Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Save time & money in the kitchen

Recently Kris at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers recently posted 'Being in a Lunch Rut is not so bad'. This is a topic that I love and though I responded in her comments I thought I might share more of my thoughts with you all too! It is my hope  that it may bless someones family!

"She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants." Proverbs 31:14-15
We have 5 kids (3 kids & 2 eating babies) and I am trying to make meal time into a wonderful sweet & simple routine. In order to simplify meal time I created a schedule to follow. So we have a two week breakfast/lunch/snack rotation and frankly it has revolutionized our meal times and I have saved countless hours I would have spent planning & thinking. One of the ladies on Kris's site commented how she hates to stand and look into a fridge and think about what to make! Well, sister you don't have to!

Here is our meal plan we have a two week rotation for breakfast and lunch. So on Week one Tuesdays we make pancakes and on week 2 Tuesdays we have bagels with cream cheese. The days where there is different meal for week two will be shown as follows .... meal week 1 --- meal week 2.

Sunday - Breakfast bar (English muffins, bagels, boiled eggs, cereal and breakfast left overs)
Monday - muffins w/ fruit --- Bagels w/ cream
Tuesdays - pancake w/ fruit & eggs --- Cinnamon rolls with fruit
Wednesday - Oatmeal with fruit & raisins --- Quiche with rice crust
Thursday - Cornmeal mush w/ fruit --- Biscuits & Gravy with egg
Friday Quiche with rice crust --- Waffles w/ fruit & eggs
Saturday - Eggs w/ grits, toast & waffles or eggs rancheros w/refritos,Pancakes, eggs, fruit grits or Pioneer Woman Eggs Benedict, grits & fruit
Sunday- Left overs/loaded baked potatoes
Monday- Hot dogs & chips
Tuesday- Daddy's Cheesy Ramen --- English Muffin pizzas, fruit
Wednesday- Mac & Cheese---Beanie Weenie
Thursday - Loaded  Baked Potato w/ fruit or apple sauce ---Daddy's Cheesy Ramen
Friday- Sandwich with chips & Fruit
Saturday - Sandwich with chips & Fruit
Sunday- Left overs/loaded baked potatoes

Snacks @ 3:00:
Sunday - Popcorn
Monday-PB&J roll up
Tuesday- Fruit/boiled egg
Wednesday-cheese/bologna & crackers
Thursday - cheese sticks
Saturday -Veggie Plate/Ants on a log

Yes, I plan my snacks. I've found that my kids are constantly hungry and they will eat other lunch items if they do not have snacks. I also believe that if my kids are constantly hungry and go unfed I am not doing a good job meeting their needs. So on top of the planned  3 pm snack we also have what we call 'free snacks'. I buy a large something (pretzels, peanut butter pretzels, cheese balls etc...) at Sam's (Cost Co) Club and they can eat as much as they want any time, but I only buy it once a month. My kids are no longer reporting a state of constant hunger!
Now my meal rotation may work for you, you may need to plan a 1 week meal plan. You may want to just have 7-14 meals you know you can make. Whatever you do write and down and stick with it, adjust as you need to and let it be a blessing to you!

It took me a while to get used to the schedule and to consistently make what was on the schedule. Now I don't even think about if its Friday I make Friday Food. The kids love knowing what is coming, this is especially helpful for my oldest who has mild autism.
Do I personally always eat whats on the schedule? NO!! I often eat left overs instead because I really can't stand mac&cheese or beanie weenies but the kids love them! Periodically, we pull items from the rotation if I find something else that is inexpensive, tasty & healthy; for instance we recently added loaded baked potatoes and they are a big hit.
Saves Time, Money & helps hubby:
This schedule saves time because I do not have to think about what's for lunch or what's for breakfast.This schedule stays on my fridge for quick reference. When its time to make my grocery list I just grab our '2 week meal rotation' off the fridge and check off the items we need to purchase. 
I save money because I avoid buying foods we won't eat and that will get lost in the fridge. I know how many packs of hot dogs, cinnamon rolls, bagels etc... we need to make it through the month. So we rarely waste any of this food, like I did with unscheduled items. I have carefully spent time picking foods and I am actively replacing more expensive foods (such as corn dogs & chicken nuggets) with less expensive items (such as Daddy's Cheesy Ramen, Loaded Baked Potatoes).
It helps Hubby on Mommy sick days... he doesn't have to think either he can go to the list and make whatever is there. Now I must admit I keep a box of jiffy muffin mix in my pantry for my dear husband. For he does not get as much satisfaction out of making muffins from flour as I do. So think about things to to help your sweet husband when he is pinch hitting (taking your place).
I hope this encourages you to make a plan that fits you & your family!
Grace & Peace

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Autismland Penny said...

What a great idea. I especially like the snacks idea as I often find that someone ate what I needed for dinner.

Grateful for Grace said...

It's time for me to start cooking again(we live at a summer camp) so I finally looked at the blog hop. You have some great ideas and I LOVE the idea of scheduling snack. ;)

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