When You Fail to Plan….

One of my least favorite feelings is the one that sometimes hits at 4:30 in the afternoon where I realize I have nothing planned to make for dinner, there’s nothing in the house, and I don’t feel like cooking what we do have. As a result, we had to make some changes in the way we did things to avoid the whole “I don’t want to cook, let’s order pizza” phenomenon (which, to be honest, still hits about once a month).

Every Friday (that would be today), I sit down with all my cookbooks and recipes I’ve pulled from magazines and try to prepare a menu for the next week. While I’m planning my menu, I’m creating a grocery list for Hubby (who grocery shops on Friday nights). Inevitably, I end up with a list of five to six meals — but lately, it seems like it’s been the same meals week after week and I’m so so so so bored.

And sick of cooking.

This week, as I sit down to prepare the menu, I’m trying to dig out some classics from the archives so as not to have “the same old thing” for one more week. To be honest, making meals for just myself and the girls is quite difficult to do, as Hubby has not been around to eat dinner with us in quite some time. Eventually, the girls will eat dinner, but they’re not appreciative. In the case of last night’s Tortilla Soup, hearing The Princess say, “Ewwwwwwwww!” and then spit it out, well, it’s enough to make me want to go on strike and let them live on cold cereal and cottage cheese until they can learn to cook for themselves. Kidding. Really. (And by the way, my soup was good).

This week, some possible additions to the menu are – Hungarian Meatball Stew, Spicy Bean and Cheese Burritos, Texas Chili, or Sloppy Cubanos (basically a sloppy joe but with ground pork and chorizo instead of beef, and a bit of a spicier sauce). Not sure which of these will make the cut, but I hope to inject at least a little variety into the coming week.

My question for you: How do you handle the menu planning in your house? Are you obsessive and plan like I do? Do you fly by the seat of your pants? What is your favorite dinner menu?

About sarah

Sarah is a book nerd, a music lover, an endorphin junkie, a coffee addict. Oh, and a goof ball. She writes, she tweets, and she sings off key.


  1. I found you through someone’s blogroll. I don’t really plan out my meals. But, I guess that’s because I only cook three things. Lemon pepper chicken, turkey tacos or spaghetti. Can you say, boring. Or, perhaps, predictable? Like you, I get SO sick of cooking. I have to fight the urge to hang up the ovenmitts and call the pizza man. Pretty much the only thing that stops me though is the fact that my daughter hates (!?!?) pizza.

    I wish I did plan like you, it might make me branch out more, cook different things. But, most of the time it seems like such a waste to cook for one child and one adult.

  2. I hear ya – It’s no fun cooking for an adult, two children and another adult who eats meals only as leftovers these days. But I try because I have vivid flashbacks of Mac & Cheese dinners while mom sucked down a slim fast for dinner. That was the extent of family dinners in my house. No good. No good at all!

  3. Lately, I’ve found meal planning to be really challenging. Sometimes it’s because I am just in a rut and know my husband will scream if he has to eat one more helping of the rice & beans dish I love to make with tortillas. But lately it’s been a combination of exhaustion/feeling down and missing out on a key ingredient or two since we can’t really grocery shop until the next payday. (Work for my hubby was extremely slow after Christmas until last week, and I’m thanking God we had a full freezer and pantry full of things I’d put up from the summer, and some meat given to us by friends.)

    Today while the little guy I babysit was napping, I scoured my “How to cook everything” cookbook. I came across a recipe for potato/spinach gnocci, and am actually thinking about trying it. I’ve never eaten gnocci, but figure that I’ve actually got the ingredients and could give it a try.

    The two things that inspire me to keep on coming back to the kitchen to experiment are occasional dinners with friends who cook things I’ve never tried before and cookbooks with pictures. I leaf through the pictures while I eat lunch and daydream about how that would work in our house. Granted, some of the best cookbooks and most informative ones don’t have pictures, so I make myself be in the mood to read those. But it does seem to help and inspire. So far my husband’s favorite standbys are products of my time spent looking at pictures in cookbooks. =)

    But wouldn’t it be nice to have a personal cook/butler who could just do it for us on those days when we don’t want to cook or order out? I keep dreaming of a butler named Alfred who will wash all my dishes, bring me breakfast, put my laundry away, and bring me chocolate whenever I want. I’m pretty sure it’s a pipe dream. =)

  4. Sarah - The Mom Chronicles says

    Inkling – I love the magazine Cooking Light (their website is pretty comprehensive too) for recipes with mouth-watering pictures. I also watch a lot of food network. Tonight, I made an awesome chili from the Rachael Ray magazine (there was some chili contest, and that was the winning recipe). My goodness, if that was not THE BEST chili ever. Of course, the kids hated it, which always stinks – cooking when 50% of the crowd doesn’t like it. But Hubby and I both really enjoyed it, and the kids filled up on side dishes instead.

    But I’m with you on the butler thing. Wonder who I have to talk to to make that happen?

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