To tell the truth making up a menu can be easy for a week or two, but then it can sometimes become a chore. When it gets daunting, it helps me to remember a few things to make it a bit more manageable.
1. Take turns. At least two nights a week, my husband does the cooking, and plans what we eat those days.
2. Make a routine. During the summer especially, we have homemade pizza every Friday. I make large batches of pizza dough and freeze it in one pound balls. We use it as a way to clean up any left over veggies. That means we have weird sounding, but delicious tasting pizza. Steak, onion, and bell pepper; tomato, basil and chard; potato and rosemary; eggplant, thyme and Swiss cheese; etc. This makes every Friday a given on the menu. Combine with whatever my husband has planned, now I only have to think of four more meals.
3. Be flexible. Keeping my pantry reasonably well stocked means that if I really don’t feel like fixing what I had planned on the day I planned it, I can usually go another direction without impacting the rest of the week’s meals. Also, if your neighbor invites you over, feel free to delay you menu by a day. It’s ok to plan take out once in a while. Give yourself a night off. The plan is more like a guideline, really.
4. Use those bulk purchases. The elk needs to get used up. So I make sure to plan one or two meals a week using elk meat. This removes still more brain damage in coming up with a plan, because I only have so many meals I can make out of red meat. In the winter, there are lots of stews, chilli, steak. The summer, we use less, mainly grilling, always with a big salad, sometimes stir fried or fajitas. When I had to get us through a hog, we had pork a couple times a week too.
5. Cook once, eat twice. Plan for left overs. Your pork roast on Monday becomes Wednesday’s pulled pork sandwich. Tuesday’s left over pasta becomes Thursday’s frittata. Cook a little extra early in the week to make it easier on yourself later, when your willpower starts wavering.
What tips do you have for making and sticking to a menu plan.
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