Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Cool Weather Menu Rotation

I've done basic menu rotations for YEARS. They free me up both to think creatively within boundaries and to plan my grocery runs for the basics when times get busy. Before I share this year's cold weather menu rotation, let me share how I plan/what I take into account:

  • what day is grocery day? 
  • which day is busiest?
  • which day has the most time?
  • which is our early morning?
  • dietary needs
  • budget
  • family faves
I'm used more rigid guidelines in the past. One year, I had a starch rotation and that worked well: Monday night was rice night, Tuesday was tortillas, etc. But this is what's working well for us this year with busy school age kids (and hungry boys!) and a busy momma and dad.

Cool Weather Menu Rotation: Breakfasts

All breakfasts have fruit on the side.... My hungry kids also often have some plain yogurt with honey in it as a side. Growing kids are blessings even if they do eat us out of house and home!
  • Monday: eggs + starch (toast, biscuits, tortillas, etc.); this is often breakfast burrito day with random leftovers from Saturday night if applicable
  • Tuesday: Muffins (from mix or from scratch) + protein (eggs, yogurt, cheese, etc.)
  • Wednesday: Oatmeal (my grocery day; even if we're out of milk and eggs, I can still make oatmeal! Also my early morning day, and oatmeal is predictable) + whatever protein I have on hand
  • Thursday: eggs + starch (toast, biscuits, etc.)
  • Friday: "Fun" Friday (apple pancake, etc.)
  • Saturday: whatever...
  • Sunday: coffee cake + eggs

Cool Weather Menu Rotation: Dinners

  • Monday: Meatless Monday (cliche by now, but it works!)
  • Tuesday: Traditional (my extra time afternoon; think: meat and three, chicken pot pie, etc. In other words, this is the main day I cook!)
  • Wednesday: Chili and Cornbread (we just rotate chili recipes; many chili recipes are crock pot friendly or can be put in a Dutch oven in the oven at 250 degrees for several hours)
  • Thursday: Picnic Night*
  • Friday: Family Fun Night: something everyone likes; veggies are often in scant supply on this night. Everything from store bought lasagna to Chicken Bog to apple dumplings makes an appearance.
  • Saturday: Burritos or Stir-Fry
  • Sunday: varies
*Picnic Night is something I started when I had grad classes in the evening for a few years running: one night a week, we plan ahead for sandwiches, chips, cookies--anything that's quick, easy, and can be made ahead. Lunchmeat, pb&j, tuna, hot dogs, whatever. I keep the little bags of chips on hand for easy portion control, pull out paper plates, etc. It's a kid-pleaser and a boon on the busiest day of the week, especially for those nights when mom is rushing off somewhere and leaving dad in charge of clean-up after his own busy day! 

1 comment:

Leah Lee said...

Hi Betsy,
I'm looking to your blog again for inspiration! Thank you.