I have been planning menus for the family for months. It takes a little work initially, but I find that it makes our nightly meals a total breeze. Even if the item on the menu is a little complicated it still stresses me out less than if I had to, say, throw a frozen pizza in the oven (which, for the record, we never do).
So I thought it would be fun to share the menu I've planned for the next couple of weeks:
23rd- spaghetti with homemade sauce and turkey meatballs
24th- seitan stir-fry
25th- Italian garden frittata
26th- Green curry with chicken over brown rice
27th- burritos with lentil filling
28th- soba noodle salad
29th- Matt's night! (he is making pita pocket sandwiches this particular night)
30th- baked chicken with mushrooms and rosemary with rice pilaf and steamed broccoli
1st- red bean and quinoa chili
2nd- manicotti and salad
3rd- asparagus-cashew stir-fry
5th- pasta with herbed ricotta and pine nuts
6th- Matt's night! (hmmm, phad thai maybe?!?!)
7th- curried lentils and cauliflower
8th- Karen's sesame noodles
9th- burritos with lentil filling
10th- veggie burgers and spud puppies
11th- homemade chili with cornbread
12th- Thai noodle salad with Thai cucumber salad
Some of the items are recipes I just sort of made up and several of them (if they have more official sounding names) came from a couple different cookbooks this go-around. One of my favorite cookbooks was written by a woman who taught a couple of my classes at Bastyr University. The cookbook is called Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair. A few of them this time came from a cookbook called The Fifteen Minute Gourmet: Vegetarian. I was given this cookbook a few years ago by my father, I believe. I hadn't given it much thought for a while but the few times I got recipes from it I really liked them, so I pulled a few yummy-sounding ones for this particular menu-planning session.
If you struggle with getting dinner on the table every night, I seriously suggest you give menu-planning a try. For a while we had literally maybe ten meals that rotated through, and that was fine, but now I get a little more interesting. Menus not only make making dinner easier, but they make grocery list making easier, too! I will just look at the menu and buy stuff for about the next ten days out or whatever random cut-off I give myself. Usually it depends on the menu's ingredients. I won't, for instance, buy the asparagus for the July 3rd dinner while I'm out shopping tomorrow, I'll likely get it next weekend, instead.
It also should be said that these menus are largely planned for Matt and I. Most of it the girls will try, but alot of times I end up tweaking things for them or giving them something different. I really don't mind making two different meals, especially since their meal often consists of cut up tofu, noodles, some sort of fruit and/or veggie. Not exactly a culinary masterpiece, but it's usually reasonably healthy and it keeps us all happy. Matt and I get healthy, yummy "adult" food and the girls get something they like, too.