I hope you had a chance to read the first meal planning blog -- from when our house was a wild and crazy "junior high and high school kids" house!
This installment is really our current version of meal planning...based on the same old homestyle cooking -- but with deference to the fact that Matt loves variety (and my mom who lives with us does too!).
Fall is in the air -- and that means -- meal planning! And, the last few years it is more directly related to harvest with Matt's job...and all that goes with that!
**SECOND VERSION** So -- now I look for some additional variety -- and still hit on the favorites. Actually -- when you are making out your list, I bet you will be able to keep adding to it until you realize that you have more meals than days! It's pretty entertaining to realize how many things you can make if you are just making a list --- and not in the midst of a busy day racking your brain for what to make NOW. I swear -- one of the hardest parts of being an adult is deciding what to eat EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. Forever. --- Not to be dramatic of course. So, I start with a sheet of paper and write down meals. Either willy-nilly as they occur to me -- or in themes...but either way, at the end I organize them as "like" items. For the start of harvest this year my list is as follows -- already broken up into themes. These are just our favorites -- and also chosen for variety and they will freeze well for lunches as Matt takes leftovers every day for lunch! (This also shows that I designated a "type" for each day of the week)
Monday - Homestyle hamburger gravy meatloaf swiss steak (click link for my recipe!) beef/mushrooms/noodles (click link for my recipe!) beef roast tator tot casserole beef stroganoff Tuesday - Mexican beef enchiladas chicken enchiladas taco ring (click link for my recipe!) fajitas super nachos
Wednesday - Pasta tuna and noodles cavatini spaghetti lasagna chicken alfredo chicken parmesan with pasta Thursday -- Sandwiches BBQ Beef BBQ Pork taverns rachels tuna melts Friday - no meat -we have a lot of weekend events so Fridays and Saturdays also hit pizza and leftovers shrimp scampi fish sticks shrimp alfredo tuna/egg salad Saturday/Sunday's Grill steaks/burgers/chicken/chops/brats/Ricke sausage After this list is done -- I take a free printable calendar page for each month that I print off and fill in events that will affect meal times -- and start plugging them in. At this time, if it is a wedding weekend, I plan something easy for "prep day" and we wing it on wedding day! Also, nights with meetings I plan something easy for mom and I early that will reheat well for Matt when he gets home. I like giving days a theme -- only because it makes for a mental 'reason' for having those days. Just keeps me from having like three sandwiches in a row -- because you KNOW that could happen! Last, let me tell you that I am not militant on the schedule -- but it is a really really good outline, helps plan the grocery list, and even when it doesn't "sound good" -- if you make what's on the schedule it tastes good -- and it is done. And, some days that is all I'm looking for! Hahaha! Also -- we still do order out, swap in pizza (hehe), and sometimes just plain make something totally different if the urge and time allows! This is just a way to help tame the "eating out budget" when life gets hectic and mental fatigue makes meal planning every day seem like a huge chore. I learned long ago that when I stress about this -- I am the only one stressing (Matt is happy with whatever!) And, it really doesn't matter in the long run - just gotta feed the family! So, use it if it is a tool that is helpful -- but for goodness sake, don't stress it! (order a pizza!) Have a happy and SAFE harvest! Sara <3