Thursday, September 16, 2010

Menu Brain Drain

I don't know about everyone else, but this whole homeschool/public school schedule with 5 kids and music/dance activities is kicking my a$$ BIG TIME so far this year. I love homeschool, I love public school, I love their activities, but the chasing and car transporting I could do without.

Plus I have major "I might deliver the wrong kid to the wrong place at the wrong time" anxiety. Which was kick-started this summer when, to Hatfield's mortified dismay, I brought her to soccer games at the wrong time/wrong field/wrong everything.

Which really, is that the end of the world? No, and I recognize that. But I have this whole type-A, control freak I-need-schedule-perfection thing going on. So in fact I create my own problems out of nearly nothing.

I know, cry me a river, right?

This exhaustion is carrying over to my menu planning, as in the fact that I am suffering from a horrid case of Menu Brain Drain.

I like to menu plan (hate me, it's okay) and I put my menu up on the Motherboard (to learn more about the Motherboard, click on HERE.)

Many moons ago I read of a great idea on Simple Mom, which I still employ to this very day. Simply assign each day of the week a 'genre.' This can change with seasons, and I find mine changes with semesters and accompanying dance/sport schedules.

For example, here is my Fall/Winter menu plan:

Sunday: Homemade soup and rolls (courtesy of the Mister, who finds bread baking "stress-relieving." I personally find bubble baths, sleeping and escaping my home on a regular basis "stress-relieving" but to each his own, right?) I usually make a triple batch for leftovers and weekday lunches.

Monday: Slow-Cooker Day. Like baked chicken (if I can swing an organic one into our week's budget) or Crockpot meal. But we have a lot of dance that night, and I need to employ a slow-cooker or make-ahead meal into this day.

Tuesday: Mexican (bean enchiladas, bean and cheese tostadas, rice/lentil tacos & burritos, and sometimes I'll make from scratch chiles rellenos, but it's time-consuming and only a few of the kids like them)

Wednesday: BRAIN DRAIN

Thursday: Re-heat frozen home made soup from Sunday and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Salad, because again, crazy dance night.

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches are kind of worshipped in our house. I am SUPER picky about how I make grilled cheese. I will ONLY use:
* Sourdough Bread (and the good stuff);
* REAL Colby Cheese from a local farm (because Colby cheese melts into those long, ooey gooey strings). Not cheese that comes already sliced or enveloped in plastic. For the love of all things holy, do NOT use American cheese on a grilled cheese sandwich. (And that's my only food snobbery soapbox for this post.
* Real Butter. Slathered on the bread, and melted in the pan. For perfect golden crispiness.

Plus, for the Mister and Miles and my culinary enjoyment (the rest of the kids say No Way!), I add:
* Tomato slices
* Jalapeno pepper jelly
Mmmmmmmmm.

Friday: Homemade Pizza. Or if I'm feeling like living on the edge, calzone. Fancy shmancy.

Saturday: Pasta night. Cliff is big on learning how to make homemade pasta, which I'm all for. Why stifle his culinary creativity? But sometimes we run out of time, or don't make pasta, and then I'm stuck with BRAIN DRAIN.

So come on now, help me out and share your food for thought. . .what's for dinner at your house this week?

6 comments:

Tracy said...

Sorry, no help here. I suffer from menu BRAIN DRAIN daily. So I turn to blogs like yours for ideas! :)

liruco said...

Dips'n stuff.

Sounds weird but we do this occasionally. It mostly comes from having leftovers and a bunch of dips or spreads lying around that are taking up too much room in the fridge. I just put it all out and if I feel we are lacking I will melt some cheese for dipping too.

Some examples of what we have: hummus, veggies & pita, black bean spread & chips, cut up hot dogs & ketchup, cream cheese & crackers, melted cheese and broccoli....

I get some fancy toothpicks to use instead of silver ware. It is a big hit.

-Lisa

bbbunch said...

The last two months, I made the menu a month ahead of time...I looked for new recipes and scheduled it according to our crazy weeknight adventures as well (hello, piano lessons and football/cross country/ dance practice!). Saved a TON of time! I found that I needed to do the monthly menu, otherwise I never made the time to sit down and decide the night before grocery shopping, and I HATE brain drain when it comes to food!

This week we have had on the menu:
Homemade Hamburger Vegetable Soup (my Mom's recipe); Chicken breasts, penne & asparagus; Spaghetti & Salads; Mexican Lasagna, Grilled Pork Chops & Pear with Blue Cheese; Thai Beef & Basil; Stuffed Salmon with Brocolli & Rice.

Whew.

FYI...WholeFoods.com has some really really great recipes! We have tried several now, and really really like them! Check it out :)

Becky

Anonymous said...

How about this?

Monday: Spam, sliced and fried, with rice.

Tuesday: Spam, cut into cubes, add tomato sauce, corn, and green beans (corn and beans are from cans). Serve on top of rice.

Wednesday: Spam kelaguan (sp?). Mash up raw spam with vinegar. Let it sit awhile and serve with rice.

Thursday: Spam sushi. Make sushi with spam replacing the fish. Yum!

Friday: Spam served as it appears on a can. Put it in a pan, score it and decorate with cloves, bake at an uspecified temperature for an unspecified time, and serve in lieu of the traditional turkey or pot roast.

Spam in the morning, spam at night, spam in the afternoon's alright! :)

Mr. Spam

Amy said...

I liked Lisa's "Dips'n stuff" idea. Sounds like fun. We do crock pot stuff a lot on the days I work. I can't remember the last time A was here for a meal with us. I have a really good sourdough recipe I could share with the Mister if he'd like it.
Amy

Ericka Scott said...

When I have a night I simply can't figure out what to cook - we have breakfast for dinner. Scrambled eggs, sausages & toast, or make breakfast burritos. I've even been known to throw pancakes and sausages or waffles & bacon at my family for those nights. Yum.