I dislike trying to figure out (usually in the mid-afternoon) what to make for supper. I dislike trying to make supper during the most hectic & "mom-attention-seeking" hour of the day (right after school.) I dislike making meals, only to hear complaints from at least one family member (& it's not always the kids...) Basically, I dislike the whole experience.
Which is strange, because I like cooking. I like trying new things. And I enjoy eating. Very much.
So, I was thinking that I need a plan, because really, as much as I can help it, I don't like having things in my life that I dislike.
Enter: menu planning.
2. I figured that to get a handle on this new plan, I needed to organize my recipes. You see, last year, I went through years worth of the Kraft What's Cooking magazines that I get free in the mail each season. I looked through each one and cut out any recipe that I thought I might want to try, as well as the ones I'd tried in the past and liked. Then I put them all in a big pile. Note: not an efficient form of organization.
3. So, this week, I started sorting through my pile and organizing them.
I made thirteen categories: appetizers, breads & pizza, chicken, hamburger (ground beef), beef, pork, fish, pasta, eggs, veggies, soup, salads & desserts.
I took a large white binder (which I found in my basement) and some white printer paper, in which I punched holes with my three-hole punch. I trimmed each recipe and adhered it (using my tape-runner) onto the sheets of paper. I chose to leave a lot of the photos, because I know this catches my eye when choosing recipes (& because, well, it's nice to know what it's suppose to look like when it's done.)
Some pages got more than one recipe...
whereas others only got one...
I also included recipes that I'd printed off the internet, which I just punched holes and added to the binder.
4. The binder I'd chosen has a clear sleeve in the front, into which you can slide a cover page. I decided to make something pretty for my cover (because things are just all the more fun when I can get crafty with them!)
Since I couldn't picture any "food" related stamps sets or patterned paper that I owned, I was a little stumped. Then, as I was flipping through my sheets of patterned paper, I came across the perfect sheet to use:
See, it's all ingredients! Isn't that perfect?
It`s a sheet of Crate Paper from their Farm House line. I added some sweet blush Papertrey Ink cardstock, which I stamped with my PTI bb:woodgrain stamps. Then, I cut out some PTI canyon clay cardstock using a Layerz Mat Stack 4 dies & this week's Make It Monday at Papertrey Ink: Die Cutting Partial Images. To this I added a strip of PTI patterned paper (aqua mist), two Crate Paper stickers and my title, which I made using PTI dark chocolate cardstock and my PTI block alphabet dies. I had to keep it thin, since it would go in the binder, but I was pleased with the layering I was still able to do, thanks to the MIM technique and the stickers.
To organize the categories in my binder, I chose 6 shades of PTI cardstock that matched the cover (summer sunrise, sweet blush, canyon clay, ripe avocado, hawaiian shores & simply chartreuse) and diecut them using one of my PTI journaling tab dies (the largest one). I also stamped each one with versamark and a BB:Woodgrain stamp, before handwriting the category.
5. I wish I could say I`m done, but I`m not. I still have half of the pile to finish going through and adding to my binder. Of course, I`m not adding all of the recipes. If they`re unhealthy, or if there`s an ingredient in it that I won`t buy (like Bisquick or minute-rice) or don`t know what it is (like, olive tapenade), I toss it.
So, once a week, I will go through the binder (most likely on Saturday) & plan our menu for the week. The kids have been enjoying looking at the recipes on the table and suggesting we try certain dishes, so I`m thinking that maybe on Saturday evenings, while we`re still sitting at the dining room table after supper, I`ll pull out the binder and take suggestions. Maybe if they have a hand in the meal planning, there will be less complaints. A girl can dream, right?
I`m also open to checking out menu-planning sites for ideas, like this one: Shrinking kitchen.com: Menu plan your butt off. I found a great recipe there this week: Hearty Taco Casserole, which was a huge hit and will be added to our regular rotation.
So, if you`re still reading, do you menu plan? What works for you?
Thanks for looking!