Wednesday, September 3, 2008

...Make Menu Planning Fun!

Are you bored of answering the question "What's for dinner?" Maybe you need a new perspective. Listen, like it or not, it's your job to make sure your children are fed. 5 out of 5 social services workers agree. So why not make it fun for you and them, while making it healthy?

Most of my friends think I like to do things the hard way. It's probably true. But maybe if you start out slow and incorporate some of my suggestions just one night a week, you will liven up your boring menu plan.

My menu planning involves "naming" my nights of the week. I find that if I can convince myself that I have a theme, then it feels more like a party.

This week we have...

"Sat Around Saturday" -- you guessed it. We had leftovers and cleaned out the fridge. That's the day I did my shopping.

"#2 Son Sunday" -- My oldest has left home. But my second son cooked a fabulous breakfast of two types of pancakes - chocolate chip and blueberry. Then for dinner he made our family and our guests salmon cooked in banana leaves. I am not kidding. However, this was not his first time cooking, as you may have guessed. (Remember, Coachmom says, "Use your kids!" Start training them now! They need to know how to cook later anyway!)

"Mmm Mmm Monday" -- main dishes with the letter M. Breakfast was muffins (and some other things of course). Dinner was Mexican.

"T's Turn Tuesday" -- my third son's name conveniently starts with the letter T, or at least I thought it was convenient. He choose to make Waffle House style Hashbrowns with the fixings for breakfast and Tacos for dinner. Just what we needed, more Mexican. But we live in Texas after all!

"What's That Wednesday?" -- have your kid's ever asked you, "Ewww, what's that?" when you served dinner? This would be a great time to try and make them! I make things like Baked Oatmeal for breakfast and casseroles for dinner. Try All Recipes for the Baked Oatmeal recipe and other great ideas.

"Thrilling Thursday" -- only things my kids like. Cinnamon rolls for breakfast and Texas Ranch chicken for dinner.

"Fun Friday" -- ice cream waffle sandwiches for breakfast (Excuse me! It's light ice cream. And it's got milk. It's actually healthier than giving your kids Captain Crunch!) For dinner we have homemade pizza. My bread machine makes awesome dough on the dough setting! The boys love putting their own toppings on and it's healthier and cheaper than ordering out.

I know some of these are a stretch, but it's your menu, so do what you want! Just be creative.

Some other ideas Mexican Monday, Macaroni Monday, Manic Monday (for leftovers); Topsy Turvy Tuesday (have breakfast for dinner), "T" Time Tuesday (everything starts with T); World-wide Wednesday (any international dish like Italian, Indian, etc,)...

Another thing you can do is look up the different "days" on a calendar and center the theme around that.

Is it Christopher Columbus Day? Serve a dish from Spain like Spanish Paella. (Yes, I know Columbus was from Genoa, but he sailed from Spain and after all Italian is too easy!)

How about having something with avocado in it on September 9th to celebrate the day that California was admitted to the union in 1850?

Or during Constitution Week serving a different dish from each of the original 13 colonies? Start here for a list of State Foods.

There is a lot of great "theme" things you can do. So, get up, stop sitting around and moping! You've got a make dinner. So let's make it fun! Now get out there!

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