One thing that has really helped me in the area of organization is a menu plan. Working in the kitchen has not come easy to me. It has been the area of biggest struggle for me as a wife trying to be a homemaker. When we first were married I was all thumbs when it came to food preparations. It has taken me a long time to learn how to cook and to be able to plan out a menu. It has not been easy for me to learn.
Although I am able to manage pretty well without too much anxiety in the kitchen now; being able to come up with something for dinner does not come 'second nature' to me yet. I find myself quite anxious and frustrated if I am staring at a clock and dinner needs to be ready within the hour. It is like my mind is not able to function in that type of stress!!
I have found that having a menu already set for breakfast and lunches frees up time when planning my weekly menu. It also alleviates last minute stress - - for I do not have to try to figure out what to have for breakfast, I just have to look at the list. Then, when the list becomes so well known - I have it in my head - "It's Monday, I know what I fix on Monday mornings for breakfast."
For breakfast we just have a weekly rotating menu.
Monday - Oatmeal / Milk / Fruit
Tuesday - Muffins w/ Peanut Butter / Fruit / Milk
Wednesday - Cream of Wheat / Milk / Fruit or Juice
Thursday - Eggs and Toast / Juice
Friday - Cold cereal w/ milk / Juice
For lunches I have a list of 15 different lunches. We just follow the list down and then start all over again. (Some lunches are on there more than once - as you will notice...)
1. Meat and Cheese Sandwiches / Popcorn / Cut Veggies / Fruit / Pudding
2. Baked Potato / Cut Veggies / Fruit / Muffin
3. Roll up with Peanut butter and grated apples / 2 sm bags of Cut Veggies / 1 Cookie
4. Soup / Crackers / Veggie / Fruit / Pudding
5. Lunchables** / Cut Veggies / Fruit / Jello
6. "Salad" Sandwich Spread ( egg, chicken, tuna salad) w/ Crackers / Veggies / Fruit / Pudding
7. Chicken Garden Salad / Fruit / Yogurt
8. Soup / Crackers / Veggie / Fruit/ Muffin
9. Bean Burritos / Corn chips / Fruit / Jello
10. Meat and Cheese Sandwich / Popcorn / Veggie/ Fruit/ 1 Cookie
11. Calico Beans / Corn Chips / Veggie / Fruit/ Yogurt
12. Crackers w/ Peanut Butter/ Veggie / Fruit / 1 Cookie
13. Garden Salad with Chicken / Fruit / Muffin
14. Chips and Salsa / Fruit / Jello
15. "Salad" Sand Spread w/ Crackers / Veggie / Fruit / Pudding
**Lunchables are homemade - I use a small cookie cutter to cut the meat and cheese with - and then I put them in a small plastic bowl.
All Cookies are homemade and may be substituted with another homemade dessert I have made that week. All the jellos and puddings are purchased in the box and made at home. I purchased some small Tupperware containers that work perfectly for these desserts. I can make them ahead the weekend before and have them ready and available in the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to pull out when I am getting the lunches packed in the mornings. On Monday nights I make a double batch of muffins (using the Tightwad Gazette's Universal Muffin Recipe) and then I use these muffins also for desserts.
James also has a snack time in the mornings before his recess. Here is a few things I have on hand to throw in his box for his snack.
*Left over oatmeal from breakfast (this is his favorite snack - go figure!)
*1/2 Peanut Butter Sandwich
*Ants on a Log (Celery with Peanut Butter and Raisins)
*Crackers and cheese
*Cheese and a apple
*An apple and peanut butter
Having these meals already planned has freed my brain up from having to plan three meals every day. It also has cut down on going out - or grabbing something quick. I found we were doing that because I was having 'brain freezes' the closer the time came to meals. It was just easier - (not healthier) - to just solve the crisis by just going out and getting something quick.
Do you have a meal plan that works for you? I would love to hear about it!
Thanks for stopping by - I am so glad you did.