I was checking out a new (for me anyway) Aussie blog Planning with Kids on the weekend and there were some great posts on menu planning. There's even a free menu planner to use. Yeh- organisational tool! Inspired I thought I would have another go at writing up a list of meals I could cook for our family this coming month. Its something I have tried several times in the past and have just got stuck with it. Well this time wasn't any different. So I have decided that what works for some does not work for me.
My alternative to a weekly/ monthly menu planner is the following:
Monday- Stirfry/ Veg curry
Tuesday- Pizza/ Wraps
Wednesday- Meat curry (Make double quantity and use for Saturday or Sunday lunch)
Thursday- Beans/ Dhal and rice
Friday- Pasta/ Quiche (Use leftover vegies in the fridge)
Saturday- Protein and veg/ salad
Sunday- Easy meal. Eg soup
Notice I haven't included a leftovers night because at the moment we use the leftovers for lunches. I am also choosing not to do freezer meals at the moment because my hubby wasn't always enthusiastic about a reheated meal and I am trying to spend less time on meal prep on the weekends.
Now as to why this kind of loose planning suits me better. Two main reasons are to do with how I shop and my view of cooking. I find it hard to list meals so far a head of time because I prefer to buy what's on special and what's in season. So the meat and vegetables I have each week will vary according to those criteria. So for me its easier to cook a meat curry based on whatever meat was on special.
The other reason is to do with the fact that I don't just cook to put a meal on the table for my family. Though some days that is the reality. I love cooking as a way of being creative. I love trying new dishes. One of the blessings of being married to an Indian is that I have had the chance to learn a whole new cuisine. I love coming up with a dish to cook based on what I have available in the fridge or freezer. Of course I still rely on a base set of dishes I know most members of the family like and these get cooked regularly. In this season of life I am mainly cooking things that are not very involved and can be prepared a head of time.
So talking about being creative I used up more of the feta on a Greek pizza I made for dinner. Also did a standard one for those who are less adventurous. That could be everyone except me.
So how do you organise your meals? Do you list out the specific dishes or prefer a looser plan like I do?