Menu Planning Happens Differently Now

My household dynamics are much different these days than they were a year ago. My husband is retired, but he’s currently working almost full time as an “on call” deputy sheriff. Aaron works at least forty hours a week, but with his almost hour-long commute, he’s gone from home from 2:00 p.m. until the wee hours of the morning. Will is very busy with youth group, a couple of classes outside our home, and working now and again for neighbors. Though I can eat whatever I’d like, my Weight Watcher’s program sometimes means that I choose to eat something other than what I’m preparing for the rest of  the family. With all of these changes in my home, I’ve had to radically adapt my meal planning to accommodate the needs of my family.

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I used to plan out breakfast, lunch and dinner for everyone. These days, I keep the breakfast planning to a minimum, though I do bake muffins to leave out for the guys to have for breakfast or snacks, and a couple of times a week, I’ll try to make a hot breakfast for whoever is home that day. Lunches tend to be staggered for everyone, so I keep a good supply of good lunch meat, sliced cheese, canned soups, tortillas, and even a few frozen burritos on hand, to keep the selection varied.

Though there may be only two or three of us here, I still cook dinner for all four of us. Aaron’s dinner is put into a Pyrex container and popped into the fridge for him to take to work and reheat for lunch the next day. We will, quite often, also have the last evening’s left overs for lunch the next day.

I still prefer to menu plan and cook using the deep freezer/deep pantry method. It’s a method that has served me well for many years. I’m able to restock my freezer and shelves when prices are good, and I know that I can “shop” my freezer and pantry when I plan the meals for the week.

Here’s our dinner plan for the week, along with a couple of notes about what we’re up to for the week.

MONDAY:  Double Decker Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Fresh Fruit   (Copper will be working, and Will and I will be meeting our extended family at the beautiful Veteran’s Cemetery where my father-in-love is buried. A big bunch of us will be having a big meal together in the afternoon, so a quick-to-fix dinner is just the thing. I’ll probably not be hungry, but Will is always hungry and Copper will be, too. There will probably be leftovers for lunch the next day.)

TUESDAY:  Bubbly & Golden Mexican Beef Cobbler, Southwest Chopped Salad  (I have a meeting at 4:30, Will needs to catch his ride to his German class by 5:15, and I’m not sure what time Copper will be home from work. I’ll pop the Mexican Cobbler into the oven and make the salad early so Will can eat before class, and I’ll reheat some for myself and Copper after my meeting. There will definitely be some left over for lunch the next day.)

WEDNESDAY: Coconut Chicken with Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce, My Chicken Rice, and a fresh Spinach Salad.  (Copper works, but I’ll be home and no one has to leave for the evening. Yay!)

THURSDAY: Crockpot Hawaiian BBQ Chicken over Brown Rice*, Green Salad.  (Thursdays are crazy. I take Will and a friend to Biology Class in a city almost an hour away. We dash back home in time for lunch, and then (hopefully) Corin and her seven beautiful kids come out for the afternoon. My oldest grandson stays here to have dinner with us and then Copper drops both boys off at church for youth group, and then goes to his men’s core group meeting. Putting frozen chicken into the crockpot in the morning, and then being able to pull dinner together in just a few minutes in the evening, makes even our crazy Thursdays doable!)

FRIDAY: Pioneer Woman’s Sunday Night Stew and Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes. (I know that Ree says that her stew must be made on Sunday, but this week, Friday night seemed like the perfect night for stick to your ribs, rich, delicious, spent-some-time-to-make-it food. I’ve not made this before, but I’m guessing there will be leftovers for lunch, or for a second dinner to tuck into the freezer for Aaron.)

SATURDAY: Stroganoff Meatballs, Noodles, Green Beans (I’ve not made these in a  long time! My family loves them. I love them. Not sure why they’ve not been made in awhile. I’m going to make at least a double batch, maybe triple, and package them up for the freezer for another dinner or two down the road.)

SUNDAY: Winter Minestrone & Garlic Bruschetta (As I type this on Sunday afternoon, it’s sunny and 78°. The seven day forecast, however, is calling for a high of 66° by next Sunday. If they’re right, a big pot of hearty Minestrone will be just the thing! I’m hoping for leftovers for lunch on Monday.)

*The brown rice is already cooked and in the freezer, ready to be microwaved and ready in just minutes. Watch for a post soon on how I use a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon to fill my freezer with main dishes, baked goods and other good things.

Check out this week’s Menu Plan Monday for more great menu planning ideas.

What’s on the menu at your house this week?

 

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