It's something I need to do but really struggle with. I will be very organized about this for a while and then just go back to my natural inclination which is to be more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda girl. When you are trying to feed a family of 7, that really isn't practical though. I tend to go to the store and buy what sounds good and is on sale as far as main dish meats. Then I add in a bunch of staples for sides and my shopping is done. I usually have to get creative each day with what is on hand. Because of this, we eat a nice variety of meals and most are pretty good.
I was inspired by this post at the Simple Mom site to get back to menu planning. I like how she has it all online with links to her recipes and set to send her daily reminders. Very clever! So I started making a list of our tried and true dinner favorites. Now, I have been married and cooking for 20 years. I should have a really big list by now, but I was struggling to think of things. What do we eat? We eat a whole bunch of stuff, but a lot of our meals are one time deals using up what is in the pantry/fridge. These are hard to remember and repeat.
So, next I resorted to asking the kids for their opinions.
Some of their suggestions were:
[sigh] I had to explain that I was looking for healthy, homemade, economical meals. Then I got the blank stares. You know, there are gonna be times when fish sticks and fries will be served around here (usually when I am gonna be gone ;-). The goal, however, is to eat healthy and cheap. That generally means cooking most everything from scratch instead of buying stuff to heat up.
Here are some of the ideas we have come up with so far:
Store-bought burritos with enchilada sauce and cheese added
Creamy Pasta (Alfredo)
Creamy Tomato Pasta
General Tso's Chicken
Chicken Lo Mein
(some of these I need to come up with good recipes for making these from scratch)
Beef and Noodles
Pork Chops a la Jenni
Creamy Tomato Pasta with sausage
Chicken and Noodles
Kitchen Sink Surprise
Creamed Tuna over Toast
Tuna Noodle Casserole
Biscuits and Gravy
Baked French Toast
Hot Dog Pie
I will continually adding to this as I think of more things. Several of these items (especially those in the Oriental category) are things that I usually buy premade in the freezer section of Sam's Club. Ideally, I need to learn to make them from scratch. I would also like to add in more fish to our diets. Lately, what fish we have been having is frozen from Sam's. We especially love their blackened salmon, but it barely stretches to feed us all and it gets expensive.
I'll have to keep you all updated on how this goes. Maybe I can share my menu plans and some recipes.