Join me for a humorous look at the Kitchen Battle of Menu Planning–a lot of goofing around with a tip at the end. (Just so you know.)
Many have said that the kitchen is the heart of the home. Whoever came up with that one had their body parts mixed up in that the stomach is the wild beast that drives the goings on in my kitchen. Seriously…do they really have to eat every day? Several times a day? Today we are going to venture into dangerous territory as we tackle the battle of …menu planning. How many times have we all heard, “What’s for dinner?” only to be groaned at when they don’t like what is on the menu? If you have a picky eater in the family, menu planning can be a mind-numbing challenge. How many ways can you dress up chicken nuggets or disguise broccoli? How many times have we gotten busy with life only to realize there is nothing defrosted to make in time to run the evening shuttle to soccer practice?
One easy step to feeding the picky eater and the beating the challenge of meal planning: The Selective Menu
Find six things your family likes to eat…and make them every week! You’ll never have to plan or have meal-time battles with your kids. It’s amazing how simple meal time issues become when you serve your kids what they like! Is anybody in agreement with me here?
When you want a little variety, just change up the nights—How simple it that?
Meal planning does not have to be complicated.
Just remind your family that variety is over-rated and serve up those tacos…again. The beauty of this method is that cooking in bulk is a cinch. For instance, if your crowd likes spaghetti, cook 30 pounds of ground beef, add the sauce, freeze it, and presto–you have six months of Tuesday night dinners all ready to go. Gotta love it. Another benefit to the Selective Menu is this–everyone knows what to expect. No surprises. After a few months of this plan, your family will stop asking what’s for dinner. Another problem solved.
There are other merits to the Selective Menu.
Can we talk about THE GROCERY LIST? I have a love-hate relationship with lists. I have learned through the school of frustration that “list” is not a bad word. Over the years I have worked hard to develop my list making abilities. Making the list is not the problem. Keeping the list? Now that’s another story. I could be a poster child for List Losers Anonymous, if there was such an organization. I get in the grocery store and reach into my purse for my lovely list, and “poof!” it is gone–never to be found again–unless I left it on the kitchen counter. When you live by the Selective Menu, you don’t need a list because you always buy the same thing. Repetition can relax the mind from the stress of having to keep up with a variety of unusual ingredients.
As a military wife, the Selective Menu is most helpful when my husband goes on those nice little six-month trips to exotic places. You know how kids like to eat the same thing over and over? When your husband’s deployed or out of town, you can take that meal plan down from six things to one…Fish sticks and macaroni.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Your kids will be thrilled and you can get your grocery list down to two items…fish sticks and macaroni. Brilliant. .
Real Tip: Don’t re-invent the wheel each week: Save and Rotate Your Menus
Seriously, there is an art and a real benefit to menu planning. I stumbled onto a simple strategy by accident. For years I would write my menu on the back of my grocery list so that I could easily add needed items to my list. If I didn’t loose my list, I would clip the menu on the fridge with a magnet for easy viewing during the week. Over time, my stack got rather large. Then came the fateful day when I was in a hurry and didn’t have time to make a list. Solution? I grabbed on of the old menus and headed out the door. Worked like a charm. Using the grey matter between my ears, I realized that it was wasted effort to make a new menu every week, and I began re-using my old menus. I was kidding about serving the same thing every week. (You knew that, right?) Making a weekly menu for 6-8 weeks doesn’t take much time, but saving and rotating those menus saves a lot of time. I often leave a blank one day a week to encourage me to try something new. It rarely happens for me, but I like to pretend… Over time, add new choices to your menus and keep rotating. A variation to this method is to list favorite meals on index cards. When you plan you menu, just pull from your deck of cards.
It’s easier than playing Gin Rummy.
I would love to read your tips for menu-planning. Please leave a tip or web-site you like in the comment section at the bottom of this page.