Okay ladies, I am taking us on a little detour for a bit. I know we have been discussing decluttering and making our homes a haven, but I think we need to take care of something else first. It is really easy for me to get so wrapped up in cleaning or decluttering or whatever my project may be that I neglect some other duties around the house, especially what's for supper. So, we are going to work on this one because surely, I am not the only one this happens to. We are going to do a few things to help us with this. One, we are going to make a menu plan. This does not have to be extravagant or detailed and you can always change the days around later. This is just a basic list of what meals you have ingredients for and what you can prepare that day. It will also tell you at a glance if you need to do any prep ahead of time, like thawing your meat, etc. Second, we are going to start working on keeping our pantries stocked. This will help us in a couple of ways, first we will know we have the ingredients to cook for our families and second, it will save us from last minute trips to the grocery store which saves money and time. This is especially good when it is sleeting outside ;) Lastly, we will work on a master grocery/pantry list that will help us to KEEP our pantry stocked.
Okay, are you ready to tackle the menu. I want you to listen closely first, DO NOT let your pefectionism get the better of you. Here is the best way for me to do it. I first take a piece of notebook paper and write down all the meats I have available, sometimes I jot down sides too. I also include any beans for bean dishes, etc. After I have a basic list of what foods I have, (I said basic, not exhaustive) I get a blank calendar. I usually print one off my computer, but another piece of notebook paper will work. I fill in the dates and jot down any prior commitments we have, for example sports, church, family dinner, etc. Sometimes I will also list if I have something during the day so I know if it will be a hectic day for me and I want an easy meal that night, like a crockpot dish. Now, this next step is what can become time consuming if you let it. You look at your list of foods available and you write down meals on your calendar. It sounds simple, but I have been known to spend hours going through cookbooks and finding recipes I want to try and plug into certain nights. Don't do that this time. Just make a list of meals you can fix with what foods you have on hand, then plug those into your calendar on nights they will work. If you have an errand day, maybe that is a good night for a crockpot dinner. Right now, don't worry about making new, exciting dishes, just stick with the ones that you know your family loves and you know you have the ingredients to make. I usually try to make two weeks at a time, because that is how I do my grocery shopping. However, I have done a month at a time before too. You decide how long you want or can do right now. I have been asked before, "well, what if I write something down for a certain night and that morning I don't feel like making it?" Then switch meals around, it is your menu plan, you can do what you want. This is just a guide to remind you of what meals you can make and hopefully, to help you plan a little ahead so you can feed your family a nice, home cooked meal instead of having to run to the store or order pizza. Okay, any questions? Was that all as clear as mud?
I am off to work on my menu. After we have this step down, we will move on to stocking our pantry. One thing at a time my friends.