Last week I totally messed up my menu plan. How? By just typing it up and posting it and not writing it on my paper-and-pencil menu plan. It was as if I hadn't planned at all. See all those blank spaces?
The lunch column is blank too. I'll mention that later.
Planning is useless if the plan isn't available or doesn't work. It doesn't occur to me to look on the blog for my meal plan. It's supposed to be on the refrigerator, attached with the Challenge Butter magnet.
Today I did it right. Here's my version of right:
I clear up the kitchen table and create some space for myself. I gather my supplies: sharpened pencils, a few cookbooks and my recipe notebooks, my grocery list, and my meal planning sheet. It's just a document I created in about 12 seconds. There are beautiful printables to be found but this works well for me. I guess it's possible I'd do a nicer job with a pretty colored planning sheet, but I doubt it and I'd also feel guilty about the unnecessary expense of color printing.
Then I sit there and muse on what we'd like to eat, what's going on this week that might affect dinner, and what we have in the freezer, fridge, and pantry. I ask my family what they are in the mood for. Meatloaf? NO! Fried rice with tofu? One yes, one "please can't we have meat? I need meat!" Then I write it all up. I erase a lot.
I decided that on my next printing I'm going to change that useless lunch column to a place for notes, like "soccer practice 6 - 7 pm" and "defrost meat for tomorrow." I am never going to plan out lunches unless we are having company. My kids are working on a "lunch list" of foods they like. So far I think it has mac and cheese and pizza on it. Helpful!
So here is next week's plan:
Here is it in a more useful form, with a lot of links to recipes this week. Because I actually took time to plan it out, I am using recipes!
Monday: Cilantro chicken, rice, sauteed red bell peppers. This is a truly wonderful recipe from The Splendid Table. You should sign up for their email newsletter, Weeknight Kitchen. I love getting recipes in my mailbox, don't you?
Tuesday: Beef stew. Everyone is excited about that because it means the weather is cool. I think I will try this recipe from Williams-Sonoma.
Wednesday: Randy's Sunday Night Fried Rice, with tofu. Ooops, I have to go back to my menu plan sheet and add "cook rice for tomorrow" in Tuesday's notes column.
Thursday: Cochinita Pibil, a gorgeous pork recipe from Simply Recipes, which is another site you should be reading.
Friday: Curried Ground Turkey with potatoes, also from Simply Recipes. This is the only way I can use ground turkey with my family. It is so unbelievably good.
Saturday: Chicken with green olives, a recipe from Pioneer Woman. I keep seeing references to this recipe on other menu plans and thought I'd better check it out. Wow. It sounds really good. I'd move it up to Monday but I have a huge bunch of cilantro I need to use or lose.
Saturday: Beef barley soup. Not much else to say about that.
What are you eating this week?
Linked to Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie. If you can't figure out dinner after checking out this site, you aren't trying very hard.