Super-Fast Friday: Cook With Your Day Planner

18 Mar

My son and I take Taekwondo on Thursday nights. Class starts at 6:15, which means if we want dinner before 8:30 and don’t want to feel sick after 90 minutes of kicking, punching, push-upping and jumping around, we eat around 4:45. That can be a challenge, quite honestly, with school pickup at 3 and homework after that, and a generally-filled daily work schedule for me.

This weekend is Pinewood Derby with the Cub Scouts (my favorite kid event of the entire year–LOVE me some Pinewood Derby!), which takes up Friday night and much of Saturday. And it’s Lent, which puts us on a no-meat restriction for tonight.

Why do you need to know this? Because it all came into play when I was meal planning earlier in the week. I knew I wouldn’t have much time Thursday to cook, and I knew I’d want whatever we ate Thursday to carry over into Friday, and so then that had to be meat-free.

Complicated? Maybe. But knowing it ahead of time made it simple for me to shop with a list earlier in the week and get all the ingredients for a huge pot of shrimp lo mein, which I whipped up in about 15 minutes during homework time on Thursday, and will feed all of us tonight, too. And that, my friends, saves me a lot of time.

Meal planning is critical, I think, for families. It’s especially important for families whose adult members are running around like lunatics all week (that’s most of us, yes?). And sitting down with a day-planner and your recipe box at the same time helps avoid chaos on hurricane days. You know that you have X on Thursday and Y on Friday, and that your meals will be affected, and so you can plan, shop, and cook accordingly.

It really is simple. I promise. Give it a shot and let me know how much easier your weeks are, at least in the kitchen. Lo mein recipe on Monday. Promise. 🙂

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4 Responses to “Super-Fast Friday: Cook With Your Day Planner”

  1. Leslie Setlock March 18, 2011 at 8:54 am #

    I always write up the meal plan with the calendar in sight, especially these days. I work outside the home until at least 4, the hubby works variable days and hours, and there are 3 kids to be picked up before we (I) can get at the business of dinner. So my meal planning is done on a spreadsheet. First column is days of the week, second is constraints, then the meal.

    Yes, I write down those constrains, even the repeating ones that should be “obvious”! Sometimes the meal plan has to shift, if I run out of something, we end up with unexpected extra 9 year old boys, or we just really don’t want what was on the plan. If the constraints are right there on paper, I know that the change will have to match up with the same constraints and don’t, say, swap a single-day meal like burritos in place of a leftover-creating meal like a casserole, leaving myself in a lurch for the meal that was supposed to use those leftovers. Because nothing is “obvious” at 5:45 and hungry…

  2. Julie Chapman March 18, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    Yes, I am struggling with dinner ideas as I am reading yours.
    We have pinewood derby this weekend too, but it is only Sunday afternoon. Do you have photos of some of DS’s cars? It is our first time and my DH is taking forever to work on it with DS.

    • Kim March 18, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

      Julie, photos are around here somewhere. We’ve done a space shuttle, a Blue Angel, and a Nascar. This year, it’s a tank. Good luck!!

  3. Sarah March 18, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

    Can’t you just plan my meals for me, cook them and send them over? That would work for me. 🙂

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