sunday: Homecooked Meal Night: I love trying new recipes and cooking a big dinner. This is a tradition that Clay brought from his house growing up. I have grown to love it. I try a lot of new recipes on Sunday afternoons.
- Monday: Dance until 6:30 (Crockpot works best- girls are HUNGRY with they get home)
- Tuesday: Home around 4:15- I enjoy cooking, but nothing to intricate
- Wednesday: All home around 6. We are coming from two different places and activities with the kids.
- Thursday: I'm a tired. . . so this is a night were I want something prepared and ready to go in the oven.
- Friday/ Saturday: I will cook one of the two nights. Meal is planned for one or the other, but the other night will be to eat out.
So, knowing that - here is what I have figured out for us:
- Sunday- cooking a big meal
- Monday- Crockpot Night
- Tuesday- Cook, but low maintenance
- Wednesday- Crockpot, or Sandwiches
- Thursday- Make-Ahead Meal (made on the weekend)
- Friday/ Saturday- Family Favorites
5. Post your schedule on the fridge. I use a calendar. I try to make notes as the week goes on so I can see what works and what doesn't.
Here is a template for the year: