16 July 2007

My New Favorite Home Organization Tool

C and I have finally nailed down dinners; it only took 2 1/2 years. We have a solid list of the “regulars” from which we pick, as well as a binder full of things that are “waiting to be tried,” many of which came from the Foodees site. We then use these resources to put together a calendar for the entire month of what we’re going to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This helps me tremendously, as I don’t think well on the fly. If I didn’t plan, we’d end up eating cold cereal for dinner and marshmallows for dessert. Every night. Although, would that be that bad?!

While reading my Cooking Light magazine the other day, someone shared a tip that I now find invaluable. Find a theme for each night of the week and choose your dinners from that theme. In our house, for example, it has become the following: Sunday is “International Night.” Monday is “Pizza night.” Tuesday is “Mexican night.” Wednesday is “Breakfast night.” Thursday is “Grill night.” Friday is “Pasta night.” Saturday is “Soup and Sandwich night.” Most of the things that we eat fell easily into one of these categories, so we didn’t have to add many things.

Why do I like this so much? Normally when doing our monthly planning, I struggle to make dinners as varied as possible; I don’t want spaghetti right next to the homemade mac and cheese, for example. This is totally going to eliminate this. Also, although we now have entrees down pat, we still struggle with sides. But we decided that we’ll pick a side that is particular to that day. For example, the side for pizza night? A green salad of course! And finally, it will help with the grocery shopping. I know that for international night and pizza night, I’m more likely to need fresh produce, so shopping on Saturday makes this easier. No more trips to Giant on a Wednesday just for scallions!

Given that today is Monday, I’m really looking forward to pizza tonight. Thai Chicken Pizza, to be precise. And if it’s good, look for the recipe on the Foodees soon!

9 comments:

Megan said...

Hey, that is really cool. Very good idea. Have you ever thought of having a menu section on the blog? One of my friends would rotate with her sisters and mom every week. They would each take a week, make a menu for the whole week and then email it to everyone else. This way they only had to come up with a menu once a month and then the rest was done for them. They would substitute of course for family preferences. I always thought that was a great idea and it's super fun to think that everyone else is eating the same thing that night as you. Just think of the discussion we could create if we all ate the same thing on the same day. What do you think?

Deanna said...

I found this same tip a couple of years ago and have been implementing it this last year and LOVE it. I made myself a spreadsheet that lists each night of the week and what "category" that night is "i.e., chicken or pizza, or vegetarian, etc.) and then under each of those columns I have written down the name of each of the recipes that I have that fit into that category. It is so fast and easy to plan my menus! I just pull up my spreadsheet and then go down the list and pick 4 meals from each day of the week and fill up my menu for the month. Sure beats the old method where it would take me a couple of hours of thumping my head to try to come up with meals for the month. I like your idea of also having a standing side dish that goes with each night too. I always struggle with sides...

I like Megan's suggestion about sharing menus...could be fun!

holly said...

Ooooh, I like! I am not a good food planner. It always overwhelms me to even think of planning more than a week at a time. But a theme though, that makes it fun and creative and not just "fill the empty squares with healthy balanced meals that everyone will like". Thanks for sharing!!

erin said...

hey megan. i really like that idea, but i'm afraid because my husband is kinda picky, so we'd probably have to do lots of moderations. did they do it for all three daily meals or just dinners?

Megan said...

Just dinners.

Ben said...

maybe we could do the menu thing for one week out of the month? i think it would be hard to do a whole month cuz people's tastes are so varied. but i think somebody doing a week's worth of menus could be fun!?

and i really need to do your idea, sis! you told me about it a while ago and i loved it then. now i just need to do it! thanks for hopefully making my life easier. :)

Amber said...

Coming off a night where we had grilled cheese sandwiches (that's it, no sides, nothing), I am loving this idea of theme night. I love planning dinners in advance, but this summer I have gotten very lazy and I need to get back into the swing of things. This is great motivation, so thanks Erin!
The Foodees site is awesome. I can't wait to try the Thai pizza!

emily said...

whoops, looks like i was logged in under ben's account. whatever.

A said...

R and I do a similar thing, but we have simplified it even more. We have made 4 set weekly meal plans, which include breakfasts and lunches (with sides), and we have the previous days leftovers for dinner. We just cycle through each week every month. Having the same meal once a month isn't too bad, and we can control our budget better that way. Thanks for putting together our master grocery list for us.