Friday 25 May 2007

Menu Planning

Planning daily meals for my family is the bane of my existence.

We once tried to split this reposnsibility between me and my husband. this was an unmitigated disaster. he served up pork chops, sausages and bacon for a meal. Not a green vegetable in sight. the whole balanced diet just didn't sink in his brain at school. If we had been on the Atkins diet this would not have been a problem. but for small growing children, perhaps not the best choice. It might have been a rouse to keep me from asking him to do his share with this task.

I aim to make a nutritious meal every night for my family. One meal. One dinner time. Everyone eating together at the dinner table. Well, that's the plan. It doesn't always work out this way and lately I've been so busy and stressed with work I am finding that we are resorting to eating out and take aways far more than I would like.

I try to draw up a weekly menu plan. As I write the plan I write the shopping list. I only buy groceries we need to make the meals. this is a great way to save money and avoid wasting unused produce. This is not so good for dealing with unexpected guests or really bad days when i simply don't have the energy to cook or hot days when I don't want to turn on the Aga.

I am also struggling with what I call Dinner Fatigue. I am so bored with the same old, same old. There are our standards: Spaghetti Bolgnese, Hot Dogs, Tuna Casseerole, Orange Chicken, Lasagne. I try to move these around on alternate weeks. I can cook these from memory. In my sleep. With one eye closed. In under 20 minutes. But boy, am I bored!

I've tried the whole cookbook thing. I love cookbooks. I can get lost in them. And do! Which is exactly the problem. I get distracted by the possibilities. I can never get all the ingredients I need. And they double my preparation time. Not just the meal prep but also the whole menu planning, grocery shopping process takes twice as long when I get out a cook book!

Tonight we are having salmon (cooked on the bbq), rice and carrots. Maybe some green beans.....Hmmmmm, green salad might just make it. I need to pop to the shops because we have nothing in the house due to my work schedule the last couple weeks! and would it have occurred to my hubby to do a spot of forward planning grocery shoppng? Not even on his horizon!

Got any bold menu ideas for the long 3 day weekend ahead of us?


Brooke said...

I am right there with you but I only cook for one so that makes it even harder to find things. I have noticed it is a lot easier to run and get something instead of trying to make something. On Holiday weekends I love having just a good old bbq, hamburgers hot dogs baked beans corn on the cob potato salad and smores but I can't even do that because my grill is out of propane. Anyways have a great weekend and have fun coming up with new ideas.

Sue said...

One of our standbys is brown a piece of round steak, toss it in a casserole dish with some spuds and pour in a can of mushroom soup. Stick it in the oven for about an hour. The soup makes a nice gravy for the spuds.

stephanie said...

For the holiday, we are having fried chicken, spaghetti salad, potato salad, and strawberry rhubarb dessert and maybe some corn on the cob. I have to work on Saturday and Sunday nights so I am not going to worry about it. But Anthony does a great job preparing nutritious meals for the kids.

stephanie said...

PS. Brooke, got get some propane.

stephanie said...

And, I can't wait for the new edition of the Carson Family Cookbook to spice up our weekly meals.

Brooke said...

I have the tank off but I just have to find a place to get it down at. I usually have it done in Tekamah but I am not driving all the way up there with my SUV with the price of gas just for that.

Janell said...

I have no idea how many of these ingredients you can get over there, but here’s my recipe for you:

Marinate boneless chicken breast 1 hour or overnight, turning once, in the following:
¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup Balsamic vinegar
¼ cup oil
chopped jalopeno to taste
½ tsp minced garlic

Grill until chicken is done. Slice into strips for fajitas. Serve with warm flour tortillas and condiments: salsa, chopped tomato, sour cream, cheeses, guacamole or diced avocado, etc.

Stuffed Poblanos
4-6 Poblano peppers
Use leftover chicken fajita strips
Make sauce:
1 can cream mushroom soup OR make a basic white sauce using ½ cup milk and ½ cup chicken broth.
4 Tblsp butter
Heat together and add:
½ cup sour cream
½ cup shredded cheese (I use Monterey Jack)
Stir in leftover fajita chicken.

Roast the Poblano peppers:
Place pepper on cookie sheet and broil until skin turns black, turning so entire pepper is roasted. Place peppers in a pot and cover with tight lid. Let stand 20 minutes. Scrape burned skin off peppers, cut off top and stuff with the chicken mixture. Sprinkle with cheese, if desired. Heat in 350 degree F oven until heated through. Serve with Spanish rice.

Note: Poblanos can be hot, but this recipe works well with sweet bell peppers, too.

LaDawn said...

Can't get Poblanos but I can get all the ingredients for the chicken! I am going to add it to the repetoire.