I plan our dinner menu for the week because I hate shopping. If I can get all of our groceries in one trip out it is so much better for me than having to go every day. I also like knowing what is planned ahead for the week. (Christopher adds that it’s also a good move on the economy front; there’s almost no unused food in the fridge so nothing goes to waste!) Every Friday night or Saturday morning I like to plan what our family is going to eat for dinner for the coming week (Sunday-Saturday). Our dinner ideas come from cookbooks and recipes I find online. I am not very good at being creative when it comes to food and I find it very hard to cook without a recipe (I have done it before though!). As I am figuring out what we need for the meals I keep a grocery list and add the items that I need, but I divide them up into three categories: Costco, Trader Joe’s, and Safeway (I mostly just go to Costco & TJs, but sometimes there is a random item that both of those don’t carry, so off to Safeway we go). Once I have our dinner menu planned I go through any staples that we will need for breakfast, lunch, and snacks and add those to the list. We have a big chalkboard in our dining room (for school) that has a dedicated area for groceries that we need that are not a part of our usual weekly list. Since I like to be efficient when grocery shopping I take my list and I put the items in order of how I would encounter them in the store; for example, on my Trader Joe’s list I always put items in this order: bread, fruit, veggies, etc because when I walk in the door I’ll come to the bread first, fruit second, and veggies third. It makes shopping easier for me and I find that I tend not to miss an item from the list. We do our shopping either on Saturday or Sunday and preferably in the mornings when it isn’t as crowded (just an FYI, one TJ employee told me that Sundays are their busiest day and I would have to agree for anytime after 10).
I also put our dinner list on this weekly dry erase planner. Below is a picture of this week, so you can see how I do it (just so you know, we always have a vegetable with our dinner, but I don’t usually add it to the board since I usually just figure out that day what we will have).
Sunday: Pizza! We make homemade pizzas (dough too) and we have this every two weeks on Sunday night.
Monday: Quiche (I don’t have a specific link for this because I think that I’m going to use a mish-mash of different ones)
Tuesday: Hamburgers (we also make our own buns)
Wednesday: Quinoa salad (quinoa, black beans, lettuce, tomatoes, and some ranch dressing)
Thursday: Chicken Nuggets
Friday: Mac & Cheese (we are going to a kids’ centered potluck and figured that this was easy and a hit with our kids. We also add in a whole bag of mixed veggies)
For breakfast we always have the same rotating meals: steel-cut oatmeal, home-made yogurt, eggs, banana pancakes (Christopher’s special recipe), and buttermilk waffles every Sunday. For lunch it is usually leftovers or sandwiches.
Lastly, I try and do at least one or two vegetarian/vegan meals a week so that we cut down on how much meat we eat. This week that meal is the Quinoa salad. We usually add some chicken or tuna to our Mac & Cheese.
Have a delicious week!
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