Just wanted to give fair warning - some of you may not be interested in this post at all! People ask how I cook dinner with a busy life so here is how.
Sunday night I plan the menu for the week. I have a document on the computer with a table that has 1 row and 7 columns, 1 for each day of the week. I write in the dinner plan for each night of the week. I always plan two meals that will last us for 2 dinners. So whatever I make on Monday we also eat on Wednesday night. Same with two other nights in the week. I do try to space them out when I can so that we don't have to eat the same dinner 2 nights in a row. Before I had kids I hated leftovers. Now I am thankful for leftover nights. Often I will make a new veggie or side to go with the leftovers so that there is a little bit of a change.
As I plan the menu for the week I have my grocery list going at the same time. I have a grocery list saved on my computer. It is organized by aisle for the grocery Andy shops at in the order that he goes through the store. He organized that part of the list! The stuff we buy regularly is already on the list when I print it every week. If we don't need them on a set week I just cross them off. As I plan the menu I add the stuff we need to the list.
Generally we stick to the menu planning but some nights if what I have listed on the menu doesn't sound good I will swap it for something on the menu for another night. So the menu is flexible though if we have a t-ball game or Wednesday night church I try to have those night's be leftover night. As far as shopping at the grocery Andy is better than me about only buying what is on the list. So you won't come to my house and find a well stocked pantry. Towards the end of the week our fridge is getting empty. I don't stock anything really other that frozen chicken breasts and baking goods. I am rarely every to open a cookbook and make something not on my menu with the ingredients I have on hand.
I'm a planner but not always the most organized person. This seems to help me know what I'm making ahead of time. I'm not the type of person that can go through the day not knowing what I'm making for dinner that night. I do best having a plan since life is so busy! Maybe some of these tips will help! Here is a sample menu from last week:
Monday- Andy and I ate out w/ Ty b/c the other two boys were at a birthday party. Kind of like a date night!
Tuesday- Spaghetti, veggie tray (the last two weeks I've made a big veggie tray with a variety of veggies. It has been so convenient to pull out at dinner or while I am making dinner for everyone to have a healthy snack and get more veggies in.)
Thursday- Buttermilk pancakes, sausage, strawberries
Friday- hamburgers and fries, veggie tray
Saturday- was supposed to be homemade pizza but Andy is the pizza maker and he was busy with other projects around the house. Ended up being Pizza hut.
Sunday- greek salad w/ grilled chicken
Veggie tray week 1- broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, sugar snap peas
week 2- broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, red pepper, cucumber