**disclaimer - I'm sure all you out there have bigger and better plans, eat totally organic, from your backyards, milk then butcher your own goats, would never dream of having pizza for dinner, etc. Just cut me some slack, I'm not perfect, don't make fun of me. I'm just hoping there is one person reading this that was as fed up (pun intended) with dinner time as I was. Here's to you:
The plan's first steps:
- Take a few minutes to cut index cards in half. If you're super cool, you'll have colored cards (or blank notes cards) and you can sort the colors for the next step.
- On each small card, write down one meal your family enjoys, or wants to enjoy. Think of everything. Enlist your husband, kids, mothers. (cool people from last step - cards can be color coded: red for beef, yellow for chicken, green for meatless, blue for side dishes, you get my drift.)
- Put the ingredients on the back of the card. Don't waste writing out the recipe, just just down all of the ingredients the meal calls for.
- Find a cool place to store them. Not a recipe box - you'll never use that. I like the cheap Real Simple magnetic envelopes. They have a big pocket for all the cards, and a small clear pocket in front to display the week's choices.
- Add some variety! Subscribe to a great food catalog - Everyday Food (Martha Stewart) is one of my favorites. Or bookmark kraftfoods.com (the simplest recipes on the planet) or Hyvee.com. Or download a cool recipe app to your phone.
- Each Friday night, pull out meal selections for the next week. I usually select one extra meal just in case something doesn't sound good later. VARIETY - include in your meal selections 1 new recipe - main dish, side, dessert.
- Weekend - go grocery shopping. Take your cards with you - all your ingredients are listed. Or transfer the ingredients to one simple list. (again, Real Simple has way cool shopping lists)
- Weekend - start cooking. Look for meals you can make ahead of time and freeze. Double recipes, freeze. Make extra dry mixes and store in baggies for later (pancakes, cornbread, cookies, etc.) Take advantage of evenings at home to crock-pot your meat - throw a bunch of chicken in, then dice part, shred part, and freeze for later, for example.
Still feeling negative? I hope note. Here's just a glimpse of this week's menu: (Please note, this is not a "I have to impress people with my meal plan"-plan, this is about as boring and basic and "us" as it gets. Oh suuuuuure, we normally have roast duck and lots of meals that I only know the French titles for....so uh, yeah, anyway.)
Desserts - pound cake. Made double batch, so I have 4. Sounds like a lot, but pound cake can be used in a zillion ways. We like grilled chocolate and peanut butter pound cake "sandwiches", cinnamon pound cake toast (it's no worse than a donut, people), strawberries and whipped cream, etc.
More desserts - Mexican hot-chocolate cookies
So during the week I do a lot of dump, dump, dump, cook. Throw in a few sides, voila! Give it a try. I'll be posting freezer friendly meals each week. Be sure to share links to yours, too.