Today I planned the schedule for the nine days we will host one group of our foster girls. We have three houses of teenage girls who come to our home one week each month respectively. This particular house has two girls. They are out of school now and we hope to have lots of fun together! I gave them a list of options to choose from - places to go, things to do at home, crafts, exercise, and goals they have for themselves this summer.
After scheduling in the activities we plan to do, I determined which meals we would have on which days. I looked at the weather to determine which would be good grilling days, which day we'll take a picnic to hear music in the park, etc.
I had already planned a menu for them last week, taking into consideration their likes and dislikes and foods which are in season. I looked through my Hassle Free Dinners CD, a year's worth of dinner menus, instructions and grocery lists which is organized according to date, and chose several summertime salads to serve.
When we grill lemon chicken, we'll grill some extra chicken for some of the salads. Summertime is a great time for a spiral ham - we'll have some ham for dinner tonight and use some for sandwiches, a calzone, and picnics during the week. I'll cook green beans one night for dinner and the leftovers will appear in a salad another night.
The key is planning ahead - using my strawberries early in the week while they are still fresh, cooking extra for meals later in the week, and shopping only once a week because I planned! I tried to vary meals - alternating the salads with grilling and alternating chicken, ham and hamburgers. It provides a little interest and change.
If you need some help planning dinner, my Three Steps to Planning Dinner workbook includes hints for making the most out of your time in the kitchen so you don't have to spend any more time cooking than is necessary. It also has some of my favorite recipes - most of them quick and easy. And there's a section for starting a recipe book of your own favorites.
I love providing tasty, quick and nutritious meals for our "family". And once my planning and shopping are done, I don't have to experience that nightly dilemna of figuring out what to have for dinner!! I have my meals scheduled on my calendar and all the ingredients I need in order to prepare them.
A couple of huge extras: the money (and nutrition!) saved by not eating out/getting take-out and the time saved by not stopping at the grocery store seveal times a week.
What are your secrets for putting dinner on the table every night?
P. S. Both Hassle Free Dinners and Three Steps to Planning Dinner are available at http://www.1-2-3getorganized.com/.
Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you find some helpful hints for organizing your time and space. My passions are to help you make home a refuge instead of a crisis center, and to help you function in peace rather than chaos - at home or at work. I have switched my main blog to 1-2-3 ... Get Organized on WordPress, so please visit me there.