Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Menu Planning

A few weeks ago, we decided to try to plan our dinners in advance. It seems like everything went crazy around the end of summer and I needed some help!

In June, my husband got custody of his son, which means we have a 16 year old living with us full time, instead of just weekends. In July, I started a new job. In August said 16 year old started his sophomore year of high school and joined FFA. In September, drivers' ed started. Life has just been crazy and honestly, the simple task of deciding what was for dinner was the tipping point. So, my step son and I decided to sit down and create a few weeks worth of menus. One of his weekly chores is cooking dinner one night a week. I let him pick what he cooks, but that's just me transferring that decision on him. It's not any easier for him to decide. With our meals planned in advance, neither of us has to deal with that decision on a daily basis and we have less food waste.

Coming up on week 5, we have learned some lessons. For the most part, it has worked out well. We have had a couple of substitutions and one night where we scrapped it all together and picked up take out. But we had some successes as well. Our best week was the week of Labor Day.

Monday: Chicken wings, potato skins with bacon, green onions, and cheese, broccoli
Leftovers saved: inside of potatoes, bacon crumbles, green onions
Tuesday: Loaded potato soup (using the scooped out insides of the potato skins and the bacon crumbles)
Wednesday: Chicken leg quarters, steamed carrots, egg noodles
Leftovers saved: Chicken, carrots
Thursday: Roasted Turkey Thighs, corn on the cob, green beans
Leftovers saved: Turkey, corn, green beans
Friday: Chicken/Turkey Pot Pie using the leftover chicken, turkey, carrots, green beans and corn

This worked for us because it was a very simple grocery list and ingredients were used in multiple meals. It also allowed us to re-purpose leftovers and make them more interesting.

Other weeks were less successful, but this was a learning experience for us and now we're looking at planning the next six weeks. I'm also going to teach my stepson the miracles of the crock pot! I see meals of beef roasts in our future, and using leftovers for Beef Manhattans the next day.

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