M is for Menu Planning
I was a latch key kid. My mom worked and therefore taught my brother and I a few go-to meals. I’m not saying she was absent. Many nights she had some casserole or crock pot meal going and we just finished it off (finishing touches, not ate the whole thing). By high school I could bake, boil and brown. I’m glad for those life skills.
Even as a stay at home mom, I am also teaching my kids a few whip-it-out-of-your-back-pocket kitchen deals. The knight as let them assist at the grill. I don’t want them to be afraid. They have also witnessed me checking out numerous cookbooks at the library. Bought a few. Go to Pampered Chef parties. Now, there’s PINTEREST! I don’t even have to leave the country life to get inspired. Of course, being gluten free does present it’s challenges when the only options are Safeway and Walmart in the immediate vicinity. This is where your calendar, your cookbook, your grocery list and your menu planner hold hands.
I use the Flylady calendar. (Flyshop) I tried printing my own, android application, even using the calendar provided with my email application. I love Flyady’s calendar because there is plenty of room for the many activities of a family of six and it’s large and in charge right on the the place where the whole family lands at least a dozen times a day: the refrigerator. After checking the calendar, I check the freezer. Is is once a month Costco trip time? Usually by now, I have a dozen sticky notes in the currently checked out from the library cookbooks.
A hard and fast rule, learned the hard and fast way, don’t make complicated, odd ingredients listed recipes with lots of stages, when you have to play taxi from 3:00pm until 8:00pm. Those I call Easy Peasy nights. For us, that’s Tuesdays. Meatloaf. Taco. Salad (with leftover chicken from the night before). Back up a day and Mondays are my “oh my goodness, what happened over the weekend to make my house such a mess and how many people live here” day. Homeschooling two, one in public school, Mount Washmore, Monday is not the day to think “What are we having for dinner?” Yes, that’s casserole night. Throw it and forget it night. Wednesday if give myself a break and we partake in the dinner served at our church, where a sweet person comes just to cook gluten free, soy free, dairy free and nut free meals. YES, it can be done.
Ah, Thursdays. This is the day! No practice. No teams. No Awana. No Scouts. No NOTHING. Well, nothing. This is the day I pull out all the stops. New recipes. New ingredients, especially now that the GF son has many other allergies. Bread or dessert in the oven. Happy Campers day! Fridays are my day to chill. All the kids are gone, even the home schoolers. I catch up on blogging, writing in the book or just reading a book. Temptations to just clean and do laundry always loom, but this is Tracy Day! This is usually a cookbook day too. Nothing too fancy though.
Then comes the Weekend. My mom is home. She loves to bake with the kids and has really enjoyed getting down and floury in the GF kitchen. Summertime Saturdays are usually grill day as is Sunday. This is usually the time when the knight brandishes the spices and the rubs and smokes some delicious roast or something. From earlier posts, remember there is gluten in some spices, so, I’ll have to go back to having GFCTS (Gluten Free Carpel Tunnel Syndrome) and check out BBQ and smoking spices.
When the week is broken down into subcategories like this, I tend to accomplish more, dread less. For the second time this week, I’m giving props to the person who created this little gem that I use monthly. Keep in mind, it’s not set in stone. Emergencies happen.
From the menu plan, I go back to the cookbooks to start a grocery list, usually divided into a couple of stores. I keep this list for a couple of days, because there are many times I want to buy fresh produce.
This just how I do it. It works for me. Maybe not others. I would be interested in what works for you. Post a comment. Tell me your favorite kitchen menu trick or favorite GF cookbook. Follow me (Tracy Sockriter) on Pinterest.