I hate to cook.
Well, hate may be a bit strong….. or not. I truly don’t enjoy cooking. I try to like it, really I do! I don’t mind baking (perhaps because the end result is so much tastier!) but I don’t enjoy cooking dinner every night. Now that poses a problem because my husband works in the barn all day it wouldn’t be fair for him to make dinner every night and, in spite of the fact that I am very good at budgeting, we cannot afford a cook. So I suck it up and head to the kitchen every day between 5pm and 6pm.
Most mothers will be able to relate when I say that, on a nearly daily basis, someone flicks the “Crazy Switch” at my house at about 5pm. My kids seem to need a full-time mom (read “referee”) at this point which leave me very little time (read “sanity”) to be a good little Suzy Homemaker and have dinner on the table by the time Papa Bear gets in from work. I am so blessed that my husband understands this and has no expectation of dinner on the table at 6pm every night. He’s just happy if there is enough food in the house for him to be able to eat at some point in the evening!
So to prepare myself for all of this, I meal plan. Sort of. I read a really amazing book (Sidetracked Home Executives) that helped me set up a simple quasi-meal plan. It works perfectly for my scatterbrained self. Here is the jist of it:
Mondays: This is my heavy housekeeping day so I don’t usually feel like making a fancy meal (well, I never really feel like it but Mondays especially) so I make spaghetti every week. It is simple and relatively healthy. Ground beef (fried and strained), spaghetti sauce, and whole wheat noodles. If I’m feeling really energeting I chop up some carrots to throw into it or sometimes even corn. I’m not allowed to do peas. My hubby despises peas.
Tuesdays: I did all the housework yesterday (yeah right! At least I attempted to) so I sometimes do a playdate but mostly I just play with my kids and do some reading and sometimes some sewing. This is chicken night. Usually bone-in thighs. This means shake’n’bake, or honey curried, or something similar. And steamed veggies and rice.
Wednesday: I have Bible study in the morning and then groceries and other errands and then come home to get caught up on all the housework I should have done Monday and Tuesday but never did. this is ground beef night. So meatballs, shepherd’s pie (making a double batch of course, one to freeze), or burritos.
Thursday: Medium housekeeping day and often a play date. Chicken night. This is one of my favorite nights. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Probably one of my favorite meats to eat (besides ham, love ham!) Chicken alfredo (baked, then chopped and mixed with pasta and alfredo sauce), fajitas, stir-fry. Mmmm now I’m getting hungry! Oh right, that’s because I forgot to eat supper tonight… Is is bad to eat supper at 11pm?
Friday: Frozen dinner night. WOOT! Or hubby cooks, or we do leftovers. Pizza, premade meals (LOVE The Big Cook). Every Mama needs a weekly night out (of the kitchen).
Saturday: Usually a blitz clean of the house with hubby’s help (some how he manages to make Little Bear and Baby Bear extremely enthusiastic about helping!) and every once in a while we throw in a trip to the city. This used to be fish and rice or fries night but Papa Bear got sick one Saturday night. Very very sick. Not related to the fish, a nasty bug was just making it’s rounds, but he still can’t even stand the through of fish. So the last few months he has been handling dinner Saturday evening for fear that I will decide to make those fish sticks that have been sitting in my freezer for the last few months.
Sunday: Pork chops. Usually sweet and sour. Sometimes BBQ. Usually accompanied by rice because all the men, big and little, love rice.
So there you have it. If I didn’t cook spaghetti every week I would go crazy. Maybe one day Papa Bear will be able to take over the cooking (he actually enjoys it! He’s a keeper!) but for now I keep things simple and predictable. Supper time is much easier if a plan is in place. Plus it helps you plan your grocery list too!
If you meal plan, how do you do it? Are you a month at a time kind of planner or week by week?