Over the past seven years or so, I have sought for a meal plan that would help me figure out meals without losing sleep over what to make the next day, or needing to dash to the store at 5 pm to pick up ingredients for a recipe that I needed to make a last-minute recipe. I had a list in my day-timer of family favorites, listed by categories (beef, chicken; vegetables, stews, etc.), but no plan on when to make them. I had read plans of organized moms who planned thirty days in advance — that is a little too much for me.
Over the last two years, we began to make Tuesday night spaghetti or pasta night. It just slowly happened that way… It is our busiest after-school day, with Annie going to dance, Owen to sports club, and both to Kumon Japanese writing. It was nice to not think about it – and the kids loved on Tuesdays knowing they would come home to spaghetti or another favorite pasta. And then Monday, our official “day off”, was a nice day to keep things fairly simple, so I began making different soups and homemade bread in the bread-maker on that day. I began to realize that I could make a weekly schedule of the kinds of dinner I would make each day of the week. It has shifted a little this year, but here is our usual schedule:
Monday: soup (usually in the crockpot) and homemade bread
Tuesday: spaghetti w/meat and vegetable sauce (or another kind of pasta). We do Eric’s mom’s secret for healthy spaghetti sauce — we pulverize carrots, onions, and whatever other veggies we have on hand in the food processor; saute those up with the ground beef, and put it in the tomato sauce to make sure we get our daily vegetable intake.
Wednesday: crockpot (Eric teaches until almost 7 pm so meal prep is more challenging right before dinner)
Thursday and Sundays: Eric cooks – this is usually when we have our favorite Japanese foods (curry, fish, salmon, gyoza, shoyu chicken)
Friday: homemade pizza night (usually followed or enjoyed with a family video)
Saturday is the one day that is open based upon what we have or are doing…
This has helped me SOOOO much for this season of our lives. And in some ways I think the routine and predictability is a helpful thing for our children who have a lot of change in their lives. Today, Owen was sooo happy that I was making minestrone, his favorite, for Monday night soup… a hearty soup and homemade bread seemed like the a good choice for one of the first cool day in which we had just pulled out our fall decorations.