Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Menu Making Tips

Is everyone having as crazy of a holiday season as I am? Life has been so busy! Going from one event to another. No matter how busy I family still wants dinner.


Too often on those nights, I turn to a drive thru. Or call  my favorite pizza place. Not great on the budget, or the waist line, but at least everyone is happy, right?

Well...maybe not.

Are you someone who makes menus? Or do you fly by the seat of your pants every night?  Do you make a plan, and then don't use it because you don't have the items? Maybe your family doesn't like what you had planned?

Do you know why going out to eat is easy? Besides the fact that someone else is making it for you?

Because they have a menu!! Imagine this scene:
Mason when he is waiting for dinner!
It is close too (or past) dinner time. Kids & hubby are cranky and hungry. You pull into the drive thru of your local fast food restaurant and start to look at the menu board...and there is nothing there. You drive up to the window, and the employee says, "what would you like to order?" You have no idea what they serve and what they don't serve. Can  you get a taco or a hamburger? Sub sandwiches or pizza? What kind of drinks do they have? Is there a combo? It would make getting dinner a lot harder wouldn't it?

It is the menu that makes it easy for us. A number one meal with a diet coke. One kids meal with chicken, apples and a chocolate milk. See? Its easy.

Pretend your kitchen is a restaurant. No, I don't mean offer each person a different meal. I mean, plan out everything.

The main course? Sides? Bread/rolls? Dessert? Drink? Plan it out. Even if you don't have it written out before hand, at least have everything planned in your head :)

There can be a big difference in what we PLAN to eat and what we ACTUALLY eat, right?  If you plan to have lasagna, and you forgot to get it out of the freezer or realize you don't have an ingredient, and end up making scrambled eggs. We have all had that happen at least once, right? Well, I keep a dry erase calender board on my pantry door. Every night, one of the kids or I, write down what we ACTUALLY ate for dinner. Whether it was filet mignon or pancakes. Then at the end of the month, I write it all down. From the first day to the last. (**Note---> I have never served filet mignon**)

This helps me a ton! How many times did we out last month? Did we like the new recipe that was tried? Were there any requests? What about repeats? This is a true representation of what we eat. It is much easier to make my menu with this list in front of me.

Make sure you go through your stockpile/pantry/freezers before you step foot into a grocery store. You may be amazed at what you already have on hand!

How about you? Do you have any tips on planning menus? Sticking with a menu? I would love to hear how you manage the dinner hour!

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