"Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away?"

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Friday, June 29, 2012

Menu Planning

        I have decided to give menu planning a try. I hate the age old question of "Whats for dinner?". Trying to scramble at the last minute and get food on the table. I don't have a lot to cook for anymore. My kids are grown, but I still have 2 sons at home and my husband. That's a dramatic drop from the 7 I was cooking for.
I have been doing a lot of research on the different methods. Some create themes, such as Pasta night, or Crockpot night. I thought this sounded interesting, but I kinda hated to limit myself to certain meals on certain days. To be honest there are days its just "fend for yourself" night. But they are all adults, and there's always left-overs. They also know how to cook. My Daughter-in-law told me the first time my son tried to make mashed potatoes. Mashing them before cooking is not a very good idea,lol. But when he was little, I was younger, and had more energy. I took care of everything for them. A behavior that I have also gotten on to my husband in the past. When the boys were teens, if a car needed fixed, he did it. He didnt want to take the time required to teach them how to do it. On hind site, that wouldnt have been a bad idea for the girls as well.  But I digress.
        The method I opted on required me to start a folder on the computer. I listed  all the meals I fix for my family. I then started separate files for main meals, soups, sides, breads, and desserts. In each file, I numbered the dishes. If I found a recipe online I wanted to add to my mainstays, then I copied the address, then pasted into the next numbered slot. That way when I am trying to work up a menu, I can just click on the link for directions. Once we try these new meals, then I will probably print it out and slip it into a notebook I started for recipes I have printed off the various sites on the web. If we dont like it, then out it goes.
    Some people also plan their menu's for a month at a time, or  just for a week. Since I shop weekly, I decided to just do a week at a time. In my notebook, i will write my initial plan for the week. Then when completed, I plan on using a dry erase marker to transfer it to the new board I created with scrap book paper. I still have to get a magnetic frame so i can stick it on the fridge, but for now I slipped it into a plastic sleeve protector. Then you just write on the plastic over the designated days of the week, and wipe off later. Some people even frame these in regular frames and stand them on the counter. The meal plan I write on paper with stay in the notebook, and eventually I can just rotate these and save lots of work.
    By the way, I still plan on a few "fend for yourself" days, meaning empty slots on the menu  :)

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