Why do I even have a blog anymore?
Perhaps it’s a little subconscious experiment I have called, “IS it possible to completely kill a blog by never posting anymore?”
Seriously–just “like” the blog’s facebook page. That’s all I have time for anymore–a quick photo or story about the kids, perhaps a good ol’ fashioned debate about Monsanto–because life has been so…completely…crazy.
Good crazy–don’t worry. Just feeling overwhelmed by everything.
ANYways, I’ve mentioned several times on the blog’s facebook page that we love ourselves some Taco Tuesdays in this house. I got a text the other night saying this person and her family were now on board with Taco Tuesdays.
Be the change you want to see in the world, am I right? The world needs Taco Tuesdays.
So, I decided to post a few things about meal planning if you all are into that sort of thing.
I’ve tried monthly menu rotations. I’ve tried a 2 week rotation plan.
I have scrapped those and just went with what’s working in our house and gets the LEAST amount of complaining.
Every night of the week has a theme, and we will repeat that theme…all month long.
In January, something new will be added and something taken off because December’s meal plan calls for Roast Chicken every Wednesday evening. Folks, that’s a LOT of homemade broth that I will make using the bones that just can’t go to waste.
Me thinks January will include “Chicken Noodle Soup” on Wednesdays instead.
So, here’s my step-by-step on how I meal plan. (Have I talked about this before? I can’t remember. Who’s the best blogger in the world, baby? This girl.)
1.) Make the menu. Lucky for you, I’m posting our December menu (which is definitely different than most other months because we will be gone from Christmas to after the New Year. Hurray for a smaller grocery bill, amen?)
Here’s our December menu: Meal Plan December
2.) Once you have made out your menu plan, make a list of every single ingredient you will need. I’m talking, down to “salt” or “sugar.” (For example: Taco Tuesdays in our house need the following ingredients: taco shells [crunchy or soft, you pick], ground beef, cheese, tomatoes, green onions, cilantro, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, and spinach). But here’s the thing: if we’re having that four times in the month, you need all of that…times four. So, yes, you’re going to need to go back to the store and get the fresh stuff because it obviously won’t keep in the refrigerator.
3.) Once you have your list of every single ingredient you will need for your meals, go through your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator and cross off anything you already have on hand.
4.) Now, if you go to more than one store to shop, break out your ingredient lists under whatever store you’ll be buying them at. (For example: dairy is cheaper at Sam’s Club for us in KC. Anything dairy goes under the Sam’s Club list. I know that grape jelly, however, is cheaper at Aldi, etc.) I would have loved to tell you how much to get of each ingredient for that December list, but we’re a family of 7 with 6 people eating. Other families are larger, some smaller–you’ll have to figure it out. Plus, my family just killed 2.5 lbs. of ground beef on Taco Tuesday last week, so I’m still trying to figure out a.) how in the world that happened and b.) what we’re going to eat when they are all teenagers. (On the blog’s facebook page, several people suggested half ground turkey/half ground beef or even chicken for tacos. I suggested this to my husband this week on Taco Tuesday and was met with the response I knew was coming: Um, no.
5.) Go shopping.
6.) When you get home, do ANYTHING you possibly can in preparation for your meals. (For example: I take all ground beef and make it into mini meatloaves for the freezer, and I put them in separate bags, already portioned out for dinner. I then cook up the rest of the ground beef and add in my homemade taco seasoning. I then let it cool, and I package it in portions for the freezer.) I would love to get back to total freezer cooking for the month, but that generally consists of a lot of casserole type dishes, and since half of us can’t have dairy, and I’m not doing any grains, it makes it rough. This is the best I can do at the moment under the circumstances, but I REALLY miss being able to just pull something out of the freezer and throw it into the oven.
7.) Stick to the plan. I find that if I print OUT the menu plan and hang it on the refrigerator, we stick to it. If I write it out, for some reason, I’m more apt to change things around, disregard what we’re having, and I’m tempted to grab something from a restaurant instead. Print it out…hang it up…and look at it every day. Make sure you are pulling things out of the freezer if you put them in the freezer. Whole chickens need a few days in the refrigerator to thaw–and even then, I generally have to put them in the sink with some water just to be sure.
That’s it. That’s what I do at the end of every month to start prepping for another month.
Or, today is the 13th, and I already made December’s menu plan out. Whatever you need to do, people.
Bonus recipe? Thought you’d never ask:
Homemade Taco Seasoning (so much tastier and healthier than the stuff in the packet!)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried minced onion
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground oregano
Make up a bunch of this. Keep it on hand. Pull out how ever much you need to season your ground beef.