Thursday, March 29, 2012

M is for Meals

...'cause with a family of 10 we NEED to plan those ahead of time.  I've tried a few different menu plans including a rotating calendar.  Most things worked short term, none worked long term.  What I found that works the best for me is to have many complete meals (including the sides) on a spreadsheet.  I have 6-8 weeks worth of different meal ideas that look something like this.

Wild Rice Hotdish           
Green Beans                     
Homemade Bread

Stir Fry
Pasta or Rice

Tarragon Chicken

Greek Fish
Greek Salad

When I make my menu for the week I take into consideration
  1. What we have in the freezer and pantry already (I'd rather scrub toilets than grocery shop :) )
  2. Do I need a crockpot meal for a busy day?
  3. Are there any nights I'll be cooking without the benefit of my older children being home?  If so, I want something fairly simple/quick to make.
  4. Are there any nights the kids will be cooking?  (I need to get back to my kids each cooking a day with me.  I'll start assigning people again this summer but for now I just pick someone(s) available and have them help me.)
Then I just look at all my options and copy and paste (the sides are easily replaceable, but by having them listed I save myself the hassle of having to figure that out too).

*Greek Fish and Mac-n-cheese???????  While I refuse to be a short order cook, I do realize that there are some meals that the younger crew here are not too thrilled about.  I try to make sure there is something everyone will eat at each meal.   I would rather serve a weird meal of Greek Fish and mac-n-cheese (though my kids don't know it's weird :) ) than either force my children to eat something they find disgusting or allow them to think they can be so choosy that I will make something else for them on the spot.

I have, however, allowed PB&J in come circumstances.  Tonight I made Homemade Chicken Pot Pie and really didn't have time to add any sides.  My little one was a bit fussy and I preferred to let the other kids play with their cousins as long as they could.  I knew my 4 year old would NOT like it so I simply made him a sandwich and put it on his plate.  Peace. 

Until he dumped his cup of milk over his shoulder (and all over his hair, clothes, chair, and floor) - so much for peace ;)  Not sure why he did this, but he was truly surprised to find that his cup was full of milk.

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