Today is a busy day for all of the kids – the older four have been in and out (mostly out) all day. Three kids had piano this morning, and are practicing for their recital late this afternoon. The older two boys spent hours together at the gym (finally got the family membership on Friday), the two older girls spent a couple of hours volunteering at a synagogue social event, and after the recital, one dd will be out babysitting for the night. So my menu plan that was written last night has already been adjusted for today since so many of them haven’t been around.
Here’s the menu for the week:
Sunday – breakfast – french toast with fried apples; lunch – oatmeal muffin loaf; dinner – turkey, sweet potatoes with apples, kasha, and leftover cholent
Monday – b – farmer’s breakfast casserole; l – calzones; d – kasha nut loaf, yogurt sauce
Tuesday – b – granola, yogurt, sliced banana; l – black bean soup; d – Brunswick stew
Wednesday – b – omelets, buttermilk biscuits; l – minestrone soup with rice pasta; d – falafel balls, Greek rice, techina
Thursday – b – Amish oatmeal; l – CORN (clean out refrigerator night, but my kids told me last week I need to call it CORA – clean out refrigerator afternoon when I have leftovers for lunch); d- chickpea and peanut stew
As you can see, I decided to take advantage of the cold weather and planned soup for almost every day lunch. It’s filling, nourishing, warming, and very inexpensive to make. In the summer no one has the slightest interest, so I need to make it while I can! I made a huge pot of turkey stock today that will make a delicious base for each of them.
Having a menu prepared at the beginning of the week really simplifies preparations for the rest of the week, because I know what I’ll need when, and can take steps to have it ready. Today we did a bunch of prepping for meals this week. One dd prepared the oat mixture for the granola, so it can soak overnight and we’ll bake it all tomorrow, so it will be ready for Tuesday morning. She also blended the steamed cauliflower for the calzone filling. Another made the pizza dough for the calzones, and baked up a double recipe of leftover oatmeal muffin loaf (from the leftover apple cinnamon oatmeal at the end of last week) for a late lunch today. Ds6 brought up chick peas, kidney beans, and black beans, and ds10 started soaking all three in separate bowls. By soaking them now, they’ll have sprouted later in the week when we need them and the nutritional benefits will be maximized. Ds15 is preparing the breakfast casserole loaf for tomorrow’s breakfast – I’ve learned from scheduling this in the past that it has to be made in advance to be ready to serve on time for breakfast. And lastly, dd8 is preparing to soak two packages of walnuts in a sea salt solution; they’ll be dehydrated overnight and ready to use for Monday night’s kasha nut loaf.
Does that sound like a lot of work? It actually has taken just an hour, fit in between the kids going in and out. That should basically be it for the week’s necessary advance food preps, except for soaking the flour and oats for Weds and Thursday morning breakfasts, and I can do that the night before I make them. It drastically simplifies my cooking during the week when time is shorter, and makes it possible to make healthy meals that are served in a timely way. By lumping the preparations together, it’s an efficient use of our energy, and by doing it together, we get a lot done in a short time frame. And no one feels overly burdened by having to do all the work.