In my last post we talked about how having a homeschool menu plan in place along with a few simple strategies could make your school year smoother. I confessed my “love” . . .ahem . . . my strong dislike of menu planning.
If you love your weekly menu planning and have it totally together than you probably won’t find this post helpful. Maybe you love to cook gourmet meals and have no problem spending hours in the kitchen. If that’s you, you don’t need this post.
This is for those of you who are time strapped and want to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible. You like to eat good food but cooking and planning the homeschool menu are just one more chore on your overloaded to do list.
This plan will cut out the weekly menu planning and keep decent meals on the table with as little time and stress as possible.
Let’s get started with
What do your mornings look like? Be realistic!
If you are reading this post your mornings probably feel a little chaotic. So when you plan your breakfast menu keep it simple. You are not competing with anyone! There is no such thing as super-woman!
I simplify my breakfast menu so much that I honestly don’t even create a breakfast menu. In fact, I am almost totally uninvolved in the morning breakfast. My super supportive husband and awesome kids get their own breakfast.
Am I beside myself and overwhelmed with mama guilt over this? Nope and neither should you be.
Don’t mama guilt yourself about this. You have enough to do to get your kids through their morning routines so that morning lessons can happen.
Some of you, however, don’t have that freedom. You may have very young children or your husband may not be available to help out early in the morning. If this is you check out the following.
Come up with 5-6 quick and easy breakfast ideas you know your family will love. Here are some of mine.
- Yogurt and Granola
- Toast and Peanut Butter
- Muffins and Fruit or Cheese
- Apple Cinnamon Instant Oatmeal ( see recipe below for healthy version)
- Toast and Jam
My default breakfast is toast simply because I try to avoid cereal. Don’t go crazy on the breakfast menu. Just keep it simple. Muffins can be baked ahead and frozen and instant apple cinnamon oatmeal packs can be made ahead and stored in the pantry.
Apple Cinnamon Instant Oatmeal:
⅓ cup Quick cooking oats +1 Tbsp
1Tbsp Hemp hearts
2 tsp pwdr milk (could use pwdr coconut milk instead)
⅛ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp coconut sugar or dry sweetener of your choice
Pinch of salt
¼ cup dried apple pieces diced
¼ cup chopped nuts (optional)
Mix in a zip lock sandwich bag seal and the store in the pantry. When ready to use pour into a breakfast bowl. Add boiling water to desired consistency. Cover with a plate and sit for 1-2 min. Add milk and enjoy!
The Lunch Plan:
Here’s where I start to get serious about the homeschool menu plan. What are your lunch hours like? How much time can you set aside for lunch preparation daily? Can your kids help with the food prep?
Make a list of at least 15-20 different quick and easy lunch ideas.
- Grilled Cheese and tomato sandwiches with baby carrots
- Tuna Noodle Stovetop Casserole
- Boiled eggs on toast with spinach salad
- Potato and Broccoli Soup (Can be made ahead and simply thawed and reheated)
- Hot dogs and cucumber sticks
- Quesadilla’s (use precooked meat from the freezer to make this quicker)
- Tuna Melts
- Pita Pizza ( I use pre-made pitas from the store and use them as the crust, just add toppings)
- Pumpkin Soup and biscuits (again this soup can be made ahead and frozen. Simply thaw and reheat)
- Egg salad or chicken Sandwiches
- Fish Sticks and coleslaw
- Skillet Macaroni
- Cauliflower Soup
- Arepas( a fried South American corn patty made from maize flour)
- Crackers, cheese, fruit, cold sausage meat, olives, and pickles
- Fish Tacos
- Lentil Stew (Crock Pot)
- Nachos ( you could use pre-cooked ground beef or just make cheese nachos)
- Oven baked eggs in ham cups on toast
If you’ve come up with 20 different ideas you have enough to make 4-6 weekly homeschool menu plans that can simply be rotated throughout the school year!
Grab a piece of paper and divide it into 4 columns. Now make five rows. Label each row from Monday to Friday. Your paper should look like this:
Fill in the lunch meals you’ve chosen. Mix and match. It’s absolutely ok to repeat meals from one week to the next. If you want more variety go ahead and fill in six columns. This will give you six weeks of homeschool menu plans to rotate through.
You could create a grocery list to go with each week’s plan, but I find it easier just to glance at my weekly menu plan and create a quick list. My pantry stock and supply change weekly so I would need to customize the list anyway.
You can store your weekly lunch menus in a binder or keep them on your computer. I love pen and paper so into my binder my weekly menus will go. I may make a digital copy as well for back-up.
The Supper Plan:
I plan my supper menus the same way.
Start by making yourself a list of at least 20-25 supper ideas. I’m going for a six-week supper rotation. You can do more or less depending on how much variety you like.
Here are my supper ideas:
- Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and green beans
- Beef Dip (Crock Pot)
- Mustard sauced chicken
- Beef Curry (Crock Pot)
- Loaded Baked Potatoes steamed broccoli
- Chilli with cheese, biscuits and a salad (Crock Pot, meat could be pre-cooked in the freezer)
- Roast Chicken Rice and a Salad
- Chicken soup and biscuits
- Pork Chops
- Chicken adobo and rice with steamed carrots
- Pork Roast or Ham
- Chicken in milk gravy with mashed potatoes and green beans
- Greek Lamb Chops and rice with greek salad
- Chickpea Pasta sauce with grape tomatoes
- Borscht( could be made ahead and frozen)
- Sausage Soup( make a double batch and freeze half)
- Burgers and French Fries
- Butter Chicken
- Beef and Broccoli Stir-fry
- Pierogies with sausage and beets
This list is a collection of some of my families proven favorites. I always add a few new things throughout the year as well.
To make your supper menu divide your paper into 4 columns with five rows. Fill in the meal ideas you came up with in whatever order you like. When you are finished you should have 4-6 weeks of homeschool menu plans that you can quickly pull out when it’s time to make your shopping list.
I’ve been making these meals for years and know what I need for most of them. If you’re not as familiar with your meal choices perhaps it would be helpful to create a grocery list for each weekly meal plan. That way you can see at a glance what you need for that weeks meal plan.
Do not throw away your list when finished. Keep it in your binder along with the weekly menu it belongs to. This way you will not have to look up your recipes each week to create a grocery list. Simply pull out your pre-created grocery list and tweak it according to your pantry.
There you have it. My super simplified method to do the homeschool menu planning all in one shot. I hope this transforms your school year as much as it has mine.
We homeschooling mama’s often feel the need to be multitasking superheroes. Multitasking superheroes are a myth. They don’t exist. It is far better to simplify and free up time to focus on the things that really matter. Blessings on your school year and peace to your home:)
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