One of the most stressful parts of motherhood is when my kids are surrounding me asking me what’s for supper and I have no idea because I have next to little “supper-type” foods in my kitchen and no plan. This usually happens to me after I have a long stretch of being a productive cook in the kitchen… followed by me being lazy because I think I have “earned” not having to provide meals. *insert monkey covering face ashamedly emoji*
I love when we sit down and everyone enjoys the meal I’ve cooked. It is one of my favorite times of the day. I also love searching for recipes and being in the kitchen cooking, but I do get lazy sometimes. There are times that I get out of the habit and then I feel as if I’ve completely forgotten what meals we even like, or how to plan a week’s worth of meals. If you are in this season, I hope this post helps jump start you. If you are in a season of productive planning and executing, I hope this post helps keep you inspired.
I usually sit down with my cook books, recipes, and computer either on a Friday (if I’m on top of my game) or Sunday (if I get a wee-bit lazy ;)). I’m all about making the normal, mundane enjoyable, if I can, so I pour a cup of coffee or tea, play some classical music, and light a beeswax candle as I plan my week.
I write down my days on a piece of notebook paper. I jot down important events that I need to consider when planning- evenings when the girls have dance, evenings when Mark will be late, evenings when we will have guests, etc. This helps me remember to plan slow-cooker meals on days when we have dance and double my recipes on evenings when we might have guests.
I try to keep a list of recipes that work well made ahead and left to themselves to cook. These are wonderful for evenings when we have dance and arrive home at supper time. Since we have entered the fall season, these mostly include soups/stews, one pot recipes that simmer for several hours, sloppy joes, homemade calzones, taco twists, etc. These things can be made ahead and left, or I can make them, throw them in the fridge, and reheat them within 15 minutes of arriving home.
I wrote a list of these things, so I can quickly throw them on the menu for the days when we will need them without having to put much thought into it. I also have a list of family favorites, which include meals such as- tacos, lasagna, pizza, steak, and hamburgers to name a few, that I will add to the rest of our week/month menu since they are always well-received by everyone. I like to try at least 1 new recipe/week to keep things fresh and add to our rotation of recipes. I will share my favorite resources for recipes in my next post and also link to a few of my favorite recipes.
Many years ago, my sister recommended that I pick themes for each day of the week. At the time, I had itty-bitties underfoot and I needed to streamline all of the things! If you are in this season, picking themes helps sooooo much. This is what my themes looked like once upon a time:
Sunday: Roast with veggies OR hamburgers
Wednesday: New Recipe
Thursday: budget meal (a cheap meal to help bring down grocery costs)
Friday: Homemade Pizza (I have my crust recipe in the “recipe” section of my blog)
Saturday: Sandwiches and Leftovers
I was tired and didn’t have much brain energy to think of different recipes every week, so I just stuck with the same basic recipes. It worked fine and we all survived. 🙂 Now, I like to switch things up a bit and we eat a lot more veggies with our meals. I always dice/chop veggies and throw them in wherever I can. I also chop a lot of raw veggies to eat on the side. My kiddos love raw carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers, so those get eaten quite often with our meals. I will toss a quick salad to enjoy with our main dish, too, but I’m not the best at making sure we have 2-3 side dishes. We seem to make do, so I don’t stress too much. I would like to get better about that as time passes, though.
I think that’s enough to digest for now, so I will leave it at that. One thing I’ve recently started doing, and then I will save the rest for another time, is saving my weekly lists of meals that way if I am in a pinch and don’t have time to meal plan I can pull an old one out and call it a day. This doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, having those weeks already planned makes things easier.