Monday, March 16, 2015

What the Heck is for Dinner?

So, you may or may not know how much I dislike cooking. And I would have to say that a huge percentage of that does not involve the actual food preparation. Half the battle is figuring out what to make. What will be simple, quick, easy to purchase, and palatable to everyone in the family? If you're like me, you find your favorite recipes and do them over and over (and over).

Anyone else in the same boat?

So, I happened to be perusing Pintrest for "command center organization ideas" and stumbled upon a wonderful idea for planning weekly menus.

[Disclaimer: Let me preface by saying, obviously, the Pintrest versions are all crafty and cute, and mine is basic and half-ass. So I'm posting cute ones other people have made.]
lifesweetlifeblog.com
etsy.com
Anyhow, the basic idea is the same no matter how you display it.

The first part can be done in a couple hours on a Saturday afternoon or while waiting for your kid's activity. To get started, go through your recipes and write out a card for each. On the front, put the name of the meal, and if you like, what goes with it (sides).

On the back, write the ingredients. Not the recipe directions or even the exact amounts, but what you need to have on hand to make it. The back serves as your shopping list. You can also write down the prep and bake times and the source of the recipe (online, cookbook title & page, recipe file, etc.).

You'll want to color coordinate your cards based on the type of meat, for example, beef, pork, vegetarian, etc. Using different color cards is probably the best way. I didn't feel like going to the store to get them, so I used markers to color them (a la the half-ass way).

Once your have the cards made out, organize them by food type. Then, after all that leg work is done, you are set up for the easy part. Yay! At the beginning of each week, before your next grocery store trip, select dinners for the next few nights. Depending on how you like to vary your meals, you can choose whichever combo you like, for example, 2 poultry, 1 beef, 1 vegetarian, 1 seafood.

Use your cards to check your ingredients on-hand and make your grocery list or simply take them to the store with you. (Guess which one I do. I'm all about easy, people.)

If you're the crafty type, you can place them on a cute, homemade menu board. If you're like me, you can just keep them accessible on the counter for the week. Maybe someday I'll get around to making a board. But I do like to write the dinners on my kitchen wipe board so everyone (including me, because I will forget) knows what we're having.

This is not my wipe board, but I kinda wish it was.
lulabelleblog.com

So, I hope this helps those of you out there like me plan your meals a little better. You can always add new dinner cards as you try new recipes. My family was pretty shocked to have a full week of varied home-cooked meals that first week.

And don't forget your cards for pizza night, eating out, and rotisserie chicken. Bon appetit!

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