Monday, February 28, 2011
Feeding The Fam
This post is in response to a question from my pal Gina who asked:
Let's revisit how you plan, cook and feed your family. I get so tired of it all. I am not creative enough. I am too behind. Do you meal plan in advance and buy for the upcoming meals? What are some of your favorite dinners? You can give recipes, or just general ideas of what you do.
Meal planning, shopping and cooking is certainly not my favorite of my jobs as a homemaker. However, I have found a way to make it easier - and that is by planning. Every two weeks I come up with a list of 14 dinners. I always ask the kids for their ideas, too. In fact, since my gimpy leg keeps me in bed quite a bit, I just recently started putting my oldest 3 kids in charge of a few meals each - they decide what they want to make and we add it to the list. Then I make a grocery list based on my menu and add the usual needed items for breakfasts and lunches (bread, peanut butter, fruit, lunch meat, syrup, cereal, pancake mix. etc.). I go to the store and buy the things on my list with little variation - I will allow myself to buy something that's a great price on sale or even a treat or two for the family.
Before I start planning my meals I like to look at the store ads that come in the mail so that I can plan most of the meals around what kind of meat and vegetables I can find on sale.
The thing I love about this method is that I have everything I need to make meals for two weeks so I am able to avoid doing little shopping trips at the store in the middle of the week. When I stick to this plan I am able to feed my family on $300 every two weeks (this also includes things like diapers, laundry & dish soap, trash bags, etc.).
Here is a sample of a typical two week dinner menu:
stroganoff w/green beans
baked mac & cheese w/bananas & applesauce
mexican chicken and rice w/broccoli
tortellini soup w/rolls
sloppy joes w/salad
italian chicken and rice w/green beans
tuna casserole w/fruit salad
grilled cheese and tomato soup
shepherd's pie w/corn
potato soup w/rolls
chicken pasta salad w/carrots
(If you want any of the recipes, let me know in the comments.)
Our typical lunches include things like PB&J, sandwiches with lunchmeat or tuna, bagel sandwiches, quesadillas and leftovers from dinner. Add some fruit or veggies and a glass of milk or water and there you have it.
Breakfasts can include cooked cereal (oatmeal, germade, breakfast rice, corn mush), cold cereal, granola, pancakes, waffles, dutch babies, eggs & toast, breakfast sandwiches, yogurt, oatmeal cake, breakfast burritos, biscuits and gravy, french toast, muffins or pop tarts.
p.s. I was just kidding about the pop tarts. That is NOT a breakfast food.
p.s.2 This breakfast list makes me sound like Martha Stewart but the truth is that we usually have hot or cold cereal. The other stuff happens occasionally (maybe twice a week) but not as much.
p.s.3 I hate it when I make an awesome breakfast and the oldest two girls only eat a fraction of it because they would rather try on 17 outfits and spend 25 minutes on their hair before school. To retaliate I make oatmeal at least 3 days each week because I know that they prefer cold cereal.
I think that about covers it.