Menu Plans

Do you make a menu plan?  Do you eat the same thing week after week?  I hate making the plan and the accompanying grocery shopping list. I like variety but it is so difficult to achieve.  I have never started the day with the thought, “hooray, today I get to make a new menu plan.”  Never.  But, I love having it in place when it is finished, especially if I force myself to make a plan for two weeks.   Having a plan avoids the daily struggle of deciding what to prepare that day and will I have on hand all the necessary ingredients or will it require another trip to the store.IMG_1482

There are some meals which I think are only seasonal.   Bacon, lettuce, tomato sandwiches should only be eaten in the months when homegrown tomatoes are ripe.  I had one today and two last week.  I rarely eat or serve soup, homemade or pre-packaged, in warm weather.  But in cooler weather we eat soup about once a week.  Using a gas grill instead of charcoal allows outdoor grilling to be stretched to nearly 8 months of the year.

I have attempted to get menu ideas from my children with various results.  One creative and helpful son usually suggested something such as “fried whale blubber”.  None requested vegetables.  Although, some would eat a few vegetables.  For many years our daughter was a “starchatarian”.  Two of our sons loved to guess what was being served based on the smells wafting towards them as they approached the kitchen from another level of the house.  Most often they were correct.

Long ago I began posting the weekly menu in a prominent place so that all could read for themselves what would be served each day.  My husband rarely asks what’s for dinner.  He will, however, ask what time it will be served. If I avoid foods that are spicy, he eats most anything. I appreciate that. I seldom cook on Sunday evenings preferring to eat just popcorn and fruit or cookies.

I enjoy cooking with other women because I always learn something new.  Last winter an elderly friend taught me to how to make homemade noodles and chicken.  I have a 100% failure rate for anything containing yeast.  Occasionally I am brave enough to attempt it again.

What does menu planning have in common with parenting?

  1. Planning, preparation and organization goes a long way towards reducing stress and making life easier.
  2. Both require some flexibility and adjustments along the way.
  3. Communication is vital – keep the plan visible and clearly communicate behavioral and other expectations and consequences.
  4. Ditch the plan and start over when necessary.
  5. Keep learning new recipes, trying new foods, new cooking methods, and new parenting strategies.
  6. Ask an elderly person for their techniques in cooking, for a recipe or how they handled particular parenthood issues such as potty training or sibling rivalry.
  7. Remember your goals are delisious, nutritious food and independent, mature adults.
  8. Dry, burnt, tasteless food can be endured or tossed. Recipes can be scrapped or redone.
  9. Forgive your spouse, yourself and your children and give them do-overs also.

IMG_1483Aunt Betty’s  Sausage and Gravy

In a deep skillet using medium heat, cook and crumble one pound of breakfast sausage.  I prefer Bob Evans original.  Do not drain the grease. Sprinkle with 1/3 c of flour and stir well.  Add 3 c. of milk and cook till bubbly and thickened.  Season with salt and pepper. Serve over homemade biscuits or Grands refrigerated biscuits in the tube baked per instructions.    We all like this for breakfast or supper.        Enjoy.

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