Thursday, January 5, 2012

Menu Planning for the New Year

I'm changing the way I do menu planning for the new year...or at least, for now.

This past summer, I tried using theme nights to plan our meals but it didn't work out so well. I got hung up on the alliterations (like Try Something New Tuesdays). I couldn't come up with one that matched each day of the week. Silly, I know.

So, I'm abandoning the idea of alliterated themes and just focusing on the things we like to eat in categories. Phil & CJ helped with this too. Here's what we've got so far. (I'm leaving Fridays/the weekends open for leftovers or for changing things around when needed).

Mondays - Mexican
Tuesdays - Pasta/Pizza
Wednesdays - New recipe (or perhaps some weeks, an old standby)
Thursdays - Soup

The other thing I decided this time around was that while I will use those themes for planning, I will not be tied to making Mexican on Mondays necessarily, if for some reason we need to switch.
As I planned on the first two weeks of the new year, I really enjoyed using the themes to guide me. Here's what we're having (or had)

Monday, Jan. 2 - cheese and crackers (one last hurrah during Christmas break and CJ's request)
Tuesday, Jan. 3 - Chicken Caesar Sandwiches, roasted sweet potatoes & onions, homemade brioche
Wednesday, Jan. 4 - Lasagna, Salad with Lemon Garlic dressing, Bread, Pineapple (switched Tuesday & Wednesday this first week in order to have company over)
Thursday, Jan. 5 - Cheesy Vegetable Soup, Brown butter whole wheat soda bread, sliced apples

Monday, Jan. 9 - Mexican stuffed shells
Tuesday, Jan. 10 - Grandmother's pizza (from my new Cook's Country magazine)
Wednesday, Jan. 11 - Slow cooker beef & tomato stew (supposed to be served over brown rice, but I'm thinking of serving it over barley...I've never even bought barley before)
Thursday, Jan. 12 - Chicken Minestrone, bread

I'm also experimenting with planning out two weeks in advance (but only shopping for one) to see if that saves me some time.

One other confession: this menu was planned after not cooking on a regular basis for a couple weeks, so it is filled with new recipes I want to try (not just on Wednesdays). If life gets busy, some of these will not happen.

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