Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cooking plan

My wonderful, darling sisters!

I mentioned previously that I am trying to revamp my life (hey, nothing like biting off more than you can chew! hee hee!).

I had mentioned food, and, since most of us are foodies, and a fair amount of us dread the "what's for supper" question, I thought I would put what I am trying out....

In our family, when I am ill or weary, when the family is busy or the schedule is up in the air, or when I am lazy (blush), we have "Fend For" nights. That means "Fend For Yourself". I will nuke anything you need, but you have to decide what you are eating.

I HATE making decisions about what other people will eat. It is just a hangup of mine that I had developed without knowing it. Half of the time I have no idea what *I* want, and deciding what other people will eat is just dreadful for me. I know, it is silly.

So what happens is that I tentatively decide what is for supper, and then wait for TWS to come home and tell me if that is fine with him. He is not picky at all, but sometimes he has his own druthers about what he wants for supper. So that leaves me in a quandry--he will eat what I cook him, but I cannot stand to cook him something he did not prefer. Ramen noodles, anyone?

So we talked about this impass and we decided that I either need to make a menu (something I do not really like because I have NO idea what I feel like that day) or call him at 3 pm and verify. Well frankly the weekly menu provided the most benefits--I could plan my grocery list, we both have an idea of what we are having, and I do not have to make a decision EVERY day, just the one day where I make the menu.

I had written down all the dishes I know I make regularly, but then also picked TWO cookbooks and went through those. I have made the mistake before of going through tons of cookbooks, then be overwhelmed with the amount of recipes I flagged, so we just ate chicken tenders and tater tots instead hee hee!

This way I can try new recipes, then drop them if they do not work. Two cookbooks was manageable for me.

I am having "week" blocks of menus. My goal is to use left overs as much as possible, reduce the stress of decision making, save money by not buying food I do not get around to using, and be proactive instead of reactive.

I have two weeks of menus so far. I put the menu, where recipes can be found (recipe card, book and page, or "mine"--in my head, no written recipe), and any weird ingredients that I might not have on hand. The ingredients I put in italics so it is easy to see at a glance when I am making a grocery list.

I keep a stocked pantry (I think every woman should!), so I have staples.

I plan to add additional weeks of menus as well.

Now, I did not schedule any "fend for" or convenience or take out foods. I figure that there will always be days that pop up where we need to go the easy route. I am not stressing over being PERFECTLY on the menu EVERY day...the goal was to reduce stress, not be a slave to a printout! I showed it to TWS and he thought it looked great. He also thought it was good not to schedule easy meals, but to have them "waiting in the wings" for those days where we need them.

I tried to have a new recipe night, an involved recipe night, a moose recipe night, and bake a pie each week.

In case anyone is interested, this is what I have planned for two weeks:

Menu Week 1
Day Recipe Location Page

Monday Spaghetti w/sausage meatballs Card
Bread, buttermilk, Italian sausage, egg, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, basil
Breadsticks Mine

Tuesday Egg roll Mine
Wrappers, sausage from night before, ginger, coleslaw mix

Wednesday Pork (moose?) texmex soup Mine
Canned tomatoes, canned corn

Thursday Turkey breast
Hm noodles, cranberry sauce
Turkey breast, cranberry sauce, egg beaters

Friday Fettuccine alfredo with chicken (or turkey) and broc
Lo hm noodles, lo turkey, fresh parm, evap milk, broc

Saturday Hamburgers and onion rings, smoothies
Hm buns, onions, canned fruit

Sunday Beef braised in beer Just 4 things 82
3 onions, oil, beef (moose), 1.25 cups Guinness or stout
Tomato Bruschetta Just 4 things 30
Bread, 4 garlic cloves, diced tomatoes, olive oil for drizzling

Menu Week 2

Day Recipe Location Page
Monday Beef BBQ sandwiches
LO beef and onions from night before, rolls, corn and green beans

Tuesday Tagliatelle w/ ham Just 4 things 94
HM pasta, prosciutto, fresh parm
Basil green beans Lowfat country cooking 224
Green beans, onion, celery, dried basil

Wednesday Brat, beer, and cheese soup Card
2 brats, ½ cup each onion, celery, carrots, 8 oz potatoes, 3 cups chicken stock, stout beer, mustard powder, milk, sharp cheddar

Thursday Dirty rice with pork
Outback bread, smoothies

Friday HM pizza, breadsticks
Fresh mozz, tomatoes, olives, tomatoes

Saturday Bacon and biscuits
Corn, green beans
Canned corn, green beans

Sunday Pork Roast with homemade noodles or biscuits, pie

Hopefully I can get some pictures of these things! Any tips on food photography would be great, as I am a beginner with a camera.

May God Bless you today!!

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