Thursday, February 25, 2010

Menu Planning for the (maybe not so?) Hopelessly Unorganized

I have made a goal to stick to menu planning this year.  I used to do a one week menu plan when the boys were younger because I simply did not want to have to think up something to cook each afternoon and then cook it from scratch.  I always found the thinking of a meal that would use the ingredients I had on hand harder  than the actual preparing of if.  I was inspired by another homelearning mom to try to plan for 3 weeks at a time and, living out here further away from town, I am really glad that I am doing this.  The next few months we will be using a lot out of our freezers and cold room.  I stash away so many veggies and fruit during our summer growing months that I am able to keep us stocked in our favourites throughout the year.
This is our plan for the next three weeks.  A lot of our lunches and dinners will be using our stewed tomatoes as I try to clean out a freezer.  Most of the ingredients in this plan are from the freezer, cold room or pantry.  The legumes we use were all bought in huge bags last year and I cook up big batches every so often and freeze them on cookies sheets (so they freeze separately instead of in clumps) and then bag them.  The boys each have one night a week to cook including my husband on Sunday nights, they choose what they will make.  We are, of course, open to changes and can switch nights if needed (due to being out all day) or change plans if we have company coming but overall I find it frees up an immense amount of time and energy for me to follow this.  I usually plan the main part of the meal and then if it needs to be supplemented I use the veggies on hand to make a salad, side-dish or soup.
Monday - Chickpea Cannelloni - Baked squash (half a butternut)
Tuesday - Black Bean Tortilla (W's night)
Wednesday - Cannelloni Leftovers - Broccoli Soup - Spiced baked squash slices (other half of butternut)
Thursday -Mac and cheese (E's night)
Friday - Pizza Night (I make dough and everybody makes their own pizza)
Saturday - Homemade Perogies - cabbage salad
Sunday - S's night
Monday - Lasagna
Tuesday-Lentil Casserole
Wednesday- Tacos with leftover lentil casserole as filling (E)
Thursday - Pasta (W)
Friday - Pizza (Jamie Oliver dough, sauce from our tomatoes, various toppings)
Saturday- Stirfry (Broc, carrots, cauliflower, mushrooms, onions) and sushi
Sunday - S's night
Monday - Chilli  - Baked Potato - corn bread
Tuesday- Rice  with tomatoes, chickpea and feta - broccoli soup
Wednesday - Tortillas or sloppy joes(chilli as filling) (E)
Thursday-  Pasta (W)
Friday - Pizza
Saturday -Homemade perogies
Sunday - S's night

Tomato (made by simmering some of my frozen stewed tomatoes with some broth and whizzing it up)
Roasted red pepper (want to use up the remainder of my frozen roasted red peppers)
Onion (from 50 lb bag bought in Autumn)
Nettle (hoping we can get our hands on some more fresh nettle over the next week and start eating this)

9 grain bulk cereal topped with our applesauce
Oatmeal (cooked with apples/cinnamon/raisins)
Waffles (I make a triple batch on the weekend and then  refrigerate the leftovers to be heated in toaster, we eat them with the peach butter we made in summertime)
Yogurt and homemade granola - we sweeten the yogurt with our frozen fruit or fruit butter
Toast and Egg or Egg Tortilla
French Toast
Smoothies (using our frozen fruit)

Last night I made our usual broccoli soup but I also added the leftover nettle from my infusion.  W always loves broccoli soup and comments on it but E said last night how good it was and helped himself to a second bowl, then S said it really was particularly good and that was when I told them about the nettle.  Oh, sometimes I just can't help myself, I do so want everyone to love nettle. :-)

We also used up some of our frozen strawberries to enjoy over a bowl  of icecream.  Delicious!


Erin said...

Oh, Heather, this is so timely and inspiring!

We are restructuring our current meal-rut, I mean meal-time, and this looks very manageable. ;-)

You make similar things to us, using fruits to embelish and add sweetness. Using leftovers creatively is a great idea, and I particularly look forward to when my boys can take on some cooking, as the oldest is already interested and just needs to pick up some skills!

I'm going to try some of your recipes! Yum!


Nikki Starcat Shields said...

Sounds yummy! And very organized :)

renee ~ heirloom seasons said...

I love nettle :) We are so looking forward too wild spring greens!
Thanks for the menu planning inspiration!

Sarah Head said...

I still have lots of dried nettle left over to use but you have inspired me to go and gather whatever is available in the garden (if I can jump between heavy shower this weekend!)

Heather said...

Thanks Erin. I hope you like the recipes you try. Looking over the plan now it sounds a little boring but we are really wanting to use up the freezer stuff so there isn't anything too exciting (new) on that plan. Next month I plan to try out some new-to-me recipes because I am going through a stack of Vegetarian Times and I want to try some of the recipes before I pass on the magazines.