Monday, October 12, 2009

Tips for Simplifying Meal Planning

I always enjoyed planning meals when my kids were growing up, but I think it had to come to me more naturally than for some.
I have tried many new recipes, and still do, and my family probably wished I would have served some things more often.  I would love to share some ideas to help those who tend to have a hard time creating menus for their family.






  • Post your weekly menu on the refrigerator door. You don't have to stick to it, but at least you'll have some ideas to choose from when you're hungry for a certain taste.  If you have teenagers or younger trustworthy kids, maybe they could help by preparing a dish, or even preparing an item for dinnertime, like mixing/making muffins from a mix.

  • Set your own family traditions - have pasta on Wednesdays or grill burgers every Friday.  We love having breakfast for dinner, on Sunday evenings.

  • Come up with 3 or 4 weekly menus and rotate them. Keep them simple and learn to substitute fresh veggies and fruit when they are in season.  To make things easier, plan a week's menu using the same cookbook.

  • Cook a double portion and freeze for a quick meal on a busy night.  This website has awesome ideas to help get you going with this great plan... Freezer Cooking

  • Don't be afraid to try new recipes. Ask a friend who you know is a good cook, to share some of their recipes and menu ideas with you. I have to admit...I try many more dishes, because I've been given the recipe by someone I trust. They have helped me 'blossom' and grow in the kitchen - literally (teehee).

  • I've recently become acquainted online with a new cookbook author, Jane Doiron.  I'm thrilled that she sent me a copy of her new cookbook to review. Check out her website Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms . You can subscribe to her monthly newsletter there and have a recipe sent to your inbox along with it.

If you need some help finding forms to accomplish your meal planning, be sure to check out DonnaYoung.org or Organizing Junkie!
Whether you are someone who relishes your time in the kitchen or spends as little time cooking as possible, just remember that family bonds and memories are made around the dinner table.   Your kids won't remember the meals they were served, nearly as much as they will remember the precious times you spent together.