My least favorite question of all time is "What's for supper?" I KNOW I'm not the only mama who gets a little rowdy over that question. My own mama used to respond with "Whatever you're cooking!" Haha!
Seriously, if you live here and you ask that question...you're gonna get a little of this...
But alas, these kids want to eat three times a day!!! Who knew? Haha! So, we have a little method that saves our family a lot of time and I want to share it with y'all!
We plan our meals by the month. I know, I know, it seems so daunting to do it for an entire month! It's even worse for us because I get a bad case of food boredom! I am not a huge fan of having the same meal more than a couple times a month...max.
So, we started a new process for food planning and it has changed my planning time from a couple of hours of digging through cookbooks and Pinterest and asking the family what they think to about 15 MINUTES! It's true!
Here's what we do. We theme out each night of the week with very loose themes. Loose is the important word here. When we were more restrictive on our themes, it made planning more stressful.
Our schedule looks like this but adjust it to whatever y'all like!
Sunday: Sunday Supper - this is a slightly more in-depth meal that might take a little longer to prepare. I do these on Sundays because we grocery shop after church then head home for the day.
Monday: Pasta - this can be any sort of pasta dish! After living in Italy for three years, we take our pasta very seriously!
Tuesday: Crockpot - Our kids have practice on Tuesdays so this is a perfect way to balance out the work. There are a million things you can stick in the crockpot so the ideas are endless!
Wednesday: Soup/Salad - A lot of times these soups end up going in the crockpot so bonus there. We do, however, try to do a slightly more adventurous salad for this.
Thursday: "Breakfast for dinner" (although we say breakfast for supper)
Friday: Take out/eat out - We don't eat out a ton but having this scheduled once a week made it a lot easier to say no to stopping in at a fast food place or something during the week.
Saturday: Adventurous food! This is the time we introduce our kids to stuff they're less likely to try. They're super receptive to this because they know they're going to like pretty much everything that's prepared throughout the week so they're up for an adventure. Plus, they watch a lot of Food Network and they're not afraid of food!
Then, we sit down together and each person chooses one meal for each theme. This is a perfect system for us because we happen to have as many family members as typical weeks in a month.
When I have some down time, I browse Pintrest and pull some ideas into a Monthly Menu board and then I have them at hand when it comes time to make the actual menu.
I like to jot it down in pencil on a free printed calendar. We shop once a week so our produce stays good but also so if we miss a day (we've eaten leftovers or gotten wrapped up at an event and ended up eating out - hey, it happens!) we don't waste food and we can cycle that day into the next months menu.
In addition to that, each of our children chooses one of the themes to cook for the entire month. It's a great opportunity for them to learn to cook with our assistance. Doing the same theme for a month gives them a chance to have some practice. Each month, they do something different.
We eat dinner together every single night, no matter what! I really hope this method helps your family create more time to be together and relieves some stress!
<3, Mrs. Darlin'