Weekend Dinners, The Secret to Menu Planning (Part 1)

To the outsider it may look like I cook A LOT and I guess I do but what most. Don’t know is I don’t cook every night. Nor do I cook much on the weekends but what I do do is have a game plan to make sure there is great food for every meal. How do I do this? Let’s start with “The Weekend”…

Saturdays for us is getting up at the same time we do all week. Get our morning routine done which also includes taking care of our adorable dogs. Then we hit the road and go “grocery shopping”. I put this in quotes because it’s so much more than that for us. Grocery shopping is like the ultimate “date night” but we do it during the day. As most know, we live out in the countryside. The closest major towns are about an hour away. This is no biggy when you factor in there’s no traffic and I can set cruise on my car and have a beautiful drive through farm land and enjoy interesting conversations with my husband for this entire time.

While we are out we grab lunch and hit all the shops. All in all it gets us home around 2 or 3 in the afternoon. By the time we’re home I am not interested in cooking. What to do?.. Well, since I take care of all the rest of the food my husband told me he would love to be able to cook one night a week for us. I should tell you at this point that he’s fully capable but doesn’t necessarily have the confidence or skills I do so it’s a bit intimidating for him. He looked at making dinner one night a week as his change to work on that skill and confidence. This got us discussing what might be something that would be fresh and delicious, now his skill set, and be rather quick and easy. The answer is Asian cuisines. So Saturday night at our house is Asian food night! We love it. Stir-fries are the quickest but it can be anything from that to Thai Green Curry or Vietnamese Spring Rolls.

We’ve worked it out now that I will often plan what he will make and make sure it’s included in the grocery list and then he is in charge of cooking it and I am just there for support and the occasional chopping.

The secret to doing this is it almost always makes enough for 2 meals for the both of us. This means leftovers are Sunday’s lunch! This couldn’t be more perfect as Sunday in our house is all about the coming weeks food prep. We usually are elbow deep in prepping come lunch time so having something that can easily just be rewarmed makes for a no hassle lunch.

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By the time we call it quits and start thinking about unwinding and preparing for the coming week dinner is approaching. The last thing I want to do is cook. I have been cooking all day! What to do for dinner? That’s when we came up with the idea of Bratwurst Night. Being in the land of pork every meat counter sells fresh house specialty bratwurst. Add to that the topping is sauerkraut which is a great digestive aid. We typically have a big batch of sauerkraut made up anyways so this is another grate way to use it.

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At this point the weekend has come to an end and I did no cooking but had fantastic food that I don’t feel guilty about eating and I am not faced with going into the week with all sorts of leftovers either.

Giving your weekend meals themes or assigning it to other family members is a great way to lessen the burden. If you have children this can be a great time to get them involved in learning how to make a meal, feed a family, prepare a recipe, or give them a chance to simply be in charge. Hey, if they want to serve cereal to everyone why not?! It is a great way to introduce them to the responsibility of meals and cooking!

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