I've posted on Menu Plan Monday for a few weeks now, but I have yet to actually make all the meals I had planned for the week.
And then Kate, Toni, and I started 3 Moms, 3 Kitchens, 31 Days this last week, and I finally realized exactly why I always seem to postpone meals.
My schedule totally stinks.
What exactly do I mean by that? Well, let me explain.
My husband is a music minister, and we have only one car, so whenever he needs to be at church early to set up, we go with him. In addition to that, I teach piano lessons from my home each weekday afternoon. So between church activities, piano lessons, and homeschooling during the daytime, here's what my weekly schedule looks like:
- Sunday: At church from 8:25 a.m.–12:30 p.m., and again at from 5:25 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
- Monday: Homeschooling until piano lesson time, then teaching piano lessons from 2:45–5:00 p.m.
- Tuesday: Homeschooling until piano lesson time, and then teaching piano lessons from 3:30–5:00 p.m.
- Wednesday: Homeschooling until noon, then at our local homeschool club meeting from 1–3 p.m., teaching piano lessons from 3:15–5:30 p.m., then finally at church from 6:25–8:30 or 9:30 p.m.
- Thursday: Homeschooling until piano lesson time, teaching lessons from 3:45–5:45 p.m., then at the church for praise band practice from 6:45–9:30 p.m.
- Friday: Homeschooling until piano lesson time, then teaching lessons from 4:15–5:45 p.m. This is also Jeff day off, so I run errands quite often on Fridays.
- Saturday: FREEDOM! (In other words, time to clean the house or grocery shop!)
On most weekdays, after teaching piano lessons for a couple hours, the last thing I feel like doing is standing over a hot stove for an hour preparing dinner. So most of the time, I scrap the menu plan and everyone just fends for themselves. And really, that's fine for some days, but I would love to be able to prepare meals more often for my family.
But to do so requires that I plan ahead. In other words, I need to prepare as much of the meal as I can before my lessons begin so that it doesn't take much time to finish the meal and put it on the table after my lessons.
I tried preparing my meal ahead this last week for the first time, and it went really well. And this weekend, when I purchased my five pounds of ground beef for the month, I went ahead and prepped it for my planned meals. I mixed up a little over a pound for meatloaf, then browned the rest with onions and stored it in three zipper bags in the freezer. That should make those meals a lot easier to prepare.
But even with preparing ahead, we'll still end up Yo-Yoing most nights, which my family is perfectly fine with. So here's a more realistic menu for our week, one which I hope we can accomplish!
Breakfasts: French toast, biscuits, cinnamon rolls (with room-temperature yeast this time!), chocolate chip muffins, yogurt (Jaden only), bananas
Lunch: Pasta, hot dogs, sandwiches, beans, mac n' cheese, quesadillas
Dinner: Baked Potatoes (Monday), Chicken/Rice/Veggie Casserole (Tuesday), Baked Ziti (Friday), Yo-Yo for the rest of the meals.
We started making chocolate chip muffins a few weeks ago after Toni emailed me her recipe. It's turned out to be one of their favorite breakfasts. I've adapted the recipe slightly because I use different flour than Toni uses (she grinds her own). This recipe makes 12 good-size muffins.
Chocolate Chip Muffins
- 1 3/4 cups white flour
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1 egg
- 1 cup chocolate chips (more or less depending on preference)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all the ingredients together except
chocolate chips until well mixed and then blend in chocolate chips. Fill greased
muffin tin and bake for about 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. To make these healthier, you can even increase the whole wheat flour to white flour ratio.
Don't forget to see what Kate and Toni are doing in there kitchens this week.
I though I was busy. Whew youe week makes me tired just reanding about it. :O) I do like the idea of cooking ahead of time and freezing. We are about to begin once a month grocery trips (trying this out) and I plan to cook alot of it ahead for quick dinners. We will see how it goes! Have a great week!!!
Great menu, everything looks yummy 🙂
I know that you will get it under control. You already won half the battle! Realizing that you don't need that added stress. I see that you have baked meals and I think that the make ahead meals will help alot. How do you feel about Crock Pot cooking? That may help as well.
Resource Queen says
Joy, I have so many tips in my head to help you. I hope we can talk sometime soon!
First tip for everyone here… I noticed that my grandmother, who was the wife of a farmer, fixed sausage, eggs, and biscuits from scratch everyday. WOW! Well, right after she did the breakfast dishes she made dinner. No, really, she browned the meat and chopped things and cleaned those dishes. Then she left the meal at some ready to assemble stage in the fridge or in the warm oven (before crockpots and microwaves were invented). So PREPARE dinner in the morning while kids are working on their first quiet work, about 1 or 2 hours after breakfast. Then bring a snack to them when you return from the kitchen and school will be pleasant also. Joy, we have got to talk!
I too pre-assemble meals. Right after dinner, I usually cook the dinner for the next night and put in fridge. Also freezing is so easy and such a good idea, isn't it?!!