Monday, January 10, 2011

Menu Planning Monday

I wanted a photo to go along with my menu posts and can you believe I found this??? Black cat and all??!!
This beautiful piece of art is called Kitchen Cat and is by Diana Woods.
I perused her website and have now decided I need this in my kitchen!!
I'll let you know how it goes! 

While I have not had complete success with menu planning over the years, I have had enough success to keep trying.  As we return to our normal schedules, I really really NEED to not have to decide what's for dinner every. single. night.  I have no idea why this drives me crazy...but it does.  I also feel like a chicken with my head cut off when I leave work to begin all my after school duties and still have to make a decision, run to the grocery store, get home, cook, clean up, homework etc.  Things are a little calmer when the dinner decision is pre-made.

I tried a monthly menu many years ago.  There is no bigger nightmare than trying to grocery shop for a month's worth of groceries.  It is especially impossible to get all the fresh things; then I would forget what I had and didn't have...and still be running around like a cukoo head.  At some point I moved to a weekly menu plan which goes pretty well, but it seems as soon as I have it all planned and organized, it's time to plan and organize again, and then menu planning begins to feel like laundry. 

After I read though all the Weekend Cooking posts at Beth Fish Reads this past weekend, and particularly BermudiaOnion's post about the Fix It and Forget It Cookbook, I made some hopefully realistic decisions about our daily menus:

1.  Try a 2 week menu plan. 
2.  During the week, eat crock-pot meals, casseroles, soups or some other one dish meals. 
3.  Save weekends for favorite meals or new recipes that take a little more time and desserts.
4.  Strengthen our commitment to eating at home rather than eating out.
5.  USE my cookbooks (I have a TON!!)
6.  Get this post up a lot earlier ;)
7. Eat earlier (The Head of My Household's only request)

Here's my general rundown for the next two weeks so far:

Monday (tonight) - chili and cornbread muffins
Tuesday - PW's pot roast (family favorite) w Caesar Salad
Wednesday - Crock-Pot Barbeque Chicken (Fix It and Forget It)
Thursday - gonna call this casserole night
Friday - chicken fajita tacos (so my middle child will quit asking for it)
Saturday - Christy Jordan's Steak and Milk Gravy, Christy Jordan's Chocolate Cobbler
Sunday - Crawfish Soup (so my oldest child will quit asking for it)

Monday - Crock-Pot Pork Chops and Rice
Tuesday - Beef Stew from my buddy Paula
Wednesday - Chicken Tetrazinni (Fix It & Forget It)
Thursday - casserole night
Friday - Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
Saturday - hamburgers, PW's potato skins, PW's apple dumplings
Sunday - Christy Jordan's Chicken and Dumplings

I reserve the right to make any last minute changes I feel the need to make...I might not be in the mood for a casserole one Thursday ;)
This will be a challenge for me, but it's worth it to keep trying because when it works, my family reaps the benefits.


  1. I know what you mean, the leave-work-shop-cook-help with homework-while cooking-makes me a little crazy also. I like to have an idea of what to make before and usually try to menu plan two days ahead of time. I hope this 2-week plan works for you. I do love the crock pot and soups!

  2. Oh I hear you - there comes a point every couple of months when I wander the supermarket aisles in despair, wailing, oh but we CAN'T have the same things all over again! And yet I have to have a lot of energy to really commit to a load of new recipes.

    It is hard work thinking up dinner every night. When I grew up, we had the same run of meals week after week - roast on Sunday, cold meat Monday, pie with leftovers Tuesday, breaded chicken Wednesday, etc. Being a domestic goddess seems so much more demanding than it used to be! Good luck with your two-week menu. I have to put lots of easy-prepare dishes in between the more demanding cookery projects, to keep my spirits up!

  3. I dream of a child who asks for things like Crawfish Soup instead of making gagging sounds at the mere mention of such exotic food. How does one get a kid like that?

  4. Can I come to your house for dinner? Sounds yummy! I always mean to get a menu planned but always fall flat. One of my least favorites things is to try and figure out what's for dinner tonight. You've inspired me to give a menu a try again.

  5. I'm impressed! Menu planning is something I am a complete failure at. When I plan ahead, I decide that I don't want that particular meal when it's time to cook it.