After a few weeks off from posting our menus, I've decided to post it this week. I've had menu plans throughout the holidays, but during those busy weeks I had to prioritize whether I was going to do it or post about it... couldn't do both!
This has been one of those Monday mornings where everywhere I look around me there is something left undone. Little piles that need to be organized, chores that need to be finished, children that need to be taught! We spent quite a chunk of time this weekend working on adoption paperwork, so other chores didn't get done (and rightly so!) So now, it's come home to roost.
I can't tell you how glad I was, in the midst of things this morning, to flip open my "menu planning" binder in my kitchen and refer to my already-planned-out month of January to see what's for dinner tonight. I've never planned for a month before, but I'm loving it!
Here's how I did it. I sat down New Year's weekend and made a list of the recipes our family has enjoyed the most over the past year under these categories: beef, chicken, meatless, sandwiches, pork, fish, soup and sides. (I did this in Excel because it is easier to have columns and fill them in.) Then I printed a blank January calendar and filled in each week with 3 or 4 recipes, choosing from the different categories to give it variety. I've left room in a couple of weeks to plug in our US geography dinners (we're catching up on that subject in school... it'll be a couple of weeks before we're ready to cook again). As I come across recipes I want to try in the future, I print them out or write which book they're from on a sticky and I've been putting them behind my "master list" in my menu planning binder so I can use them as I plan future months. Also, my daughter and I found this GREAT new cookbook we want to start cooking out of called Deceptively Delicious (which shows you how to "hide" veggies in common recipes... so fun!) so I'm adding new recipes from that to my plans in the coming weeks.
I've never planned weeks ahead because I didn't want to lose "spontaneity," but now that other parts of my life are more nutty it sure has been a comfort to have a plan from a couple of weeks ago. I'm sure others of you have done this forever, but it was new to me. :)
Okay, here's what we're having this week:
Lunch: turkey burgers, Flat Earth chips, fruit
Dinner: slow cooker chili (FIFI p. 39), corn bread, salad
Lunch: mozzarella sticks (DD p. 91)
Dinner: Teriyaki chicken (FIFI p. 178), rice, stir fried vegetables
Lunch: grilled cheese sandwiches (DD p. 135), veggie chips, fruit
Dinner: Mini meatloaves, green beans, corn
Lunch: tuna salad pita pocket sandwiches