Thursday, July 10, 2008

Menu Planning

In the course of getting the household back on track I've been working to get back to a disciplined menu planning. So... I printed off a whole year of blank calendars. Any time any of us thinks of a favorite dinner I put it on the calendar after we decide if it's something we would enjoy every 4, 6, or 8 weeks. Then I just schedule it out for the rest of the year. So, yes I know what we're eating on June 23, 2009. Well, sort of. It's all a bunch of suggestions subject to creative whims and special sales, but it sure avoids the 5:30 and what's for dinner crunch I've encountered quite a few times recently! So last week I looked at the calendar to see what was there, added what I needed to the grocery list (which wasn't much, actually!) and headed off for a frugal shopping trip. Also, even though I've put each dinner on a different day, it's not really tied to that day. I just know that in the next 7 days I'm cooking those 7 dinners.

Now the fun part... I rarely cook a single batch of anything. Generally I do triple or quadruple recipes (except for the experimental blueberry lime jam muffins... it was odd to make a recipe and only use 3 cups of flour!). So, we had lasagna earlier this week and I made 3 of them. On the next two lasagna nights I added an "F" next to the lasagna so I knew it was in the freezer. We pretty much depleted all the backup stashes of food while we have been settling in, so the freezer (er, freezerS... we have 3!) is nice and empty and ready to stock up again. When I have the freezer stocked I really only end up cooking about 2x/week (shabbat extravaganza + one other night). Makes it pretty easy once you're on a roll.

So...... it feels good to be getting back in the saddle again with all the home organization. It keeps everything running peacefully and we have plenty of time to have fun too. :)


Andrew & Rebecca said...

OH MY! You make me look so aweful in the kitchen department. I WISH I was organized and could plan ahead like this. Cooking is something I've always detested and will do cleanup duty any day!
Your menu's are always so mouth watering. You should start posting recipes...maybe it'll motivate me! =)

Jesi and Joe said...

How funny that you posted this Kerith! Just two nights ago I was telling Joe I want to do something like this... although set my ambition a bit shorter and just hoped to do a week at a time... but I'm LOVING your long term plan and making extras and immediately freezing for use later. Hmmmm... so clever!

KE said...

Rebecca, if you come do the dishes I'll cook!!! :) I think my cooking time is more than compensated for by our bare bones front yard, and our less than bare bones back yard. And how often do you think I mop??? :)