What’s for dinner? The dreaded question. Actually, the question I dread is the one I ask: “What do you want for dinner?”
Elle isn’t old enough yet to make any suggestions for what she wants for dinner–her stock answer is Mac and Cheese, whether that’s really what she wants or not. Most times the answer I get when I ask what Scott wants for dinner is Spaghetti, which I often deny because we just had it a week ago. Above is a vague list that Scott gave me many months ago that I still keep on my fridge for inspiration. The answer that I really hate getting, though, is “I don’t know” or even worse “I don’t care.”
Hmmmm. I’ll bet that you’ve been in my shoes before. And “I don’t care” isn’t so bad as long as when I make a few suggestions they aren’t turned down. The worst, isn’t it?
To combat the problem of “What’s for dinner” I’ve started keeping a menu on my fridge with two weeks worth of meals. The menu is on a white board so I can easily switch out meals or note an outing that has come up. I find that dinnertime is so much less stressful if I have a plan ahead of time.
But, I still have to come up with two weeks worth of meals.
And then shop for those two weeks worth of meals.
Sometimes the meal planning itself is so daunting a task that I ignore it, ignore it, ignore it, until we don’t have any food in the house.
If I am really organized (hint: I have two little babes and just started back at work), I will start with a notepad and list out the dates for two weeks. I immediately mark out any dates that we have plans with family or other nights out. Then I start brainstorming ideas. What did we have last week? What haven’t we had in a while? Most likely I’ll stare at the blank page (minus those dates) for so long that I run out of time to actually plan anything.
On lucky days I’ll come up with a balanced couple of weeks worth of meals and built in leftover days. I love leftover days (even if I’m the only one in my family who appreciates them). As an example, I’ll plan to cook two days in a row and hopefully both of those meals will yield enough for leftovers. Then on the third day (or fourth), we will have leftovers and everyone can pick and choose her favorites.
Meal planning can be a bit rigid, but I use my two week menu more as a guide than a rule. More often than not I’ll switch up the meals based on mood, but if I planned correctly then I know that I’ll have all of the ingredients already in my fridge and pantry.
They key is to have ideas! Written down in front of you! Which is like a magical miracle for me!
Because otherwise we get to 5:30 and all stand around asking each other, “what do you want to eat?” Those are never good meal nights…
Do you meal plan? HOW do you decide WHAT to cook for dinner?
Every weekend, Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking. “Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs.” Hope you’ll join the fun!