Each weekend, I plan a dinner menu for the coming week, taking into account the groceries I have on-hand, what our calendar looks like, and what I feel like cooking and/or eating.
In real life, there are very few weeks that my menu works out exactly as planned: usually one night gets bumped, changed, or just plain skipped due to a scheduling conflict, a recipe miscalculation, or my own decision to scrap the planned meal and head out to dinner.
Last week’s menu, however, was exceptional in its complete craziness; it is the perfect example of how I planned a weekly menu, did not follow it at all, but still managed to feed my family at home each night.
Monday: Supposed to make: Chili. Actually made: Spaghetti and Meatballs. I made a big batch of meatballs over the weekend to have on-hand for lunches. When the kids discovered the meatballs, they begged for spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. I hesitated, because I had already defrosted the ground beef for the chili, but since it is incredibly rare for my kids to be in agreement on something, especially about dinner, I caved and made spaghetti and meatballs.
Wednesday: Supposed to make: Pot Roast. Actually made: Breakfast burritos. I forgot to get the pot roast out of the freezer on Tuesday so it would be ready for the slow cooker Wednesday morning. So, I got the pork tenderloin out to defrost instead, thinking I’d get it in the oven before I had to leave to run carpool. Well, it didn’t defrost in time, so while I was out running carpool and errands from about 5-7pm, my husband made breakfast burritos for dinner.
Thursday: Supposed to make: Roast Chicken. Actually made: Pulled Pork. Remember the partially defrosted pork tenderloin from Wednesday? I knew I wouldn’t have time to make the Cumin Pork Tenderloin I planned, so I put it in the slow cooker along with a half a bottle of beer, and half a bottle of BBQ sauce. Cook all day on low and shred…..yum! Too bad we had another crazy evening of activities (not our normal Thursday), and had maybe 15 minutes between activities to eat dinner. My husband came to the rescue again and made peanut butter and banana sandwiches for the kids while he ate some sketchy deli turkey (it’s been in the fridge way too long) wrapped in some lettuce leaves. Not willing to take a chance on the turkey, I had a handful of nuts as I ran out the door. Then at 8pm I ate a few bites of the pulled pork as I moved it from the slow cooker to the fridge.
Friday: Supposed to make: Tacos. Actually made: Nothing….just re-heated the pulled pork from Thursday. Some friends were supposed to come over for dinner on Friday, so I planned to make family-friendly tacos. Those plans were rescheduled, so I bumped tacos to Saturday and we ate the pulled pork from Thursday.
Anyone want to guess if I made the tacos on Saturday?
Nope…..our plans with friends were rescheduled again (a strange virus hit their house and they kindly kept their germs to themselves), so my kids had an old family fave that we haven’t made in years: tortillas and peanut butter. Yes, smear some peanut butter on a tortilla, roll it up and call it dinner. These used to be lunch and/or dinner at least twice a week at our house. My husband and I got a last-minute invite to another gathering so off we went while the kids happily ate their tortillas and peanut butter.
So while it looks likes my menu plan was a failure, I still call it success. Because I had planned ahead and had plenty of ingredients (including fresh veggies) on hand for meals, we didn’t resort to the drive-through at all. And though I do wish my kids hadn’t had so many bread/tortilla/peanut butter combinations, at least they had something relatively healthy to eat.
Do your menu plans work out perfectly? Or not-so-perfectly?