Yes, it helps immensely to know by lunch time what I am making for dinner that night. And usually, I don't really feel like thinking about it AT lunch time, because by then I'm engrossed in anywhere from 1-5 different things, and at that point, dinner time seems so far away. So, in order to stay on top of things, I usually need to plan out a weekly menu on Monday so I have a rough plan set it place, and can merely pull something out of the freezer in the morning (if need be) and have an idea what time I need to start making the food, depending on what my menu says we'll be eating that night. I do like to stay flexible, and often only end up actually making 5 or so of the meals I plan, often because by mid-week we have leftovers, so we'll have a mish-mosh of reheated stuff. But in the event that there aren't leftovers, I have a plan. Better to be safe than
Now, in order for me to stick with something with any regularity at all (and believe me, I fall off this menu-planning wagon at least one week out of every month) it has to be fun. And, in general, (what with my lack of enjoyment of cooking and all) this whole process isn't exactly my idea of 'fun'. So I sort of trick myself into making it about decorating. I made a really cute menu board (it was the top piece of a bar stool that I found for about a buck at Goodwill that I spray painted with Chalkboard paint) that I can write on with chalk markers (found at Michael's) and wipe off each week to display my new menu. Besides looking really cute (in my humble opinion) hanging in my kitchen, it also has an added bonus. I've noticed that the kids check it each day, almost as soon as they get home from school. Sometimes I get to hear a "Yes!", but at least half the time my dinner choice only musters an "oh.". That's okay; I no longer plan meals around the picky eaters in my family. (And seeing it there in black and white gives them time to mentally prepare themselves and accept what's coming!) They're all finally old enough to just eat what's put in front of them without a fight. (Hallelujah, and thank you, Jesus! THAT, my friends, has been years in coming.) You'll notice along the bottom of my menu board is also a gentle reminder (which I stole from Madame Blueberry of Veggie Tales 'Stuff-Mart' fame) "A thankful heart is a happy heart."
I'm still playing around with a few online meal planners with built in 'recipe books' and grocery list makers. I'll let you know in another post my thoughts on them. I'll leave you with a peek at what the Clemmers are eating this week.