Agghhhhh, the dreaded question!!! Is it just me or is between 5 and 6 at your house the absolute hardest time of the day? The kids are hungry and grumpy, I am so ready for my husband to get home and I need to figure out what everyone is going to eat.
This has always been a big challenge for me. The whole meal planning thing just felt so overwhelming to me, the grocery lists, the actual shopping, finding the recipes, etc! Well ladies and gentleman, I think I finally figured it out! (Or figured out something that works for me at least!) I thought I would share what works for me in the hopes that you will do the same! I would love to hear what works for you and your family. The way I look at it is this: I chose my "job". I plan on doing it for many, many more years, and just like any job the more organized and planned you are the better you perform your "job". I chose to be a stay at home mom, and so I try to do my job to the best of my ability, wether its cooking, cleaning, teaching, organizing, etc. That doesn't mean its going to be as good as everyone else, their best may be better than mine, but as long as I'm always trying to improve I feel pretty good about it :) So here is my attempt at organizing our meals better :)
This is where the magic happens!! (Isn't that what they always say on MTV Cribs when they show the bedroom....ewwww:)
This is where my meal planning all come together. Here's how it works:
First I went through all my recipe books (yes, it took forever) and picked out the tried and true, the recipes I can make well that everyone loves. After I found them all I spent one whole day typing them up and pasting them on to cute 4x6 scrapbook paper:) Then I used my handy dandy laminator (I HIGHLY recommend getting your own, even if its a cheapie like mine) and went to work. I LOVE having them laminated because frankly, I am a very messy cook. By the end my recipes are usually covered in whatever I am attempting to make, so its nice to just be able to wipe them off when I'm done.
Once a week I try a new recipe that is not from my cards. If it makes the cut I type it up and add it to the box :)
Usually on Sunday night I pull all the recipes I want for that week and make my grocery list of off them. Then I plan what day we will be having what and write it on this excel spreadsheet I made. I KNOW I saw the idea for this spreadsheet on someones blog, so if its you, please claim this great idea!! I love this because I can look at it and in a moments notice see if I need to be thawing anything, if its a crockpot meal that needs to be started earlier in the day, etc.
Finally I have this cute magnet board I found at the Quilted Bear that I stick my recipe on while I am a-cooking away! It is SO lovely to not have to lug around a big cookbook, or a million loose sheets of paper.
Well, thats it! :) Like I said, its a system that works for us! I would love to hear your great ideas on how you organize your meals, please feel free to share :)