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Feb 19, 2013

Meal/Menu Planning for the Unplanned Family

Being a mommy blogger, I have been following my fair share of other mommy bloggers. I see the events, enter the giveaways (only the ones I truly love, now), and I see the endless posts on frugality and menu/meal planning.
I am all for frugality. I need to be very frugal lately as we work to pay off credit card balances that crept up on us after moving and baby #2. I strive to be frugal anyway, as I see it as the way I should live the life He gave me. I love the frugal posts!
I have tried many tips on ways to be frugal with food and meal/menu planning. So often I read about planning out a week/month of food and then go from there. I see these really nicely printed our calendars with meals written in and hear of the grocery lists and prep work. I have tried it a few times, as typed out so nicely, and you know what? It doesn't totally work for us. To a point, planning is great, but as a family, we don't do a whole lot of planning in our lives. We do have some scheduling, but when it comes to meals, we fly more by the seat of our pants and it works, for us.
This year I have tried to hit hard my organization and frugal living ideas. Each room in our house is getting a major makeover, and the kitchen was the third room we hit. I even defrosted our chest freezer and did inventories of the freezers. We are still working on our pantry inventory, but we have like three pantries, so it takes some time. I am just glad that we have been able to re-organize the pantries so I have a better grasp of what I have in there at the moment.
Why do traditional menu plans not work for us? We are trying to keep the number of leftovers in our fridge to a minimum now. In the past we have become overrun with leftovers and many don't get eaten before going bad in their container in the fridge. This meas there are times when we need to eat leftovers after only two new meals. Other weeks, we can go almost all week until we have a "Leftovers" night.
Also, many times we get a call sometime during the day inviting us to dinner at my in-law's house. f course we accept as I love to let the kids see Mommom and Pop, and it is a nice change of pace. This makes planning dinner a challenge at times if you try to be by the calendar all the time. We keep ourselves very flexible. This is how we like to live, though. 
The picture is how I find it works best for our family. Yes, this is a white bard, and it has found a nice home on our freezer door. This is by no means a full list of meals that I can make at a moments notice, but it is a good working list of meals I want to make in the coming weeks.  One thing about these meals is that I already have everything I need to for them in the house. Those with"-P" after, mean they are new meals that I found through pinterest. I am addicted to that site!
As time moves on, I can share recipes for things we love and for those interested in some of the meals you see listed.

What kind of "Meal Planning" works for your family? 
Do you plan at all? 
Any recipes you are interested in? 
Feel free to share in the comments!

Until next time.... Happy Cooking!
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