Thursday, January 27, 2011

What's for Dinner?

Before you set out to organize your meals, here are some things to consider:

* How many people are you cooking for?
* How many weeks are you planning for?
* Are you going to cook everyday?
* What meals are you planning for? (just dinner or others as well)
* Are you cooking side dishes with every meal/dinner?
* Where are you going to write down what you planned?

Answering these questions has helped me to plan my menu for 4 weeks. I have a little index card with 4 columns- one for each week of the month. When it is time to plan meals for the week I look at my card, see which week I'm on and assign each day a meal from my list. I shop every week and I only use cash. Seems extreme, but it is one of the best tools for sticking to a budget. I cook Monday through Thursday. Friday and Saturday are leftovers, homemade pizza, or grilled cheese...etc. Sunday evenings we have pancakes or waffles, fresh fruit, and scrambled eggs. I keep track of my menu on my palm pilot. It's very frustrating to plan out the week only to lose my plan on a misplaced scrap of paper. I like to try new recipes and I'll just sub one of those in during the week. If we like it I work it into the rotation, if not it's one less recipe from the "recipes to try" stack. One other thing that helps me stay organized is well stocked pantry- based on my menu.

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