Saturday, October 17, 2009

The First 10 Days.

The Cooking Part. Yeah that. I guess it's inevitable that when you make a meal plan, at some point you have to do some actual cooking. Now, don't get me wrong. I love to cook. I have fun cooking and it makes me happy to do this for my family. It's the pressure I don't care much for. You know, when it's close to meal time and everyone starts staring at the ONE person who provides the food. Yeah, that's me! And up until I started this meal planning thing, they would all stare at me and I'd look away, wanting to cower in a corner somewhere, because how should I know what's for dinner? Well, I'm the Mommy and I really SHOULD know what's for dinner and for breakfast, and for lunch, and for whenever anyone wants to eat. I should know this because it's my job and it truly is in the fine print of the SAHM Manual. And if I ever get around to writing that, I will definitely share it! But in the meantime, what IS for dinner?!

The Meals. I would love to share exactly what I cooked for the first 10 days, along with the recipes, but I won't. A) it's not that interesting to read and B) they aren't MY recipes, so I can't very well take credit for them, or publish them here without permission. I will, however, tell you the meals and which cookbook they came from so you can do your own research and go out and buy that book. I'm sure that the authors/chefs would very much appreciate the sales. For the first 10 days, I chose meals from one cookbook: "Wholesome Meals for Babies and Toddlers" by The Bridgewater Book Company. Now I have had this book on my bookshelf for over a year and maybe made one recipe out of it. It's a real shame, because this cookbook is wonderful. And it has recipes for every stage of a baby's first year, as well as food that can be enjoyed by the entire family. That was important to me, because I was getting very overwhelmed cooking different meals for the kids and the adults. So I had to change that as well. Of course, your meal plan does not have to do that, and of course, it does not have to follow any of the same recipes. Any recipes work, even your old stand-bys. I just chose to jump-start our meal planning by preparing all new dinner recipes. I thought it would be more fun. Besides, I was bored with the food I always cook.

The Menu. Here is the menu for the first 10 days. If you decide to do the meal plan yourself, there are several sites that offer a template that you can follow. But, seriously, is it that hard to write out on your own? You could even just use a calendar or dayplanner if that is something that already fits into your routine.

Day One.
Bananas, Yogurt, Cereal.
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.
Beef Teriyaki w/Soba Noodles and Veggies.

Day Two.
Fruit and Yogurt.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches.
Chicken and Apple Bites w/Mashed Potatoes.

Day Three.
French Toast.
Hot Dogs and Cheese.
Green Giant Pesto Pasta w/ Chicken.

Day Four.
Biscuits and Gravy.
Tuna Salad Sandwiches.
Ham and Pineapple Rice.

Day Five.
Yogurt w/ Granola.
Turkey and Cheese Sandwiches.
Pastina w/ Butternut Squash.

Day Six.
Pear French Toast.
Ham and Cheese Sandwiches.
Starfish Casserole.

Day Seven.
Cheesy Potatoe Pancakes w/Corn and Scallions.
Creamy Tomato and Lentil Soup w/ Cheesy Garlic Toast.

Day Eight.
Macaroni and Cheese.
Minestrone Soup.

Day Nine.
Eggs in a Basket.
Turkey and Cheese Sandwiches.
Vegetable and Cheese Pasta w/ Chicken.

Day Ten.
Bacon and Eggs.
Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwiches.
Ground Beef w/ Apricots.

Now, keep in mind that in our household, my husband gone every third day (he's a firefighter) but I save his portion for him to take to work on his next shift. Or in a pinch (and if they are really, really good) we supplement our dog's dinner with the leftovers (especially if there isn't a whole lot left.) So virtually no food goes to waste. If your family is smaller than ours, simply cut the recipes to make less servings, or freeze the leftovers. If it's bigger, multiply the recipes as necessary.

Of course, there were some meals that didn't please as well as others. And I'm learning that some ingredients or methods of cooking are not everyone's favorite. Take, for example, Bobo doesn't like scallions, and my husband doesn't like gravy thickened with cornstarch. But other than that, the meals were met with few words (lip smacking and mmmm's don't count as words) and even less resistance. And the best part, no one whined about what was for dinner. Not once. Dinner was ready at dinnertime or a bit earlier. Less stress. Less panic. More eating. All for less money (a LOT less) than we normally spent. Success!!

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