Don't get me wrong I enjoy junkin' out as much as the next girl, but I feel best when I end the day with a dinner for my family that is healthy and satisfying. Even before I became a mom I found it difficult working full-time and always making sure that we had a good dinner on the table at a decent time. I'm sure you can all relate! There was a period of time where I could always expect a call from my husband around 3 PM asking the dreaded question "what should we do for dinner!?" You pretty much set yourself up for disaster at that point because anything you decide to make is going to be unlikely, considering that the chicken you now want to cook is a solid brick of ice in your freezer. So I decided to make some changes for our bellies and my sanity. This is what works for me but feel free to tweak it to work for you!
I started by writing out all of the recipes that I am comfortable with making and dividing them into categories- pasta, soups, chicken dishes, beef dishes and fish recipes. I just keep this as a running word doc. on my computer.
I also have a portfolio where I keep all of my loose page recipes that I have ripped out of magazines. These are also divided into categories- desserts, appetizers, soups, entrées, breakfasts. I found the portfolio at Target in the dollar section... score!
On my Pinterest page I have everything lumped under foods except for desserts, muffins and soups. If I make a recipe we like it enough to make it again I transfer it into the folder recipes I've tried.
Being someone who is very visual, I recently started using a menu board as well. I purchased a piece of galvanized sheet metal from the local hardwood store as well as some scrap pieces of wood. You can use erase markers on the sheet metal and it is also magnetic which is great for posting recipe cards to ahead of time.
So here is what I do every week. I use the Flipp app on my iPhone to figure out what is on sale for that particular week and what I want to price match. I then look in my freezer to see what meats we have at that time. I check out my calendar and see what our family has going on that week as my husband typically works late a couple nights a week. On those nights I don't really plan a meal as it is just myself and Max. I will typically just make an omelette, soup or a Restaurante pizza. On the nights that we are all at home, those are the nights I meal plan for. On really busy days I typically plan for an easier meal with a short prep time or something that can be made in the crockpot
Every week I make some form of pasta dish, fish, chicken meal and other meat meal (steak, tenderloin, pork chops, ground beef). I then look to my Pinterest board as well as my portfolio to figure out what I feel like that week. Based on what I choose I then write my grocery list and I write it all down on the menu board so we know what we can look forward too :)
And there you have it! This has saved me many headaches and I like to think money too, since I have a specific grocery list with me each week and I am not just grabbing things that I didn't realize I already had in my pantry.
Good luck with dinner!
Good luck with dinner!