Augh! Steph is actually posting a new Simple Supper! On a Monday, nonetheless!
Ok. Actually, I'm not posting a new recipe. Please don't be TOO disappointed. I promise new ones are coming: I've been motivated to start cooking again now that school is back in session, Hubby is back to work, and my routine has returned. And since I'm motivated, I've spent quite a few days logging hours reading some of my old and favorite cookbooks, looking for new meal inspirations. I have found a few, and can't wait to try them. Once I do, I will share them with you. I don't want to post them before trying them, in case they are gross. Which isn't fair to you or me.
Anyway. While I am not posting a recipe today, I am posting something. I was talking to my friend, Kate, a few weeks ago, and she brought up the subject of meal planning. Some people are really hardcore about meal planning. These people impress me to no end, and I wish I could hire them to be my personal chefs and kitchen planners.
It may not be hardcore, but I do entertain a very casual, loose meal planning strategy. In that, over the weekend while I am writing my grocery list, I come up with 5-6 meals that I intend to make during the week. Then, I look up the ingredients, and write down whichever ones I do not have on my grocery list. That way, I am more likely to make said meals since I have all the ingredients on hand. I can't tell you how many meals I have bailed on simply because I would have had to get in the car and drive to the grocery store.
Oh, the madness.
Now that I'm back to cooking, I want to focus on being better about Meal Planning. This week, I even looked ahead and tentatively planned for 2 weeks. This is also due, in part, to my contributing posts on Chester County Moms. I write Tasty Tuesday posts, well, every Tuesday on their awesome website. Since most of the people who read the website are parents, I was sparked with the idea to post Easy Weeknight Meals for the School Year over the past few weeks.
For parents with school-aged children (or teacher spouses...ahem), all bets are off once school starts. These families are thrust from "Simple Summer Schedule" to "Crazy Hectic Where Did I Lose My Head Schedule." All of a sudden, it's homework, after-school activities, sports practices, etc. All on top of work and whatever the parents have going on. I'm not the parent of a school-aged child yet - but I can only imagine that it'd be near-impossible to get a meal on the table regularly during this time of year!
So, I started posting these School Year recipes, in the hopes of giving the readers some ideas for how to stay ahead of dinner on crazy nights. (By the way, the recipes are all from this blog, so nothing too new if you check in here once in a while). As I've been posting, I've encouraged the parents to take all the recipes I recently posted, and put them on a 2-week rotation. (Ideally, I would be able to do a 1-month rotation, but that would require WAYYYY too much planning at this point in my life. If you are able to do this, more power to you).
We'll say it's a future goal of mine.
Since I encouraged readers to do that, I thought, "Geez. I have ALL these recipes posted on my blog. Before I post any more, I should try to make up some 2-week rotation ideas. That way I can just go to one post and find sample menus." Genius! So that's what I am doing today. Many of you who read this may not be parents with kids (or spouses with Hubbies) starting school this week. But I guarantee ALL of us are busy and over-scheduled and could use some unburdening in the kitchen.
Am I right?
So here is my first Easy Weeknight Meal Menu Rotation: 2-week Cycle. This is how it works:
1) See 10 meals listed below.
2) See that they are linked to the post with the actual recipe.
3) Plug 5 of those recipes into your calendar next week
4) Plug next 5 into the following week.
5) Look over ingredient lists. See what things you do NOT have in your fridge/freezer/pantry.
6) Make a list of those things.
7) When you write your grocery list next (I suggest BEFORE next Monday), add needed ingredients.
8) Go to grocery store and stock up.
See? Now you know exactly what meals you are having. For the next 2 weeks. AND you have all the ingredients, so you don't have the excuse that you don't feel like running to the store.
AND AND, you can use that same rotation 2 weeks later (duh, which is the whole idea). It's spaced out enough that you won't get TOO sick of having some of these meals more than once a month.
AND AND AND, these are all REALLY easy meals (thus the name "Easy Weeknight Meals"), involving few ingredients (some have only 2 or 3) and lots of slow cooker action.
"Easy" is my middle name! Wait. Strike that. You know what I mean...
Easy Weeknight Meal Menu Rotation #1: 2-week Cycle
1. Baked Ziti
8. Eggplant and Goat Cheese Sandwiches (or, if you are like me and don't like eggplant, just "Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Sandwiches")
Now, some of you may have big families and need to do a big meal 5 times a week. Since we are a smaller family, I do more like 3 big meals a week, because we are left with lots of leftovers. Sometimes too many leftovers. Sometimes so many leftovers, we can't eat them fast enough and we use up every last tupperware in the vain attempt of storing said leftovers in the fridge. And then they never get eaten.
I am ashamed.
So use as many or as little meals per week as you need. This can be tailored to YOUR life! I figured, though, I'd post all 5 per week for any of you out there who really need all those meals!
There you have it! Mix and match! Use all or some or none of these recipes! I figured if I need to organize my Menu Planning, you might as well reap the benefits!
In a few weeks (especially after I've posted some NEW recipes), I'll try to create another rotation. That way, when we are all sick of eating the above recipes, there will be some new ones to throw into the mix!
More posting to come, so check back later this week!
Have a great Monday!