Tuesday, January 31, 2006

What's For Dinner?

As requested by Rich, (thanks for your patience!) here are some ideas for dinner.

First thing is to find out what your family eats, good or bad,
and write it down. I'm sure we can all agree that a child who eats,
even if it's unhealthy, is better than a child who doesn't eat.

There are several approaches to the dinner table arena. Mine happens to be a list.
Yep, I'm a list-maker. I have a list of nearly 70 meals I know that almost every member of my family will eat-from main dish to dessert. I started out using index cards and at that time I had 14-2 weeks worth. You can only eat the same stuff so many times in a row so I had to expand. It took time and thought; there really aren't easy answers to this whole dilemma.
This is a link to that list , but be forewarned, it is always a work in progress and as such, there are missing parts. Please only use it as a guide! It isn't the healthiest of alternatives since my husband and a couple of the kids are so picky it's all I could manage.

There are tons of sites out there and books that offer menus for
X amount of days, but when you really get down to it, they are just
guidelines. I don't know of any family where every member will eat
every item on the menus given on those sites and in those books.

Once you have nailed down relative likes and dislikes you need to take a
look at your food budget and make sure that if the only protein anyone will eat is lobster that you can afford it. If not ... think tuna.

You can also do the "Chicken on Monday", "Beef on Tuesday" approach.
Choose one thing for each day ~ chicken, beef, pork, pasta, fish,
sandwiches, pizza etc. and give it a specific day;


As you see, you can do it by dish or by food choice or by ethnicity.
You could make Wednesday soup night or Friday Italian night etc.
Choosing a theme helps you plan knowing that your choices are not
so broad for a particular day.

Then all you need to do is round up recipes for that particular theme
and off you go.

I plan my shopping lists around dinner always. Nearly everything else is
secondary. I plan for staples first, things I know I always have on hand,
and then I pick dinners for the week, make a list for all I will need for them,
and fill in with lunch and breakfast.

Another way to do this is OAMC-Once a Month Cooking, you cook for a day and eat
for a month. It is exhausting but worth it if you have the initial time and freezer space. There are many sites out there about this so I won't bother to expound upon it. You can also do something similar called "investment cooking" or just do prep-work on your purchases as soon as you are home from the store to make things easier all week. You know, pre-peel carrots, clean chicken breasts, separate ground beef into 1 lb packages, make meatballs, make muffin mixes, etc.

You can choose to do the "What's on sale" approach and wait until the Sunday
sales flyer comes out and plan your meals from there. PLEASE keep in mind though, 10 lbs of anything on sale is NOT a bargain if it's something your family won't eat no matter how you disguise it! Tossing food is never thrifty.

Here are links to some helpful sites:
Saving Dinner-Leanne Ely
OAMC Frozen Assets
Menus 4 Moms
Real Food for Real People
(I subscribe to this list and I love it. Out of all the recipe lists I have been on it is the ONLY one I stay with.)
Simply In Season
Kraft dinner ideas
Dad is holding his own (as usual!) please continue to hold him in your thoughts and prayers~he is believing for a complete healing miracle, and we are standing with him.


dalene said...

Thanks for the help--I can't wait to give it a try. Also, your dad and you and yours will continue to be in my prayers.

KFarmer said...

I would love to put up food in the freezer as I usually cook a ton of it on the week-end. But alas, I usually end up putting it in individual containers and giving it away to friends.

I really had fun and was pumped about cooking last week w/your three ingrediants. The husband thanks you too! :)

Healing prayers and thoughts zinging your way sweet-

Anonymous said...

Hope everything turns out alright.

Praying for you guys.

eyes_only4him said...

hope your dad continues to hold his own..as well as make a full recovery.

i am always in need of dinner ideas..

i have one kid who only eats one thing..so he is easy:)

Anne Coleman said...

Thanks for the continued prayers you guys-you're all so awesome :o)

K-I will do Ready Set Cook again next week for sure-I'll play myself this time though!

Christina lol I can't remember what one thing it is that he eats. Well, it IS easier that way.

Anonymous said...

What a great post Anne! This has inspired me to start my own list and make a serious effort to attempt meal planning. Thanks for all the info!

Jennifer said...

Anne, that's an awesome list. I have my own list, but it isn't as nice as yours. I need to update mine a bit...there HAS to be more that my children will eat!