I mentioned the other day that I’ve been a bit lax in the menu-planning and food shopping department.
Truth be told, May was a mess. I never got around to planning our menu – and you all know what happens when you don’t menu plan! I have tons of excuses, but at the end of the day, the net result was the same: Meal time was chaotic, my kids ate waaaay too many scrambled eggs for dinner, and we came dangerously close to going over budget.
And yet, motivated as I am to get us back on track, I have still been drawing a complete blank when it comes to planning June’s menu.
Then I remembered a different form of menu planning that I dabbled with last summer. And since it worked fairly well then, I decided to reprise it.
Theme Menu Planning
Rather than planning out an entire dinnertime meal for each day, I’m assigning a “theme” (using that term in the loosest possible way) to each day. This gives me both flexibility and structure. Two things I seem to be craving in equal measure these days.
Since I know you’re all dying to know, here are our themes:
Monday – Pasta – This can be anything from tuna casserole (egg noodles) to lasagna. As long as the main-ish ingredient is pasta, I’m allowing it. Salad or steamed veggies will be served on the side.
Tuesday – Mexican – This will be a day that my 5 year-old hates. But c’est la vie. Rice and beans, taco salad, creamy black bean burritos, make-your-own fajitas – whatever it is, Mexican is all good as far as I’m concerned!
Wednesday – Stir-Fry – We pick up our CSA share on Wednesdays, which makes it the perfect night for stirfry. This week, I sauteed some bokchoy, broccoli, spring garlic, carrots and tofu for a delicious and quick (less than 15 minutes) dinner.
Thursday – Pizza Night – My kids are such creatures of habit, that they HAVE to have pizza on Thursday nights. Yesterday, we didn’t get around to making the dough in time, but when I suggested something other than pizza, the boys practically mutinied. So instead, my husband made “fake” pizzas with a tortilla as the crust. The kids seemed to like it, but the next time around, I’ll definitely make actual dough.
Friday – Fleish Wow, so original I know. But after taking stock of my freezer, I realized I have at least 8 meals worth of either red meat or chicken. Since Fridays always seem to be insanely busy, I plan on making very simple side dishes. In fact, tomorrow night is my favorite: One-pot chicken.
Saturday – Sandwiches On the rare Shabbat lunch that we don’t get invited out and don’t invite guests, I will make a big pot of my favorite gazpacho and serve it with deli sandwiches and homemade coleslaw. I know, it’s very (overly) simple, but summer is hot, and long days at home are for the birds. We’ll eat something everyone will enjoy and then head across the street to the park. (By the way, if guests are invited, I’ll gussy up the main course, but still probably make that gazpacho – it’s always a crowd-pleaser and perfect for lunch leftovers during the week.)
Sunday- Cookout We rely heavily on the grill during the summer, so I figured I’d pencil in (type in?) a day just for that. This Sunday we’re belatedly celebrating my daughter’s second birthday. A fancier meal will be grilled up, including skirt steaks (our birthday meal tradition) and veggie kabobs. Plus I’m going to serve a side of either tabouli or potato salad… and of course, cake for dessert!
Shavuot The only exception to this themed menu plan is Shavuot. So far, my husband has planned out dinner for the first night (eggplant parm, fettuccine with marina sauce, garlic bread and salad), and I’m working on dinner for the second night (although I am leaning toward “leftovers from 1st night”. Is that pathetic?) We’re going out for lunch(es), so the chag shouldn’t make too much of a difference in our overall plan.
Have you planned a menu for this week or month? Please share your plans in the comments section and feel free to include a link to your blog, if you posted about your menu plan!