Simple Food – Creativity Within Limits!

For years I’ve tried menu planning. My girls are awesome at it… They decide on their menu for the week, create a detailed shopping list, and actually cook the things they planned to cook. Me? Not so much. I’d plan the week’s menu, and plans would change… We’d get invited out to dinner, or have extra leftovers from the night before, or I was just plain too tired to execute the special meal I thought was a good idea for Tuesday night. I’d make a detailed shopping list and then leave it on the kitchen table when I went to the store. I’d buy lots of special fresh ingredients and watch them grow fuzzy in the fridge. So, I thought I’d think through this a bit more, and discovered…

…My cooking skills are a mix of bulk-buying, mega-cooking, comfort food,
doomsday prepper, dinner’s-in-the-freezer, and “wing it”…
…with an occasional burst of “we need to eat healthy!!!” added in.

How do you “meal plan” with that mix?

I might have found a way.

Several bloggers/writers/organization gurus that I’ve bumped into keep mentioning the “Day of the Week” meal planning method. Kind of like “Taco Tuesday,” but not limiting Tuesday to tacos only. I’ve been working on that concept for a while now, and so far, so good. The plan is to have a general idea of what meal to serve for each day of the week, to have the basic ingredients in the pantry or fridge, to have lots of simple and quick possibilities within the “plan,” and not be the end of the world if dinner plans change at the last minute. Not too much to ask, right?

Here’s what’s working so far…

Sunday Dinner
Chicken & Dumplings?
Ham with Macaroni & Cheese?
Pork Roast & Mashed Potatoes?

Monday: Breakfast for Dinner
…Which is near and dear to Hubby’s heart!

Tuesday: Pasta
This was the first “No Brainer Meal Plan Day” I implemented.
Spaghetti or Ravioli was my fallback dinner, though without a plan
I found myself falling back on it more than I would like to admit.
Pasta on Tuesday was actually a ploy to limit our spaghetti nights
to just once a week. Eventually, as dinner rolled around and I was
wondering what to fix, my brain would say “Hey, it’s Tuesday… Pasta!”

Wednesday: Church Dinner
Our church does something absolutely amazing…
They serve dinner almost every Wednesday night before Bible Study!
Yes, you read that correctly.

Thursday: Chicken
If you ask Hubby what he’d like for dinner, his answer will always,
without a doubt, be “chicken.” Any kind, any way, any recipe… It’s all good.

Friday: Out to Dinner/Pizza
Friday nights have been an “Out to Dinner Night” with my parents
since I was a kid. It doesn’t happen every Friday night, but usually
it’s a last minute “Hey, do you want to go to…” so I needed a flexible plan!
Pizza is the back-up plan! Homemade, Delivered, or Frozen.

Saturday: Crock Pot or Grill
Saturday dinners can be hands-on or carefree, depending on the
day! Sometimes Saturday is a “Company Night” for us, so maybe it’s
a crock pot full of chili or taco soup, or some chicken on the grill!

Creativity within limits… So far, so good!

P.S. Can anyone guess what that breakfast meat is?
You get extra points if you’re not from Delaware,
Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, or New Jersey!