New this week on Shopaholic Mommy we will be doing Menu Planning! Momofthree has some amazing ideas for us! Grab a calendar… here we go!
Mark the middle of the month to get your plan together for the entire next month. By completing it early you will have time to make your shopping list and gather everything you need so there are no excuses. It is easier to plan a month at a time, but let’s not burn out… start with planning five meals at a time. By this, I mean to make five meal cards up at a time so you stick with it until you have 30 complete meal cards.
There are a few ways to get this done. The first thing you need to do is make is a list of 30 dinners to rotate. This is a great time to get your family involved. I always object to being a short order cook but asking for everyone’s “orders” upfront will go a long way in getting rave reviews. Besides, I think the most stressful question a mom can hear is “What’s for dinner tonight?” Especially when it’s asked at 5pm on the way through the door after a long, busy day.
After you have input from your family you can get rolling. I used a combination of recipe/index cards and post-it notes. Write the recipe (no matter how complex or simple) on the front of the card and a list of ingredients for your shopping list on the back. Mark each card with a colored sticker or initials in the top right hand corner to indicate which family members “ate it up.” This is important to weed out those recipes which aren’t enjoyed by all… again to help cut out the short order cook problem.
After the recipe cards are complete use the post-it notes and your calendar to schedule your meals. Put the dates (1-30) on the post-its and play a matching game with your calendar until you have good matches. You will know the nights that have less prep time available as well as those you may enjoy spending a little more time putting together a healthy, sit down meal with your family gathered around the table. With the post-it notes on the meal cards you can simply swap dates if you find the schedule changes. Once you make it through a month you will remove some unsuccessful meal cards and you will also find a few staple dinners which your family wouldn’t mind repeating during the month. It is an ongoing process but the sooner you make up your meal cards, the sooner you will feel less stress in the kitchen when your family call out that most endearing question.
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