Friday, August 10, 2012
Home Management: Simplified and Streamlined, Menu Planning
This week's focus was streamlining with menu planning. As I said last time, I have always been pretty consistent with having a menu plan (when you're almost 20 miles from the grocery store, it's not really optional!), but lately I've been feeling like I've been spending way too much time each week on the actual planning process.
I set out to change that this week by making a list of all our favorite dinners, organized by protein. Inspired by Stephanie at Keeper of the Home, I wanted to have a list of 21 meals.
As I scrolled back through almost 9 months of menu plans, I was amazed at how little variety we have compared to what I actually thought. We really do mostly rotate through the same meals with simple variations based on what I have on hand, and an occasional new recipe thrown in when creativity strikes. Seeing this, I was even more amazed at how much time I spend on menu planning every week. Ha!
Here is the list I came up with based on previous menu plans. It is actually 23 meals instead of 21.
Biscuits and gravy
Homemade pizza (gluten free, whole wheat)
Cheeseburger Potato Casserole
Seared steaks with cream sauce
Italian roast beef over pasta
Shredded beef tacos
Country Fried Steak
Potato Soup (with turkey bacon)
Garlic chicken pasta
Slow-cooker orange chicken
Sherry’s Aussie Chicken
Homemade chicken nuggets
Easy Breakfast Casserole
Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
Rice and beans
I think having this list on hand when I do my menu planning each week will help a lot. If we eat the same bunch of things all the time, there's no sense in spending a few hours trying to decide what we should eat. ;)
Week 9 Project:
This week, we'll be focusing on streamlining breakfast and lunchtime. I know in our house, we eat a big breakfast most days and it ends up taking a long time between cooking, eating, and then cleaning up the mess. Lunch is usually pretty quick, but some days we end up having "snacks" for lunch and we don't really have substantial snacks around--so Ben ends up being hungry. I think my attempts at streamlining will be focused on doing more preparation ahead of time for breakfast and lunch, and planning better for lunch each day.
I'd love to hear what suggestions you all have for serving healthful, hearty meals at breakfast and lunch without spending enormous amounts of time in the kitchen!
Be sure to visit Rachel at Intentionally Simple to see her two week menu plan!