I think the thing I hate most about cooking dinner every night is deciding what to cook! Don’t you agree?
My Menu Planning Tool #2 is what helps make the decision easier – The Wilkes Family Favorites List. (See yesterday’s post for Tool #1)
Night after night of having to make the decision of what we are going to eat gets old after 27 years! With the help of my family I have put together a list of our families favorite meals. I divided them into categories such as beef, chicken, pork, shrimp, salad, pasta/pizza, soup and sandwiches.
Having a master list of family favorites makes the dinner decision so much easier!
I have also taken all of these recipes and put them into one cookbook/binder (or rather my mother and daughter did!) so I always know where they are.
When all the kids were home I would make them all pick a night of the week and decide what we were having for dinner, using the list as a reference if needed. As someone at my class last Thursday suggested, I should have taken it one step further and made them cook dinner that night too!
Another fun trick to help make the decision process easier is to use theme nights.
Rachel Jensen shared with me how she has set up her theme nights. You notice that each theme night also has a “fall-back” meal – a great idea! A “fall-back” meal is something she knows she always has the ingredients for that can be made quickly and easily if all else fails! Here is an example of how she has hers set up:
Rice Sunday (Fallback – stir fry with broccoli)
Pasta Monday (Fallback -Spaghetti)
Crockpot Tuesday (Beef Stew)
Mexican Wednesday (Soft Taco Bar)
Easy Oven Thursday (Frozen Pizza)
Grill Friday (Hamburgers)
Chicken Saturday (Baked Chicken Breast)
Having theme nights makes the decision process easier because you don’t have to make as many decisions. You don’t have to decide between chicken, beef, pork etc. – you know on Saturdays you only have to choose from your chicken recipes! Fewer decisions equals less stress!
I like Rachel’s idea so much I have decided to use it in my Wilkes Family Weekly Dinner Plan
To help me with my weekly menu planning I will be posting The Wilkes Weekly Dinner Plan each week on my family blog – if you’d like to see what we are having for dinner this week and the links for the recipes you can check it out by clicking on the link above.
Here are some of our favorite quick and easy meals from the Wilkes Family Favorites List:
I hope these meal planning tips help and if you have any more to add to the list please share!