Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Meal Plans

I've got a bit of a question for you trusty blog readers, those of you who cook anyway.

First, let me give you a bit of background and my quandary.

I'm solely responsible for meals around the LB house. I got into cooking about three years ago and I'm fairly comfortable in the kitchen. Well, not entirely totally 100 percent comfortable because there are still foods and ingredients that confuse me (yeast, for instance) and a lot of times I still need recipes to make something. I can "wing it" sometimes but usually only when making Mexican food, since that's what I'm familiar and comfortable with.

But for the longest time now, I've felt a bit uneasy. I don't necessarily think I'm in a rut but it sure feels that way. So to help combat this feeling, I've decided to try something different. Although I'm not 100 percent sold on this idea.

Now that I don't have to referee soccer games, I have my afternoons free once more. I'm at home pretty much every day in the mornings although some of those days I do a bit of running around (literally and figuratively). Still, I have time both to do the shopping and cooking, and I'm actually looking forward to settling into a rhythm.

Which brings up my predicament. I've thought for the longest time to designate nights with certain dishes. For instance, have a pasta night, Mexican night, chicken night, etc. That would help me not only get more organized but also force me to try new things. If I have a chicken night, I can't keep making the same chicken dishes I normally make over and over again.

So, my question: is this an effective system?

I'm thinking right now of something like this...

Monday: Chicken
Tuesday: Mexican
Wednesday: ______
Thursday: _____
Friday: Pasta

Obviously there are some _____s there. Still trying to fill out the holes. I do have some thoughts:

Pork and/or Beef night
Ethnic night (Asian or some other type of ethnic dish)
Veggie night (not sure this would go over well, but I wouldn't mind doing it)

You won't see Seafood night on there because we don't care much for seafood. And we do breakfast for dinner every now and then, but not often enough to designate it as a weekly thing.

Anyway, help a blogger out! If you'd be so kind...


5thsister said...

Joe has Saturdays designated as family pizza night where he'll make pizza from scratch. When I'm off work I will help with sauces and toppings. It's become a tradition that the kids absolutely love.

Lissaloo said...

I love the pizza night idea, we do that on Fridays. A soup or crockpot night maybe?

thrasherswife said...

Great idea. I don't mind shopping and I don't mind cooking but I can't stand figuring out the meals. This Idea would help me narrow down what I'll use, and help stop the "Chicken, we ALWAYS have chicken..." I might have to steal this idea!

Willoughby said...

I think it's a good system as long as you have a plan in place for the nights that you can't or don't want to make what you had planned (or at least decide you won't freak out if you need to make a change). For example, I had planned to make subs for dinner one night last week and then found out that the ham was past it's exp. date. Another night, I had planned pasta but none of us were in the mood for it, so I made Chinese instead. Of course, maybe we're just flakier than the average family!

My husband and I enjoy cooking together, so Saturday nights at our house are usually reserved for a new recipe. We usually go for something ethnic.

thamesarino said...

My hubby is a cook and EXTREMELY picky so he actually does most of the cooking(for dinner) these days(a plus with my expanding belly and lower energy!), but we plan our weekly meals in advance.
We don't actually have every night planned (except for thursdays because they are a busy night with various activities) but we have 5 dinners "planned" and have all the ingredients for all of them in the pantry(or on the list before shopping). I think that we are too fickle(especially me right now) to make every Monday chicken or whatever, because we don't know what we'll want when... but we stick to the plan mostly for $ and convenience. We always have the "stuff" we need for dinner, but choose which one we'll have the actual day. I pull things out or prep when I have time during the day, to help. I think it would work to have it planned the same way every week if you don't have a bunch of picky people. But we just don't fall into that catagory at my house! : )
We also have one night a week that we call a fend(fend for yourself), which involves everyone having some kind of leftover, or pantry processed food like soup with a salad or something.
Good luck! I think that no matter how you decide to do it, having a plan makes it soooo much easier! :)

Angie Eats Peace said...

Pizza night is a great idea. We do homemade pizzas about once per week.

I definitely nominate a vegetarian night :)

Lisa said...

I was going to suggest pizza too. You can buy dough at Trader Joes and you just let it rise I believe. Comes in regular and wheat varieties.

Jackie said...

I think this is a great idea and now that I will be at home during the day I think planning is the way to go. We also have a Rodriguez Survival Night to get the left overs out of the fridge and for those nights I have a lot of extra school work. Let me know if you have any luck with any particular way!