Now that Christmas is passed, you may be thinking about the new year and getting organized. Here are some menu planning tips that I have collected that I thought I would share with you. These will help you get your cooking under control and maybe even put it on auto-pilot.
Sit down for 5-10 minutes and write a list with 2 columns. One column has the names of the meals you want to make and the other column has a list of ingredients you need for those meals. This is the simplest, time-saving, money-saving system I have ever been able to find. Then you know what you can make and can decide in the morning what you will have for dinner that night. If you don’t want to take 5-10 minutes to write down a few things, then you will probably be frustrated with your cooking for years to come.
Use simple ingredients – It’s so frustrating to me to get out a cookbook to try to find something to make only to find that they use a bunch of ingredients that I don’t even have on hand. I like using the Cooking From the Cupboard ebook because it has all the ingredients listed that I need for 30 meals and it uses simple, normal ingredients that I have in my kitchen.
Double up on cooking when you can - Some people tell me they double meals, which is good. I think quadrupling is even better. You’re already planning for a double meal, how much harder is it to plan for a quadruple meal. If you want more instruction on this you can check out Smart Way Cooking for instructions and recipes.
Decide in the morning what you will make for dinner – I touched on this already. If you look at your list of meals that you can make and pick one for the day, you won’t be wrestling with a frozen piece of meat at 5:00. It will be all ready for you and you can just go through the motions of fixing the meal because you have everything you need and know what time you need to start preparing that meal.
I have been using this color-coded automated system for a while now and I just love it. I can interject new recipes if I want, but most days my family just wants meals they know they will like. This system has a nice variety of recipes for different tastes, yet they are family friendly and relatively healthy. It’s not just a bunch of casseroles with cream of whatever soup thrown in. It’s real food that real people like using the ingredients most people stock in their kitchen.
I hope these menu planning tips have been helpful. If you’re a busy homeschool Mom, you’re probably always looking for making dinner time a little less stressful so you can focus on other things you enjoy more than cooking.