How do we do it? We stay home, teach our children, clean house, and cook 2 or 3 meals a day. We plan ahead as much as we can, and we pay attention to what seems to work well for us and we learn from that, that is how we manage.
Menu planning is an important task that we can do to save time, money, and headaches. If you are like me, you have wandered into your kitchen and looked through your pantry cupboards, hoping for some inspiration! That's what I do when I don't know what to cook. I've learned the hard way that it is a good idea to spend a little time on a menu and grocery list. Of course there might come a time when you get so good at this meal preparation that you will decide not to plan menus.
There are several ways to plan meals and ways to not plan meals. The following is about Meal Categories, which basically, is a record of meals. If you like keeping records, then this record of meals is something that you can refer to during those large parts of your life when you do not plan meals, you just make them.
1. First, and this might take a few weeks or months, make a list of all your families favorite meals and dishes and place the meals in categories.
2. Optional- Assign the categories (examples below) to days of the week.
Example Meal Categories Assigned to Days
There are no set rules - categories do not have to stay attached to any particular day. The idea is to narrow down your choices of what to cook based on "something."
- Monday - Pasta Meal
- Tuesday - New Recipe
- Wednesday - Soup & Sandwiches
- Thursday - Legumes & Sides
- Friday - Fun foods (pizza, burgers,...)
- Saturday - Hearty soup & Corn bread
- Sunday - Blue Plate Special
- Monday - Chicken & sides
- Tuesday - BBQ & sides
- Wednesday - Creamy-type soup
- Thursday - Beans & sides
- Friday - Burritos & sides
- Saturday - Freezer food
- Sunday - Casserole & sides
Other possible categories; chicken entree; beef entree; pork entree; vegetable entree; Mexican food night; Italian food night; family night, busy day meals, and so on ...
Attaching Categories to Days of the Week
When attaching categories to days of the week, consider your busy days. I am sure that there are days when you have less time to spend in the kitchen. Make the categories fit your present time allotments so that you will not become overwhelmed.
Making the Records on Paper
Once you have the categories that suit your life and your family's taste, write each category on a separate sheet of paper. Sort your favorite recipes and /or the names of your family's favorite dishes and write them in the appropriate categories.
With your category sheets and your list of the days which you will cook certain things, you can prepare you menus and shopping lists. Keep records of your plans so that you can reuse them.