Meal Planning Made Easy-
by Katherine Denton
The hardest part of making dinner is figuring out what to eat!
All credit for Meal Planning Made Easy! goes to my husband, Stephen. He is the best cook, grocery shopper, and food taster (actually Tate is right behind him) in our home.
I don’t know about you, but we had some of the pickiest children when it came to dinner time. The children considered our food to be “fancy” (meaning it wasn’t prepared in the microwave or out of a box). Tired of the complaining and punishments doled out during meals, we knew something had to change. And that would be the children! We were fed up…
As a family, we sat down and everyone began writing down their favorite meals on index cards. The kids wrote down theirs too. Stephen had the bright idea to let each child choose one meal they wanted to have each week. Stephen and I would choose as well and then the other two nights were to be a mix of leftovers and dining out.
Initially, we just wrote the meal on the front. Then Stephen started writing the instructions on the back. Before I knew it, Stephen came up with a color system to identify what meat/non-meat was featured. This really helped because we always ended up with lots of chicken dishes leftover. Right now we have about 60 cards. We do from time to time vote on a meal. In our house the majority rules. My husband and I have lost some pretty good recipes in this manner, but we prepare these on special occasions when it is just the two of us. Rare, but it does happen.
This system can be very straightforward like ours or you could really make it cute. You could use nice recipe cards and different colored pens to identify the meat /non-meat dish. Ours is very utilitarian. If you look closely, you will notice the tell-tale signs of blackberry sauce and use.
We keep the cards in a pitcher by the cookbook stand. Once a week we all choose our meal and place our choice in the ceramic hand. When it is time to go to the grocery store, we gather the cards and write down the ingredients we need on a custom-made grocery list for our local Macon Kroger. Again, many thanks to my husband. He has all the makings of an awesome professional organizer! Here is one that you can alter to match your local store. Grocery Shopping List
We keep a copy on the fridge and the kids know to write what they need on it. We also keep our coupons with our paper list so that we can remember to use them. I am so bad at remembering that I usually staple them to the corner of the list. When the meal is over, we put it in a magnetic container on the side of the fridge… not to be seen again for almost 2 months time.
Cheers to dinners where everybody is happy!