I decided, in lieu, to post my "method" for menu making.
I have a system that makes sure we get a "well balanced week", but mainly it just makes it easier when trying to come up with what to make for dinner every night.
In short, I assign topics for each meal of the day and each day of the week. Here is how it breaks down for us:
And if you are in the mood to be reading for the next day or so, here is the "holy cow, will she ever stop talking?" version:
- Breakfast: Hot Cereal whether that be Malt O'Meal, Cracked Wheat, or Oatmeal
- Lunch: Sandwiches I'm not a sandwich fan generally... but they are cheaper and quicker than the alternative. So I pretend to force myself to make sandwiches a couple lunches a week. I usually end up making something a little more elaborate though. Aagh! lunch is the worst meal of the day.
- Dinnner: Crockpot I teach piano lessons until late on Mondays. So, I like to plan crockpot meals because it is something I can do earlier in the day and then not have to worry about at 6:00 at night when my last piano lesson gets over.
- Breakfast: Eggs Any kind of eggs; scrambled, poached, fried, etc. Things like breakfast burritos, egg mcmuffins, baked eggs, and so on all fall into the egg category for us.
- Lunch: Leftovers Ha! I'm not a leftover girl. I always make way more food then necessary to feed our family, I just generally don't eat leftovers. (Which is why I like to make friends with the teenage boys in the neighborhood so I can make them eat my leftovers.) Once again, this is a ploy to try to get me to do something manageable for lunch...
- Dinner: Casserole This is another late piano lesson night for me so I try to keep it manageable. In our house, anything that can essentially be put in one dish, assembled ahead of time or with very little prep is considered a "casserole"
- Breakfast: Pancakes Oh man, I love pancakes! Especially in my pregnant state. In the off chance I'm not in a pancake mood, waffles and french toast also qualify in the pancake genre
- Lunch: Sandwiches
- Dinner: Soup!!! Yay! Wednesday is my favorite food day. Soup has got to be one of my all time favorite food genres. It's also quick and easy. With Wednesday being my last piano lesson day of the week it is also just another little trick I use to keep things under control. In the spring/summer months, which, let's face it, in Idaho don't usually happen until mid June, we swap out the soup genre for something more season friendly like grilling
- Breakfast: Muffins Coffee cakes as well. And sometimes I even consider biscuits and gravy as a muffin. It's a "baked good" for breakfast
- Lunch: Salads Okay, now I would have this everyday for lunch. My husband, however, would not. So it gets Thursdays... which happen to be the day of the week that my husband has his work meetings. Win win for all.
- Dinner: Ethnic Another favorite genre of mine. So in this bundle we have Italian, Chinese, Mexican, etc. Yum
- Breakfast: Eggs Once again. With so many options it is always easy to come up with two egg dishes a week. Plus, if my kids had their way, they would eat eggs for every meal every day
- Lunch: Lunch misc. In this category we put things like chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, quesadillas, hot dogs... none of which are things I like. Which is why I don't like lunch.
- Dinner: Quick and Easy/Date Night Friday nights are hard dinner nights. If Husband and I are on a date I like to plan food that is quick and easy to prepare for my kids. If we are home, I like to plan date night food, like restaurant copy cats and such. (When you live in the middle of nowhere, or are on a budget, or pregnant, you get really good at mimicking your favorite restaurant dishes.)
- Breakfast: Chef's choice Saturday mornings are our big breakfast days. I usually let myself pick whatever suits my fancy. I make things like quiche, eggs benedict, biscuits and gravy, hashbrowns eggs and bacon, breakfast burritos, etc. You name it. If I crave it on Saturday morning, or Monday morning when I make my menus, then I make it on Saturday. Yay for breakfast food!
- Lunch: Sandwiches it's a crock
- Dinner: pasta/rice We have a lot of pasta dishes and rice dishes in our repetoire and in general my children just love pasta. So, we couldn't just contain it to ethnic night. Although, I do try to mix it up. If we had a pasta dish ethnic night we have a rice dish Saturday night and so on.
- Breakfast: Cold Cereal We used to have early morning church and I would have to have all the kids and myself out the door by 8:15. Now, church is two hours later, but I still just think Sunday mornings have enough going on without worrying about a big breakfast.
- Lunch: Quick Fix If on the off chance we don't have dinner ready as soon as we walk in the door from church, we eat things like nachos...
- Dinner: Sunday Dinner Roasts, potatoes, rolls, salads, etc. Lunch and dinner are pretty much interchangeable on Sundays.
Cream Cheese Chicken,
and the possibility of some beef stew in the crock pot, using the leftover brisket from yesterday.