Monday, February 21, 2011
I know you probably don't want to read a post that has the word "winter" in the title. I'm sorry if I've scared you away -- but don't worry. It's more about the "menu" than the "winter." It just had a nice ring to it.
I also don't want to mislead you with the whole food idea. This is not a food blog -- that is my amazing sister's area of expertise. But I like to organize things. Including food. So here it goes.
I've finally discovered a menu plan that is working well for our family of six. I thought I'd pass it along to any other frazzled kitchen mamas out there who are tired of resorting to cold cereal for dinner (not that there's anything wrong with that . . . ).
Here's the plan:
I schedule three meals for the week. The first is soup (which I double), such as this super-yummy Ham and Potato Soup, this delicious Italian Sausage Soup or this scrumptious Chicken Tortilla Soup. We have it for dinner on Monday and then for lunch during the rest of the week. I can't believe how much time is saved at lunch! I set out the crockpot after breakfast, add Monday's soup, and by noon our lunch is ready. No prep and no scorched pots from failed reheating. It's heavenly.
On Tuesday I double a sandwich-ey or taco-ey type recipe so that on Wednesday (which is our crazy day) Drew has something quick to grab before heading out to youth group and I don't have to worry about pulling together a full dinner. Sometimes I'll begin with a roast on Tuesday (this one was amazing) and then it morphs into French dip on Wednesday (with tater tots, of course. We in the Lawson home are quite fond of tater tots. I tell you I was in raptures when Trader Joe's started to carry them.) This BBQ Pork sandwich recipe is also dee-lish.
That leaves Thursday and Friday. This is where I put the casserole dishes that take a bit more prep time, since my Thursdays are less hectic. So the lasagna, chicken tetrazzini, spaghetti, or meatloaf might end up on the menu toward the end of the week. Most of the recipes are doubled, leaving plenty of leftovers for the weekend. Sometimes that means a few of us have the spaghetti and the others might have the meatloaf, but nothing is wasted and I've found that doubling three recipes is usually more economical than adding a fourth.
I keep a master of family favorites on the computer so that when it comes time to make my menu I can easily pull from the list. Knowing what's for dinner eases up the day considerably. It's happy for the kids, it's happy for the daddy, and it's super happy for the mama. Because we all know that as soon as those lunch dishes are put away, someone is immediately going to ask, "Mommy? What's for dinner?!"
"One of the Family" by Frederich Cotman, 1880