May 3, 2010 by Marci
Last Monday, I shared with you why to menu plan, how to menu plan and gave you some great menu planning tools. After reading that, you should have no excuse for not making the perfect menu plan, right? Well, almost. Even with all that info and help, there are times when the key to menu planning is flexibility. I shared that my menu plans are not for any particular day. I choose every day from the meals I have planned. However, even that plan sometimes just isn’t flexible enough.
The Real World
Take last week for example. I had planned some grilled goodness and one of my favorite dishes, Spanish Rice. A great week of meals. Here is how the week started:
I have the rib eyes ready. I get the grill out for the first time this year. To make a long story short, the grill is dead. Now, I have to figure out another way to cook these steaks…and fast. I quickly go to one of my favorite recipe sites and there it is, my saving grace! It is a new recipe, but I am willing to try it. Oh my goodness! I am actually happy that the grill decided to give up the ghost! This peppercorn steak recipe is wonderful!! So glad I didn’t panic and had resources to draw from to salvage our dinner.
That meal was saved, but the whole dead grill thing threw a wrench into the rest of my menu. I had planned on grilling brats last week, also. So, I put them in the freezer for whenever we could replace the grill. While I was in the freezer, I noticed some ground beef that I froze last time I got a good deal at the meat market. That night we had my unstuffed pepper skillet. Think pepper stuffing with the peppers just cut up and mixed in. Sooo good. Flexibility (and a stocked pantry, but that’s for another post) worked again!
The next night, I really wanted to make my spanish rice, but since we had rice the night before in the unstuffed pepper skillet, my family vetoed my call. They wanted ramen noodles of all things!!! I let them have their noodles. I had a salad and we were all happy. My meal plan last week may not have worked perfectly, but it gave me the basic ingredients to make something work. If I wouldn’t have had a plan and hadn’t gotten groceries, I would have been stuck and probably spending way to much money on pizza delivery or at the mexican restaurant!
What’s The Plan This Week?
This week, I need to plan another flexible menu. We have something planned every night this week from 5:30 until 7 (ice-skating and softball). Our plan is to have a snack before hand and dinner when we get back home. I need quick and easy, but also nutritional. I try to stay away from pre-made processed foods as much as possible – thought I do cave from time to time. So, making food ahead of time is going to be crucial to making this week work. Luckily, my hubby got the fever and went and replaced our grill this weekend. We grilled a bunch of burgers and brats with friends yesterday and have some leftover. That’s what we’ll have tonight! Here’s my plan for before activity snacks and dinners:
- Ham and cheese wraps
- PB & J
- Berry Smoothies
- Wheat thins and cheese
- Blackberries and bagels
- Leftover burgers and brats, baked beans, broccoli/cauliflower salad
- Ham and cheese sandwiches, chips, carrot sticks
- Chicken and chile verde casserole (made earlier in the day), guacamole, salsa, chips
- Grilled pork steak, grilled asparagus, alfredo pasta (super fast meal)
- OK…we will probably get pizza one night!! Lets just be realistic!!
There’s my flexible plan for the week. Hopefully, that will fit our busy week. When life gets really crazy, our family needs a good, nutritious meal and some time to sit down together. Do you need to build more flexibility into your menu? I’m linking up to Menu Plan Monday at Organizing Junkie. Check it out for more great menu ideas!!