Tuesday, August 6, 2013

My Meal Plan

This month we are so excited to start officially homeschooling Claire.  I can't wait.  We are planning to start the third week of August.  I have the entire year planned out in my handy, dandy planner but I am still waiting for our geography curriculum to come.  If that comes early and I have a chance to prepare and plan it, we may start sooner since Claire is SO anxious to start.  For weeks she has been watching me go through her books, cut out felt continents and collect fun supplies for science, games, and prizes.  (I will go into the curriculum I chose at a later time)

I am so excited to start too -I have planned on doing this all my life after all! But now I am just nervous about my schedule and having time for everything.  I also still have my part-time job at Big D and don't want to be up til midnight every night sorting and filing paperwork.  I am trying really hard to guard my schedule and I've already had to say no to a couple of people asking me to do things for church and I feel so badly!   I am terrible at saying "no".  Even if I don't want to do something, I usually do it because I'd rather hate doing it than tell someone no.  But now it is necessary - at least until we get started and I figure out how much free time I will have for extra things.  (So don't ask me to make any commitments right now or I will have to say no!)

One area I have become more efficient in after Paige was born is my cooking/meal planning.  Before, I rarely used to plan ahead which led to many trips to the grocery store each week and many days of staring into the fridge hoping for some last minute inspiration at 6pm. I decided that making a meal plan was now a necessity - not a luxury, since running to the store is a huge ordeal for us right now.

I made a list of all my regular, tried and true recipes, arranged them according to genre (Mexican, American, Chinese and Italian) and spaced them out so that there weren't any time where we were eating a certain genre of food 2 nights in a row and then did my best to mix up the chickens, beefs, pastas and porks so that we weren't eating chicken for 4 days straight.  Then I put a reasonable suggestion for a side dish next to each meal.  It was a little work at first but now that it is set up, I just look at the list, refer to my recipe book to write down what ingredients I will need for that week and go shopping ONCE.  Since I know what I am making ahead of time, I can let my meat thaw the correct way instead of in a hot water bath a half hour before we eat.   Why is such a simple, common sense thing like meal planning such a nemesis to us homemakers?  I don't know, but now that I have my system that works for me, I am sticking to it.  My life has been SO much better in the cooking department since I implemented it a month ago.

Here is my list in case anyone wants to see it.  Recipes available upon request.

Main Dishside
Tortellini salad
Chicken Fricassefruit
Arroz Con Pollosalad
20 Minute Stir Fryegg drop soup
Pulled pork Sandwichescoleslaw
Pecos Pastasalad
Patio Tuna Squaressalad
EnchurritosMexican rice
BLT Pasta Saladfruit
Chinese Chicken ColeslawHawaiian rolls
Beef Stroganoff Sandwichsalad
Parmesean chickenpeas
Carnitaschips and salsa
Chicken Orientalbrown rice
Cheeseburger piecoleslaw
Green Chile Lime TaquitosMexican rice
Chicken Pot Piesalad
Tuna Casserolepeas
Orange Chicken and Ricesalad
Hamburgerswedge fries/beans
Tamale Bitessalad
Grilled Chickenbrown rice/veggie
Baked Rigatonisalad
Springtime Broccoli SaladHawaiian rolls
Chile chicken casserolecoleslaw
Homemade Pizzasalad
Deli Style Pasta Saladfruit
Versatile Stir Frybrown rice
Taco Piesalad
Maple Oven Pancakeeggs
Tortilla Soupquesadillas
Barbecue Beef on Corn Muffinsfruit
Chicken Tamale Casserolefruit

There are 38 meals.  When we get to the bottom of the list, I just start back up at the top.  I don't make dinner on Sundays or Wednesdays so we have well over a month before repeating a dish.

And now, because I can't post a blog without some sort of picture, here is one of Claire smothering her sister.

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