Menu Plan Monday ~ Week of April 25, 2011 [AKA the Week of Insanity]

Menu Plan Monday LogoThe first thing I do when I sit down to plan a menu is go through my calendar and add planning considerations (otherwise known as stuff we have to do) onto the sheet. Most weeks there are the typical classes and food blogger events and then maybe one weekend activity to account for. We’re used to that routine and I can plan our meals around it tolerably well. I consider it controlled chaos. This week though we can look forward to complete and total event overload. The kidlet is coming to the end of this semester’s musical theater program so she has three performances over the weekend and a slew of rehearsals leading up to them. I’m running a 5k on Sunday and I have a food blogger event as well as an Austin Food Blogger Alliance board meeting. This time next week when I sit down to menu planning I expect I’ll be a bit bedraggled but honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Our life is full, to the point of overflowing at times I realize, but it’s rich and we’re certainly never bored.

The Plan

I have three goals when planning menus for weeks like this:

  1. Avoid the fast food lane with easy dinners that I can put together no matter how tired I am.
  2. Find at least three chances for us to eat together as a family.
  3. Stay flexible so I can adjust as the week goes by.

By relying on my freezer stash for much of the week I know we’ll have easy meals that work well with quick fresh sides like crudités and salads, and I can switch them up as the week goes by if I need to. We’ll squeak three family dinner nights in and one of those is a big celebration night so maybe it can count for two if need be.

  • Monday: Chicken tenders, crudités, and oven fries [freezer stash]
    Not only is Monday dance class night, but we’ll have to sneak in a grocery store trip because I didn’t get my menu plan together quickly enough to get shopping done on Saturday. With the stores closed on Easter Sunday, I have to move my shopping to Monday. We’ll have to have a quick dinner in between if we’re going to have a hope of making bed time.
  • Tuesday: Lettuce Wraps [freezer stash]
    Tuesday evening brings more classes and I have a food blogger event to boot. The whole family loves these lettuce wraps and we can heat up individual portions as schedules allow. The kidlet likes her filling over steamed rice which is just fine with me.
  • Wednesday: Mom’s night out, dad and kidlet on their own
    I’m meeting a friend for dinner so the dad and daughter will have date night without me.
  • Thursday: Jambalaya and steamed broccoli
    I don’t often use packaged mixes but one brand I love and trust is Zatarain’s. Their jambalaya mix is a family favorite and I’ll make a family size box so we have leftovers for lunches during our hectic weekend.
  • Friday: Ground buffalo and black bean burritos with salad
    I’ve been wanting to try a variation on this recipe for freezer-friendly burritos, and I’ll have plenty of time on Friday night while the kidlet is at dress rehearsal. I can take a burrito with me so she can eat it in the car the way home – I’m sure she’ll be starving. I’ll freeze the rest for easy dinners in the future.
  • Saturday: Meatball sandwiches [freezer stash]
    After the preparations and driving associated with two performances on one day, the whole family will look forward to an easy and comforting dinner. Meatballs and sauce from the fridge will come together quickly with fresh bread from a local bakery for gooey sandwiches.
  • Sunday: Celebrating a great show, straight A’s, and a 5k with dinner out!
    We’ll have a lot to celebrate after this week starting with a six weeks of school that yielded an all-A report card, months of rehearsals for what I’m sure will be a successful show, and my finish of a 5k on Sunday morning.

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