Welcome back to my multi-part series on menu planning! Have you been keeping up with your homework?
Homework 4: Check Your Calendar and Make a Rough Draft Menu
Have a date night scheduled?
Kids have a(n) *insert activity here* after school?
Do you have a particularly busy day on Saturday?
Keep all those things in mind as you formulate your menu! I like to use the Days of the Week when planning, but I often don’t stick to it. It just makes me feel a little more in control to know I have something to serve on Thursday, not just a bullet point on a list.
My family has a couple of regularly occurring things that I like to prepare for. The Hubby works Monday-Thursday, from o’dark thirty to smack-dab-in-the-middle-of-witching-hour. To keep us on budget, I do my best to prepare meals on Sunday-Wednesday night that will give at least one lunch sized serving for a leftover lunch for him. We budget $5/day for him to eat while at work, but $5 at Taco Bell can get pretty tiresome (and unhealthy!) even for a creature of habit like the Hubby! So, by sending him with meals, he can roll the $5 into the next day and spend $10 on a meal. There are weeks that I send him every day with a meal (and sometimes more than one meal because of an overtime shift!) and he can spend the $20 on Starbucks, or a mid-afternoon snack. Occasionally we’ll get a cheap dinner out with it, but not often. Still working n that one… 😉
Also, on Saturdays, we teach Financial Peace University at our church from 4:30-6:30. Dinner Time. Not ideal for the feeding of the family, but ideal for the feeding of the financial soul. So, on Saturdays, I make sure to have something REALLY easy to make the kids before we go to FPU (hotdogs, leftovers, PB&J, etc.) so they aren’t disasters on the ride home or when we walk in the door. Even though their bedtime is 7, they usually get to stay up a little while on Saturdays to have a quick snack before going to bed. I also sometimes pack that snack to give them in the car on the ride home. A hungry captive audience is more likely to eat carrot sticks and apples than ones that can open the cabinet to see Ritz crackers at eye level.
So, using my freezer inventory, my Master List, and my schedule, I can start seeing what my menu will look like.