A light bulb went off last night...a rare occasion lately. :) While I love to cook and especially try new recipes, planning a weekly dinner menu is just overwhelming to me. It takes me forever to go through all my cookbooks, try and remember where "that one recipe" is and make the grocery list to get everything I need to make the meals happen... So this light bulb moment made me realize that it just doesn't have to be that difficult...all it takes is a little time on my part now, to reduce the time it takes me later.
I made up a monthly "dinner menu" (based on 4 weeks). Each day of the week will have a "theme" (i.e. salad night, Italian night, etc.). No recipe is repeated in the four week time period. Each week, I will leave two days open for new recipes or one we haven't had in a while that we really like. That way, there is minimal planning each week and I don't have to spend hours flipping through cookbooks over and over and over to try and come up with seven meals (well, make that six...we do go out or order pizza once a week!).
Each day on the calendar lists the entree and any sides that go with it. At the bottom of each day, in a smaller size font, I listed the cookbook each item is found in for easy reference. My daily "themes" each week are:
Tuesday: NEW Recipe
Thursday: NEW Recipe
Friday: Sandwiches/No Fuss Meals
Saturday: Take-out/go out to eat
Sunday: 'Meat and Potatoes" (The Household CFO is a self-proclaimed "Meat and Potatoes kind of guy")
The other thing I'm going to make to go along with this monthly menu are set weekly grocery lists for each of the four weeks with the ingredients needed for that week's meals (except for the few items I'll need to make the two new/variable meals). All I'll have to do is print it off, add a couple of things and off I go...
So, here is my calendar. I'm going to try it for four weeks and see how it goes. I have high hopes that this will just make life simpler...at least when it comes to feeding my family! :)