Have you ever had trouble find a meal schedule that works for you? I have desired through most of my married years to have a meal schedule and to follow it. To be able to prepare for a month and have the things I need for what I'm planning on making - wow that would be wonderful.
Cooking has several problems for me.
The first is what should I make. I hate that question and it doesn't help to ask anyone else in the family. Their answers are usually "I dunno." or something that is completely out of the question at the point and time I'm asking it. Such as lasagne and it's 5:30. Seems to me that I have to decide ALL the time, so if I, on occasion, ask someone else what we should have, I feel they should at least take a turn with this daunting task.
The second problem is after I do decide what I'm making. Usually, it's "Oh, can't make it, don't have the ingredients." So what I need is a plan.
I'm very good at planning. I may have said that somewhere in here before. My problem: executing said plan. Not very good at that at all. So what's the good of a plan, if I don't use it. Aha, but if the first plan doesn't work, then I can make a new one. And that will be fun. Yep, I do like planning, just not the consistency of continuing to do it.
So, I found something good on Pinterest. Generally, I don't spend a lot of time on Pinterest. It's not as addicting for me as others I guess. I like going and looking at things for a bit, but it doesn't have a hold on me, like say, Facebook.
I found a site that had a menu planner that is something like I've never seen before. It's a magnetic calendar, with slips of cardstock that have dinner ideas on it. (I now need one for breakfasts. ) The squares with the meals go into a box with a magnet on the back on the fridge. There are tiny little magnets to put the dates up on the calendar, but you could definitely just write them in with an erasable marker.
Another helpful thing is that the meals are color-coded, so that by looking at the color you automatically know that it's a Mexican dish, or a chicken dish. Also there are little hooks on the bottom to hang cards in a matching color with the recipe on them.
Here's the solution to problem #1. At the end of the month, sit down with the family and lay the squares on the table. In our family there are 9, but usually 8 are doing this job as Daddy is at work. (I really want to make this something we do when he's home though, so he can have some of his favorite meals.) Everyone picks a certain number of cards and I usually tell them that they have to have all different colors. So with 9 of us, everyone picks 3 and then a few of us would pick 4.
Next, we put them on the magnetic calendar with our little jewel magnets that we had fun making awhile back.
The nice thing is we can switch them around. If we do our shopping monthly (the non-perishables), then we should have most of what we need for switching things around a bit. I just need more cupboard space to hold food for a month. Have to talk with my dh about that. :)
So this solves problem two. If we know what we're having we can make it, because we'll have shopped for it. The kids like choosing the meals and this way, I'm not the only one.
If you want to see a pic, you can look on Pinterest and search for menu board planner. Or go to Robin's Menu Board at sugardoodle.net. It was fun for me to make. I still don't have all the recipes that I'd like there, but slowly I hope to acquire more.
Hope you have fun with thinking about this and maybe making your own menu planner.