I Need a Kitchen Aid

Y'all may have heard cooking isn't my spiritual gift.

I get by.

But that doesn't mean I don't wish for more.

When it comes to food, I've got the eating part down. Pat.

I'm my Mom's best eater.

It's the shopping for and preparation of that eludes me.

I'm the kind of shopper that just wanders down the aisles grabbing a little of this and a little of that. When I actually get ready to prepare dinner, I have 9 cans of pinto beans and 11 cans of cream of something and a clueless look on my face.

I can follow a recipe, I just don't want to go to the store every day for five ingredients.

I know there are a lot of ideas out there....

I've heard of cooking once, eating twice, meal planning, menu shopping. At the same time, I'd like to cook healthier and spend as little money as possible.

I need a cooking miracle, y'all.

Any miracle workers out there? Because I think if I prepare another pizza this week (even homemade pizza gets old), The Family will rebel.

Do you cook every day? Do you make a menu, follow a grocery list, cook ahead and freeze?

It just makes my head hurt, can y'all help a girl out?


Tammy said...

I aspire to be the meal planner. Almost 13 years of marriage and two kids later, I am not. I have one very picky eater and it just does not lend itself to easy meal planning.

I never use a grocery list. My husband does and still buys more than the list.

Angie said...

I menu plan and have written a lot about it on my blog.

Why not try just planning a week's worth of dinners to start out with? Then, you can try to work up to more. Seriously -- I find that I spend so much less time working on meals because of menu planning a month of dinners at a time.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I talk with the kids on Saturday and we decide on 7 dinners for the week that everyone likes. Only one repeat from the previous week is allowed. I write down the ingredients we don't already have on my grocery list, along with milk, cereal, bread and stuff for their lunches. We shop once a week, with an extra quick trip in the middle of the week for more milk (cause I'm picky about fresh milk and we use several gallons a week.) I consult our after school schedule and assign the dinners to appropriate nights. For example, the night we have Scouts, we have a quick-to-prepare meal. Friday night I have time to cook a more involved meal. I keep that list on the fridge, and that way I know what's for dinner every night, and I know it is all in the cupboards.
And I have FlyLady to thank for helping get me out of the habit of going to the store on a daily basis.

Gibby said...

OMG, I just posted about how I FINALLY made a meal plan and actually went shopping with a list. What a difference it made! I am like you, though. I would rather EAT the food than cook or shop for it.

Muthering Heights said...

I'm a BIG planner, so I usually plan our meals a month at a time.

I decide which nights will be leftover (or "Must Go") nights - one per week, which nights we need something quick, etc. The I fill in the meals I think would be best on those days. For example, if I make chili one night, we will have a Must Go night soon after, since we always have leftovers.

It helps tremendously!

Muthering Heights said...

Oh, and we don't usually eat the same meal twice in a month - unless my family wants tomato sauce on their pasta multiple times, rather than a different type each week. :)

Chaotic Joy said...

I have been married 12 years and it's only been the last two that I have really embraced menu planning. Which is to say, I do it. I hate it, but I do it. Because the difference it makes in my life is worth it. I will say I only plan 5 meals a week and one of those is something we can eat twice. So 4 meals. I don't care if you have to eat PB&J, I don't cook on Fri or Sat.

The thing about menu planning is there isn't much of a trick to it. You pick 4 or 5 things to make. You figure out what you need. You just do it. I dedicate most of my Monday just to Menu planning and grocery shopping (well, and catching up on laundry and blogging) but the rest of my week go so much smoother for having planned. I also take into account if there is a night that I won't have time to cook, and plan on having leftoevers that night.

It is a chore, so good luck.

Lisa said...

Chaotic Joy said, "I don't care if you have to eat PB&J, I don't cook on Fri or Sat."

That one sentence made my whole night. And I'll be quoting it to my family reaaaaal soon.

a Tonggu Momma said...

My momma called leftovers nights "hit or miss." You either hit the jackpot with your favorite leftovers, which you hid in the back so no one else would find them ... or you missed and were forced to "starve" or eat something you hated just so it wouldn't go bad.

Anonymous said...

Here's what I did. It took much more time than I thought it would, but it works FLAWLESSLY!!!

1. Get out all your cookbooks, recipes, scraps of paper, etc., and find your family's most favorite 28 recipes. Don't be afraid to check out online places like recipezaar.com for ideas.

2. Now write the recipes down, trying to balance them. If you don't want chicken 4 nights in a row, spread it out. This gave me a huge headache.

3. TYPE all the recipes out - I made four different files for each week.

4. Here's what you will thank God for - now copy and paste all the ingredients for the recipes (organized by category) into a separate document.

5. Each week print out the shopping list, cross off what you already have, and you're good to go. Making only one trip to the grocery store a week is a beautiful thing.

This system has been wonderful. I know what we're having for dinner every night - and I even have everything I need.

I would be happy to e-mail you a menu/shopping list of mine so you can see what it's all about.

Colleen - Mommy Always Wins said...

UGH! Cooking kicks my bootay just about every day! The only way I survive is to plan out a few meals at the beginning of the week so that when I grocery shop I have all the ingredients for at least a few meals. (I can't plan them down to the day - I never feel like eating whatever I've planned for any particular day.)

Anonymous said...

I pretty much do what Cheri-Beri talked about, but I have an 8 week menu instead of just 4 weeks. It was time consuming to set up, but totally worth it once the system is in place.

IE Mommy Blogger said...

Oh my goodness! Are we twins split at birth? Your blog could have been written by me. I have said "Cooking is not one of my gifts" so many times my friends roll their eyes up. I wish I could help with some great idea but all I can say is "Amen, sister, Amen!"

KCShipe said...

I vote you email Cheri-Beri and use her menu/grocery list verbatim. That way, she's done most of the work for you already :)
My second suggestion is to move near your mother and "accidentally" drop by around dinnertime every night.
Hey, I didn't say they were GREAT suggestions...

Amy said...

I always plan to make a menu and then never really follow through with it. I know what you mean about one more night of pizza ours is spaghetti. I have a couple ideas that might help. The first one is from the Fly Lady. She says to plan it out like this:

Monday - Casserole
Tuesday - Pork
Wednesday - Chicken
Thursday - Beef
Friday - Soup & Sandwiches
Saturday - Go Out
Sunday - Leftovers

This is not exactly what she says but I'm sure you get the gist of it. I just draw a blank sometimes and this helps at least guide me in the right direction.

The second is once a month cooking. There are a lot of books out there one is called Don't Panic Dinner's In The Freezer. I have done this a few times with friends and it is a lot of work but so nice to have a freezer full of meals when your done.

The Kraft website has meal ideas that give you 4 days of meals with the grocery list etc.

I also did a meal exchange with some friends. Our families would get together once a month on a Friday or Saturday nightat someones house and each bring frozen (homemade) meals for everyone there. We would get pizza and the kids would play. Fun night out and then you would have a variety of meals.

Sorry that was 4 ideas. I wonder why I can come up with advice for other people but can't figure out what's for dinner?????

Good Luck!!!!!

Amy Anderson said...

literally, e-mealz.com is your miracle. I don't even have kids yet and it saves my life. you get 5 recipes a week ( I think) based on supermarket of your choosing's specials. and a grocery list with prices. and everything I have ever made from them tastes awesome, even if it sounds weird. and it's like $15 for three months or something. they aren't even paying me to say this.... SIGN UP STAT!

Melissa said...

You know I have always wanted to be a meal planner. My husband is only home a few nights a week and I don't "cook" when its just me and the kids. I am the wander down the aisle kind of gal too.

Monica said...

I plan all of our meals for the week and make a grocery list from that. I usually only make two trips to the store a week. I would be lost without my menu plans. And I am totally baffled as to how people just walk through the grocery picking up various items and then turn them into a meal. But, then, I still can't cook anything without a recipe!

Anonymous said...

I am right there with you. I did this exact thing last week. Walked through the grocery store and threw all kinds of odds and ends, creams of this and that in the buggy. I was thinking oh surely something will come to mind and these will come in handy. Then tonight I stood in front of my pantry and just stared at it all...and couldn't think of a thing. Thankfully my sweet hubby, rescued me and said..why don't we just go get something.

MommyAmy said...

I'm dieting right now, so I'm probably not a good person to ask. Because when I plan to eat cereal for dinner, I pretty much expect that everyone else will do likewise.

I know. They're SO lucky!

But I do know of a site that might actually help you out! It's called Dine Without Whine. You pay like $6 a month and they provide you with easy yet tasty meal plans & shopping lists. I haven't tried it yet, but I've been seriously tempted to. You can do it for a month for $.01 to see if you like it before committing to it. Might be worth a shot! http://www.dinewithoutwhine.com/indextest.html

Julie Simmons said...


Amanda said...

I try to plan our meals for a week at a time. I grocery shop probably 2-3 time a week because we're picky about fresh produce and breads. I plan our meals around what evening activities are going on for that week. I also keep a couple "saves" in my back pocket. One is to know when and where kids' night is at the local restaurants. For example, one near us the kids eat free Mondays and Tuesdays.

Another thing I do is make sure I have a few convenience foods in the freezer. Frozen pizzas, chicken nuggets, fries, Bertolli dinners, a lasagna, dinner rolls, whatever your family likes. Are they the healthiest choices? No, but they work when your spouse comes home and asks "What's for dinner?" and you have no inclination to cook that night. Of course it also helps that my husband was a bachelor for a fair amount of time before we met, so he's still OK with eating mac and cheese every once in awhile if it comes to that.

Andrea said...

I make a meal plan of dinners for 2 weeks and shop every 2 weeks. I try to look at our schedule and pick crock-pot meals on really hectic days. I also keep some easy foods, like noodles around in case the meal plan doesn't work for that day. I really like the cookbook "Don't Panic Dinner's in the Freezer". You can make those ahead and freeze them or just make it for that night.

The Mommy said...

I cook nearly everyday. By nearly, I mean we eat out maybe once a week. I try to ask my husband if there's anything that he would like to have for dinner during the coming week and go from there. I always keep pasta, mac & cheese, rice, a good assortment of frozen vegetables,a bag of salad and a frozen pizza on hand. I look at the weekly adds to see what's on sale and that usually factors in what we buy too. I don't mind the shopping and preparing nearly as much as I mind the trying to figure out what to shop and prepare. We seem to eat the same five or six things all the time. I love crock pot meals where the cooking and cleaning is easy, but I run out of ideas and we always fall back on chili. We heart chili, though.

Mom said...

I have a book with several weeks worth of menus and the recipes for each all neatly organized. I haven't actually used that book in a few months because life has been far too hectic for any type of planning. I miss using that book and hope to get back to it.

I don't regularly cook/freeze ahead. There are a handful of recipes that lend themselves to be prepped and frozen for later cooking. I do that on occasion, but not often.

christine said...

I usually plan a little...not like meal planning(tried that, failed that class) but I know how much of certain ingredients we use every week for our family(like meat, chicken etc.) and then I make a list of unusual stuff and I check out recipes online. I get caught without ingredients alot...and am trying to do better.....something ALWAYS seems to get in the way...maybe its the 9 people in the house...LOL.

Beth@Sportsmomma said...

oh, you are so a girl after my own heart!!! I am not a planner either (I have tried before) and cooking is SO not my thing.

One thing that I've found that helps is going to orgjunkie.com on Mondays and checking out all of the menus. Sometimes I'll grab some ideas from there!

Good luck!!!

marky said...

I hate to cook..plus I cook for a bunch of celiacs..Creativity in the kitchen is not there..and I really don't enjoy one second of it.
I don't have any fancy cookware or appliances either..and I always wanted a Kitchen Aid..I do have an old pampered chef pizza stone..however I rarely make gluten free pizza.
sorry, I realize that I am of no help here :-/

marky said...

I wanted to add..that you can link up to menu monday where tons of bloggers post their weekly meal plans, it is good for ideas

Kimm at Reinvented said...

I don't meal plan, that's too much thinkin' in one sitting. But, I do use the Grocery Game to save money and build a stockpile, so that I usually have on hand what I need. I only shop once a week, I could make it 2 except for milk and produce.

Kristy K said...

I hate cooking! But I do cook about 6 nights a week because I have to. I do a combination of everything you mentioned. I go through sale ads, see what meats are on sale, stock up on those meats for future weeks, and plan my menu based on what I find in the ad and what I have in the freezer. For example, we're out of ground beef, but there hasn't been a good sale in two weeks. So until there's a sale, we're eating a lot of chicken, pork, roast, fish.

I don't use a lot of recipes. My kids aren't fans of cream soups, so casseroles aren't a favorite. But I do a meat, veggie and a starchy food for each dinner. We loved salad, so steak and chicken and seafood salads are yummy for everyone. Pasta and sauce is an easy choice too.

I'm constantly trying to bring my grocery budget down, but that doesn't seem possible right now.


MissMeliss said...

my suggestion: START SMALL.

1. start with your basic list of things you know you always buy.

2. then add things you KNOW you like a lot, or the family does, like grilled chicken, rice and broccoli

3. then add something - just one thing - that you'd like to try.

4. start with one day planning. then move to two days... then a week.

For example, we like beans, rice, turkey/chicken, one-skillet meals at my house...

So, I buy:
can of soup
frozen veggie

wallla! one meal down. if we don't eat it all, i freeze the rest, or have it for lunch the next day.

Or, I might make a turkey meatloaf (EASY) and a veggie...

or another easy one is burritos... take can of beans and mash them up (or get refried) and get other fillings you like (ground meat, tomatoes, olives)... i always have tortilla wraps on hand... put the mix inside the burrito, wrap it up, and nuke it for 30 seconds in the microwave... or get more adventurous and put them in the oven with a sauce on top!

and, see, you're half way there with your soup and beans!! ;-)

i'm not an expert. i'm a JUNIOR chef... but, it isn't too hard when you pick your BASICS from the store.

Anonymous said...

This is something that I have worked at very hard lately. After lounging Sunday mornings with the paper and cutting coupons I steal a moment and hide in the pantry and take stock. I sit on the stool with my calendar and plan the meals making a list of needs as I go. Everyone knows give me some peace unless they want to help. The cookbooks are stored in there so if I need more inspiration. We rarely eat frozen or prepared meal because it just doesn't feel right. It makes the whole week go smoother when the meals are already planned.

Our current favorites are chili with cornbread, shrimp with pasta, asian inspired soups, and tacos. My fall back meal is breakfast for dinner because who can say no to bacon and pancakes.

mommy4life said...

I do it all -

Utilize the crock pot.

Plan 2 weeks of meals ahead of time and shop for necessary ingredients.

Have on hand ingredients for 2 or 3 meals that are favorites and easy to prepare.

Swap recipes with friends from time to time to keep things fresh.

Shop the sales.

Cook a couple of meals once a week that can be frozen or reheated in the next few days.

All these help us from eating out or getting pizza at the last minute.

Joanna said...

So I love the IDEA of organized meal planning but I am a rebel at heart...I just can't stick with it. I did it for a few months and it is real nice to know what you are cooking every night but I felt so constrained and it was time consuming. Now I have a nice balance that works great for me. I have 1 favorite grocery store but there are 2 others on the way home from my fave so I get all 3 of their weekly flyers (if you don't get the newspaper, most stores have an email sign up that will send you their weekly specials). When I get to my favorite store I flip through all 3 flyers and circle the meat items that are on sale and any items that I regularly buy (watch out for those impulse buys). I tuck all 3 flyers in my bag and go shop at store 1. When I get to the meat dept I compare what they have on sale to what the other stores have. I try to get at least 4 dinners worth of meats. The side items never seem to stump me - I always have rice, potatoes and fresh veggies on hand. Sometimes it's worth it to pop in to one of the other 2 stores to grab whatever their special of the week is, sometimes I can get good enough deals at the 1st store. This way I save money and I know what I am cooking that week. I plan out my weekly menu after I shop and I try to prepare meals with possibilities of re-using leftovers in mind (like if I make a large baked chicken, I can use the leftover meat to make chicken salad or chicken noodle soup the next day). I don't do any recipes that are too technical and if I want to prepare something a little more involved, I save it for the weekend when hubby can run out and get the needed ingredients.

You'll find your groove - you've got a lot of ideas here!

Jenn said...

I am a meal planner. I plan my meals for a week at a time. Then make up my grocery list. If I didn't do this I would be so stressed out come 5:00. This really helps me to beat the dinner rush.

Another thing- I love my crock pot. I use it at least once a week if not more. I throw everything in the pot in the morning and its ready for dinner. No stress!

beckyjomama said...

Girl, when ya get that help ... BLOG IT! 'Cause I need to get my rear in gear in this area in a ginormous way! ARGH! Only for us it is Hamburger Helper... Brother in law found it on sale at the Nat'l Guard base. It was a case sale. And, kind as he is, he bought us a few ... CASES!

Yeah, I surely need some of that Kitchen Aid!

Amanda said...

sorry I will be no help at all-Im right there with you. when Im stumped we have cereal for dinner (at that happens A LOT)

Sole said...

I make a menu plan Mon-Fri (we eat leftovers or takeout on the weekends) I LOVE gosseberry patch cookbooks, most of the recipes are so quick and easy and all the ingredients are very easy to find, no need to go to a special gourmet upscale grocery store to find an ingredient! Those cookbooks make my life much easier when it comes to meal planning!

Another thing I like to do is use one nights dinner for next nights dinner! For example, I make a roast in the crock pot for au jus sandwiches one night and then use the leftover beef for a stroganoff dinner the folowing evening. Hope this helps!

J said...

I, too, tried the plan-for-a-month strategy and failed miserably. I do love to cook - and eat! - but that hasn't seemed to help. It actually makes it worse, I think, because I'm always game for making complicated, exotic stuff.

We have a family of 5 and 2 of my kids are growing boys that are incessantly hungry! Everyone would love if I cooked every day, but I don't. I can't. (We homeschool and I also have a sewing business at home.)

It's basically come down to staples for me - meats I know everyone likes, frozen veggies, canned soups for mixing into stuff, beans, pasta, rices, sauces, etc. Oh - and lots of cans of biscuits, crescent rolls and the like. You'd be surprised what you can turn out with those - the yummiest stuff! Empanadas, sticky buns, turnovers, not to forget pigs-in-a-blanket.

I only sort of plan out 3-4 meals per week - ranging from totally from-scratch to the semi-homemade style of meal. I usually cook "big" so we can have leftovers for lunch/supper, so that takes care of a couple of meals at a time. Also - my husband & I will do salad one night a week and the kids will have pb&j or ham & cheese sandwiches. I'll buy turkey meat in bulk at Sam's (Costco) and from one giant pkg (4-5 lbs) we'll have turkey chili, turkey burgers, tacos, burritos, spaghetti, etc. It's healthier than beef and I can use that meat over the span of about a month or more. It's so easy, too, because it only involves browning the meat with some onion and then adding packets of seasoning or a sauce. Then veggies for toppings or a side salad. Quick and simple.

I'd suggest taking a "survey" from your family to see what they'd like to have or what their favorites are. Then search the net (allrecipes.com, everydayfood.com, recipezar.com, etc.) and find the most simplified version of what they want. Make a list of the ingredients and note any cross-over ingredients from those recipes - stuff that's in more than one recipe. Those should become your families "staples". Then add the basics: bread, butter, milk, eggs, flour, sugar, cream, produce, lunch meat, condiments and a few frozen convenience foods - pizza, corn dogs, etc. for on-the-go eating.

Another great couple of resources, I think are 2 shows on Food Network: Barefoot Contessa and Semi-Homemade. Barefoot Contessa has some really basic recipes that can fool you - the finished product looks so involved but is usually extremely simple & easy. Semi-Homemade, well, she does use a lot of pre-pkgd, processed stuff, but her recipes are usually very quick and good and you can very, very easily substitute something fresh for the processed stuff she uses.

Ok, I've probably overwhelmed you. I guess my best advice would be to start simple and eventually things will start to "click", believe it or not.

VanderbiltWife said...

I am a meal planner (and have been since I got married pretty much). I plan out 5 meals for the week, usually. We only have 2 people who eat real food so we inevitably have leftovers almost always.

I sit down on Sunday with the ads and coupons and some cookbooks, and plan my menu based on what is on sale that week. Sometimes I use recipes, sometimes I just say, "Well, I think I will marinate chicken in soy sauce and have brown rice," or yada yada. Then I make a grocery list and go to the store and try to follow it. Generally I am not good about making a list for breakfast and lunch food, though, and those things I just throw in the cart and hope they work.

I post a Menu Plan Monday--it's helpful to peruse others' posts at orgjunkie.com.

Threeundertwo said...

I'm no grammar expert, but I think if you're your mom's best eater, you're some kind of cannibal.

On topic: I use Mastercook software. Comes with years of recipes from Cooking Light magazine (almost always foolproof - I love that mag!). I can mark recipes as favorites, then I pick from my favorites every week and it generates a shopping list. I hit print, go to the store, done. All so easy.

Tiffany said...

I do a lot of quick and easy cooking, but yes...I cook every day. I stick to boneless skinless chicken breasts and ground turkey for the most part. I throw in something else once or twice a week if it's on sale. I plan out what I'm going to make for the week before I go to the store...and I do a lot of casseroles. They tend to have simple directions and don't require a ton of ingredients.

Melanie said...

I check the grocery ads each week, and that determines what I'm making by what meat is on sale. Then I look at my calendar and figure out which days need to be something easy and make a loose plan from that. Kind of a pain, but in the end I save money by not having to buy takeout cause I'm too lazy!

Favaunt said...

Right there with you, girlfriend. I so hate planning and I go to the store multiple times a week. I have always wondered how my Mom would have every ingredient every time she cooks. You know, the people whose pantry and refrigerator are completely stocked. Yeah--I'm definitely like a deer caught in the headlights. I am sooooo there!

Sarah said...

Mom Tip Monday for the last two weeks has been dedicated to this very topic. It took me forever to get in the groove but I hate those "run out's" as much as you do and menu planning was the only way I could avoid them.

Anonymous said...

emealz.com has been a lifesaver for me!
I was in the same boat w/too many ingredients but nothing to eat! I don't even know how I found out about it but it has saved my sanity. I does cost but I did it for 3 months for about $5/month, got the hang of it & cancelled. You pick how many people to feed & where you shop (if you have a store on the list) You get a full menu w/recipes & a grocery list. If you did pick a specific store, they organize the list according to the store layout & print the prices! Can you tell I love it? It has changed the way I run my house. I work full time & have 2 girls under 5 so getting dinner on the table before 7 was a miracle but now I can & we actually all eat as a family too!!

It Feels Like Chaos said...

I used to be like this, but now I am a menu-planning, cook ahead when I can, freezer filling, stockpile shopping girl! It takes a lot of the stress out of dinner and I am a last minute person but pre-planning really DOES make meal prep. easier! I have a few posts under food and shopping topics on my blog that are kinda Beginners Guide to Menu Planning and Stockpile shopping!

Alexia said...

I'd love to help you, but I'm in the same spot unfortunately. I'm about to buy tons of deli meat, cheese, fruit and wheat crackers for the boys (a "healthy" lunchable, the only thing they will eat LOL) and just cook a big pot of something that will reheat well all week long. I suck at cooking.

Staci said...

I tend to cook about 4 nights a week. The hubby cooks on Sunday's: gumbo, pork stew, you know the things that take hours.
I go to the store weekly and make a list before I go. I usually have written down what I want to cook for that week and make sure to get those ingredients. I always buy more than the list but that's ok because the list for me is just a reminder. I am a cook in less than an hour kind of girl since my twins are 15 months their attention span is as long as a baby einstein dvd.
Some of our favorites are: chili w/turkey dogs, Lasagna, Turkey cassarole, tacos, chicken enchiladas, fried pork chops, garlic chicken.

Staci said...

I tend to cook about 4 nights a week. The hubby cooks on Sunday's: gumbo, pork stew, you know the things that take hours.
I go to the store weekly and make a list before I go. I usually have written down what I want to cook for that week and make sure to get those ingredients. I always buy more than the list but that's ok because the list for me is just a reminder. I am a cook in less than an hour kind of girl since my twins are 15 months their attention span is as long as a baby einstein dvd.
Some of our favorites are: chili w/turkey dogs, Lasagna, Turkey cassarole, tacos, chicken enchiladas, fried pork chops, garlic chicken.

Anonymous said...

All these organized people are making me crazy!!! Don't be a hater. The cooking/meal planning thing stresses me out more than most anything on a daily basis! I think it's the guilt that makes it so bad. I am with you! If you care to blog further about this topic, that would be great. For now, I am feeling more inadequate after reading the comments. ;)

Shawna said...

I have burned two dinners this week. I know what you mean when you say "cooking isn't my spiritual gift".

That being said, I am an awesome shopper! I buy whatever is on sale each week (using the grocery ads, my list, and coupons). Then I get home and throw everything together. Usually, it works out ok...but sometimes I burn 2 dinners in one week.......

Stephanie said...

You've already gotten some great ideas...I love the one about sitting down with the kids and getting them involved in the menu planning. But I do believe we would live off of bacon and ravioli if I did that right now. I don't know that what I offer will be any help to you given the 52 other menu planning comments above... But I have been convicted about not being prepared like the woman in Prov. 31. so I do have a general menu that I tweek/tweak?? weekly.

Monday: some kind of chicken
Tues. some kind of italian
Wed. breakfast for dinner
Thurs leftovers
Fri. Pizza - homemade...my kids would revolt if I didn't make it every Fri. I usually make something different for my husband though.
Sat. Red meat of some kind...roast, beef stew...and so on
Sunday....I make this an easy day for me. We have Sandwiches for Lunch and then we have a finger foods for dinner after church. We are so far off our normal eating schedule on Sundays that the kids snack a lot and meals are gerneraly smaller.

Ideas from one kitchen challenged person to another. :)

Anonymous said...

Reading these comments makes me need to cry!

For me, it's not so much the planning that is hard, it's the picky eaters I live with. I have 3 daughters, and the oldest (9) is the worst. She won't eat chicken with any kind of crust or breading on it. She won't eat beef in any form other than a hamburger. None of the girls will eat chili or soup or any kind of beans. The oldest won't touch rice, so there goes most casseroles.

I do the "if you don't want to eat this, the next meal is breakfast" thing, but you can't really get away with that 7 nights a week. We had tacos recently and she had a taco shell with lettuce and shredded cheese in it. Same with taco salad: lettuce, cheese, and chips in her bowl. It's very frustrating for a mom who really wants to feed her family nutritious meals. =(

franticallysimple said...

You need to check out http://www.savingdinner.com/.
She has everything from weekly menus *with* shopping lists, to freezer meals you prep once a month. (Like Let's Dish or Super Suppers, but at home.)
I do the freezer meals. And they are fabulous!
Her menus are not free, but they are cheaper than a cook book, and waaaay cheaper than eating out.
They taste good and are healthy.
Go see.
Hmmm....I wonder if she'll pay me a commission for this post.

Jenileigh said...

You have an award over at Jenileigh's Journey. I hope you'll have the time to stop by and pick it up! Hugs!

Amber@theRunaMuck said...

I get out my planner, write beside each date what we'll have, and then I make a list of what I'll need.

Our newest good idea has been a crockpot whole chicken with veggies one night and a soup with leftover chicken in it the next night.

Ethan, Zach, and Emma's Mom said...

I talk about menu planning on my monday post:
Hope it helps!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I cook everyday. Well, usually. I always have some freezer meals ready in case the day gets crazy and I need something quick and easy a la "Once a Month Cooking" or something like that.

Yes, I do menu planning, but I'm not rigid about it. I do it mostly to save on groceries. If I don't plan my meals, I shop without a list and then waste food because I can't remember why I bought it or I buy things that don't work together in a recipe. Menu planning helps me be a better steward of time, money and food.

My only tip: always try new recipes. People typically don't like cooking because they lack confidence or they're bored. By trying new recipes you learn more (thus building confidence) and you don't get bored by making the same meatloaf every week. I try at least one new recipe each week. Just be sure to always have a Plan B -- like frozen pizzas or a make-ahead meal in the freezer!

I'm planning to start a "Recipe Swap Sunday" soon. If anyone is interested, stop by my site and let me know!

Heather of the EO said...

I think I've heard all the ideas in the world but they don't change the fact that I have ADD. I must. There's no way one person could be this disorganized about meals. I do the same thing at the grocery store and have the same look on my face when I try to cook.

I really do think it's more about me. I COULD sit down with coupons and a menu plan and well, plan ahead. I just don't have it in me. I'm too busy walking around in circles. :)

Kristen Bieber said...

The thing that I have been making a lot lately is stir fry. Its quick and easy, and everyone likes it because the kids can eat what they like out of it.

Kristen Bieber said...

The thing that I have been making a lot lately is stir fry. Its quick and easy, and everyone likes it because the kids can eat what they like out of it.

Kristen Bieber said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tisha said...

I plan myentire month of meals and then create a grocery list that corresponds to the meals. I keep them saved on my computer and each month I print them out, cross off the items I have on hand and then off to the store. I only shop once a month. We do make a run a few times for milk and fresh veggies, but I buy the bulk of all my items at once.

Sometimes I cook several pounds of hamburger meat, divide it, and then put together meals that can be frozen. It takes the headache out of planning and cooking a meal every night.

We eat at my parents every Monday, but the rest of the week I cook every meal.

Happy Mommy said...

I plan our meals out 2 weeks in advance, I make lists for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the two weeks and I shop it up! I may have to run to the store on or around day 10 for milk or bread.

Our life is a bowl of Barry's said...

I find that I go in cycles of really wanting to plan a couple weeks of meals and getting all I need for those measl versus in a cooking slump where I recycle the old standards for a week...or maybe 3 (only my kids are counting. When I do plan, I check each recipe, write down the ingredients I don't have and then make alist for the store. The I heat up something frozen in a bag from Sam's club....sorry, that wasn't much help, was it?

Monica @ Paper Bridges said...

everything you confessed to, K.

I'm a kitchen LOSER.

but I blog pretty good. woot!

Anonymous said...

I try to be good and "menu plan". Basically I go through my favorite cookbooks and write down all the recipes I want to make for a few weeks. And then try to organize them on a calendar so we don't eat chicken every night for two weeks. So, in theory, yes, I plan. But the reality is I forget my grocery list more often than not, which means I forget to buy the things I actually need more often than not. And we have some pretty diverse tastes in our family, so all that planning is really just to make me look good! :P

Like tonight, I had planned pork chops with some fancy apricot sauce.

We had hot dogs.

The Un-Organized Mom said...

I just wing it! I am a fly by the seat of my pants kind of cook. I sometimes make a list, clip coupon, plan a weeks worth of menus. But then, Monday's meal was suppose to be meatloaf, darn it, I blogged too long and forgot to put it on, so kids and hubby, it is now sandwich night! Also, I am famous for throwing a bunch of stuff in a pan and calling it dinner. Tonight we had my version of swiss steak. Cube steaks in the electric skillet with canned diced tomatoes and peppers on top, boxed taters, and frozen whole green beans. Tomorrow night....depends on if I get off here and put the stuff in the crockpot for Mexican Stew.....or there's always frozen burritos...

Blue Castle said...

I'm feeling your pain. I finally resigned myself to the facts that: 1. I do not like to cook.
2. I'm not good at planning meals.
3. If I do plan meals, I don't stick to the plan.
4. I need a live-in cook.

fortyb4forty said...

I plan a month at a time. I go through cookbooks and usually try something new each week. We have homemade pizza each week, one night of some sort of fish and another night of soup..that helps when I am planning. Tacos are popular with my boys so that's on the calendar every other week.I also let my boys help by picking a meal once or twice a month.
I also keep a journal divided into sections and keep track of what everyone likes or doesn't like. Then I have something to go by when I plan for the next month.

Natalie said...

i need to take some of the advice that i just read in your comments!!!

i have several recipes that when i make them i make a huge batch and then put 1/2 in the freezer so that it can go straight from the freezer to the crockpot on low and be ready for dinner.

i am trying to plan menus a month at a time. i usually plan in at least one "musgo" aka MUST GO night per week.

Anonymous said...

'FranticallySimple' said exactly what I was going to say! Leanne Ely -The DinnerDiva www.savingdinner.com! I learnt all I know about menu planning and grocery list making from her, her books and her Menu Mailers. If you want to check her out she has an archived radio show on Blog Talk Radio under the Fly Lady channel - her show is on every week. I still have my subscription but as I live in New Zealand sometimes the ingredients are a little bit on the hard side to find or substitute. Having said that all three of my kids love it when we eat one of Leanne's recipes - and I've had the picky eater thing, Leanne has an easy solution - and it works - the oldest declared her love for all leaves green last night and is eating salad with every dinner. Leanne is quite my dinner hero - certainly saved me!

Cheeky Wipes said...

I use www.thekitchenrevolution.co.uk - it's fab and takes all the work out of the 'what shall we eat?' conundrum...

Audrey said...

I hope I'm not repeating anyone, but I love the blog moneysavingmom.com. She talks a lot about menu planning and saving money. She even does a weekly post about how she spends less then $40 a week on groceries, and where she got the best deals.

looneymom said...

We buy for 2 weeks. We have your normal items. Bread, milk, eggs... But, we like to cook casseroles. I like Mexican Casserole. Then, we make one that has shredded chicken and Cool Ranch Chips in it. These will last 2-3 nights. Depending on how hungry my heard is.

Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates said...

I try to plan out a week of meals at a time and buy groceries for the full week. I do follow recipes, but mostly go for the easy healthy ones.

I try to make enough to have leftovers for another meal - I'm not usually creative enough to turn it into a new meal, but just eat the same stuff again. My family likes the meals and they don't mind eating the same stuff twice!

Also, when I can, I make extra and freeze it so I have something easy to just pull out and defrost.

On my blog sidebar is a link to lots of soup recipes which are mostly easy and my other blog www.stopeatingallthechocolates.blogspot.com has labels on the side with healthy recipes if you're looking for some new stuff.

Sarah aka Mamalotsoftots said...

Wow. How do you keep up with all these comments?! LOL.

I have just a few hints or tips or just what I do, or whatnot.
I haven't read all your comments, so I hope I'm not posting ideas already here. *tee hee*

Well, I used to menu plan for a month at a time, but have since decided I want to utilize things on sale. SO,
When the ad comes for the next weeks sales I sit down to look for really great deals. And I plan the menu around those deals. Depending on what the sale items are (if it'll keep for a while) I plan 2 weeks at a time.

I have a big dry erase calender on the wall, that's where I write the menu. Although, I have recently been printing out a paper calender and writing it on there, that way I can REUSE THEM!!! less planning! YAY !

ALSO, I use a preprinted grocery sheet, then you just check off what you need. Got that from the internet somewhere! lol. . . That is very helpful. The kids could help with it, you just list everything and they do the checking.

We also have a leftover day, a pizza day, a taco (or mexican) day.
This is how we do it:

~Monday: taco's
~Tuesday: whatever is planned
~Wednesday: leftovers!
~Thursday:whatever is planned
~Friday: pizza
~Saturday: free for all
~Sunday: something special. :D


auntrene said...

I am not much of a meal planner, even though I cook sometimes 2 meals a day. Lunch and Supper. I keep the staples on hand at all time, Ingredients for Homemade pasta sauce, soups, lots of veggies,{frozen, canned and fresh}. I try not to hit the store more than once every two weeks, usually works except for milk. We eat crockpot meals a lot. Usually I make things that I can make multiple meals out of. I roast a chicken meal #1,then maybe leftovers become chicken pot pie, and then the last of the chicken may become chicken salad. Good Luck

Bennett Family said...

I use weekly menus. Then I go to the store and make sure I have all the ingredients on hand. This saves me trips to the store and money on wasted food.
The first week start with 5 of your favorite meals. You will love the ease of your week.
I try to have 1 day of crock pot meal, 1-2 days of chicken, 1-2 days of beef, and/or a meatless meal.
It usually takes me an hour to make the menu and the grocery list.
I list my menus on my blog.

Jess said...

I'm a little behind checking my favorit-o blogs (yours of course)! I am an OCD meal planner. I have done the monthly meal plan and now find the 2 week plan is my best bet. It allows me to go to Walmart twice a month for about an hour and a half with my 10 month old throwing things out of the cart instead of a three hour H E double hockey sticks trip where people line up and clap as we exit the store.
With the 2 week-er I can get fresh produce and therefore cook healthier. I plan to cook one big "pot o something" a month to put up in the freezer. We also eat Hamburger Helper with at least one healthy green veggie once a week. That leaves Chicken Helper and Tuna Helper as well. (kidding...sometimes). This allows me to shop based on what we will be using for 2 weeks and if we missed any of the planned meals then that makes the next trip even cheaper. I have saved a good bit of money meal planning this way. Plus I can throw things in the Crock at 10 am when I actually feel like cooking. Hope this helps. Sorry so long.

Anonymous said...

I have about 75 meals in an excel spreadsheet, complete with ingredient lists. I added them slowly, as I tried recipes from RecipeZaar, magazines and food blogs. They are broken down by time, method (oven, crockpot, stove-top, etc). I also have the actual recipes in a binder. Every Thursday, I check my freezer to see what I have, then plan the next week's meals and shopping list on the second and third sheets of the spreadsheet.

I never realized how anal that sounds until I just typed it out.

Amy said...

I plan our dinners out one, sometimes two weeks ahead. I generally grocery shop every other week, with a monthly budget of about $300. If you're having a hard time thinking of things to make, ask your family for suggestions. Another good resource is recipezaar.com. You can search all kinds of recipes and find something you can make with what you have on hand, or plan out a menu with recipes you want to try.

Debbie said...

We meal plan and I plan to write about this on my blog. With links and resources of course.

I have two daughters whom I spent many years training and since they still live with us, and will until they get married, and no "prince charming's" in site, they help me cook.

We plan meals once a month and have done it this way for a long time. We each have different nights we are responsible to cook. I cook Sunday and Monday, dd Rachel, age 22, cooks Tuesday and Saturday, dd Jessica,age 19, cooks Wednesday and Friday and ds Nathan, age 14, is in training on Thursday. If he is cooking a new recipe Rachel helps him. If he is cooking something he has cooked before he is on his own unless he needs help then he can ask Rachel or me.

So I only cook two nights a week... nope... I only cook one night a week. I always make something that can be frozen and I save it until two weeks later for that Sunday.

We meal plan so we can know what each person is making and do not do two similar things the same week. We also meal plan so we can shop. I try to shop two weeks at a time for most things except things that would spoil or that we run out of. We buy milk, bread, fresh fruit and vegetables and sometimes other ingredients, each week but try to do the big shopping of canned goods and paper products and other things that will last like sour cream... etc. on the weekend that my dh gets paid, every two weeks. Most ingredients will keep in the fridge for two weeks if they are not opened.

well this was longer than I thought it would be and the rest you can find, hopefully this weekend, on my blog.

So train those children and one day you will have less days to cook, until they get married, then you will have to do it again but for less people. And I hope to have my other son cooking by then he is 12. When they are all gone I will do more freezer meals or go eat at their houses!!! LOL