Long time readers will surely remember that in the early days of this blog - nearly five years ago (whoa!) -I used to post my weekly meal plan each Monday morning. It was a reasonably popular feature as readers seemed to enjoy having a sneak peek at what we were planning to eat that week, and it kept me dedicated to the task of planning my meals each Sunday for the following five dinners.
Sadly, sometime last year I kind of lost my meal planning mojo. Sure, there's been the occasional week where I've collected my favourite family-friendly cookbooks and scratched out a list of a few meals for the days ahead, but generally speaking, I would say I haven't done much planning. It could be that I spent a large portion of the past year working on a book while food writing from home AND returning to the catering company occasionally to help with the party planning while my friend, the owner, took a mat leave. Or it may also have to do with the fact that while I was working my busiest year ever Rob simultaneously took a part-time-volunteer-too-many-hours-to-count job coaching Ben's rep hockey team on top of his normal day job rendering us way to busy to think about planning a weekly menu. Or maybe I just needed a break from what I was doing while I figured out a new way to feed these growing boys of mine, one of whom ate an entire store-bought rotisserie chicken for lunch today when his mother wasn't paying attention.
Regardless of the reasons, our dinners for the past few months have either been the leftover remnants of whatever recipes I'm testing for work, or I'd run out to the store around the corner to collect fresh meat, an armful of veggies, and some form of satiating carbs for the kids, allowing me to whip up something in between homework help and the email replies that always seem to require my attention as soon as the pasta water comes to a boil.
The problem with this system is: my grocery bill essentially doubled, and I didn't always have the leftovers I wanted for lunches on the following day. Also, it left me feeling scattered and rushed, and completely unadventurous in my meal making because nothing was properly planned, a total travesty for the Type A part of my personality.
All of this is to say, I'm embracing meal planning again with gusto, and I'm quite excited about my new approach to our weekly meals. Here are a few notes about how I'm approaching Meal Planning 2.0:
- I've been trying to decide how I want to organize our dinners and I've concluded that working with a theme seems to suit me best. It's fun and allows me to cook the dishes that most appeal to me.
- Also, starting in September I'll be planning our dinners for six nights a week instead of only five. Here's why: Rob and Ben have a hockey game every (well, almost every) Friday night making it essential that we eat at home. Also, in September we are starting Family Supper Sundays, which I'll share a little more about later this month. For me, this means that Saturday night is likely the night we’ll eat out, order in, get together with other people, or keep it casual. In other words, that night will have no plan at all.
Here’s a look at this week’s dinner plan, if you’re curious, as well as a few of the themes I’m incorporating into this week (these will be fine-tuned in September when summer vacation for the kids is over):
- Monday (Pasta Night): Orzo with sausage, corn, Parmesan and thyme
- Tuesday (Leftovers): Chili and cheese-topped baked potatoes, salad
- Wednesday: (Chicken Night) Thai-glazed grilled chicken, rice, hoisin green beans
- Thursday (One Pot): Corn chowder, salad, and baguette
- Friday (Meaty Meals): Homemade bacon cheeseburgers and oven-roasted French fries
Are you interested in weekly meal plans, or seeing them? Do you meal plan? Which method works best for you? Also, what are you eating for dinner this week?