Back to school days are just around the corner, quite literally for those of us who don’t start until September:) Hopefully, your school planning is done and your school room organized. What else can you do to ensure smoother school days?
Have you looked ahead at your meal planning? Meal planning is probably the most stressful part of my school year. Why? Because I feel like If you really put your heart and soul into meal planning and prep for your family you could literally spend your whole life in the kitchen!
Let me assure you that is not where I want to spend my whole life!!!
Yes, it’s true . . . I confess I am one of those women who would much rather spend her time cleaning her house than cooking and planning elaborate meals.
Weird . . . I know.
It’s not that I love cleaning. It’s just that I hate the mess cooking makes. When I clean I see results that are not destroyed in a matter of moments leaving the ravages of unwashed plates and a table that needs washing yet again . . . I’m sure I have already washed that table twelve times today. Oh and now the floor needs to be swept!
But the family still has to eat and since we must, we might as well enjoy it and it might as well be healthy:)
Is there a more efficient way to deal with homeschool menu planning? Here are 3 secrets that I use to conquer my homeschool menu plan throughout the school year.
Homeschool Menu Planning Secret #1:
I’ve done the whole cook all your meals in one day for the entire month and honestly, it didn’t work for me. I never got all the cooking done in one day. I seemed to spend most of my Saturdays trying to get all the cooking done. One Saturday wasn’t enough. That’s not how I want spend to my Saturdays. And although it was honestly quite convenient to pull something out and pop it in the oven, I feel like it wasn’t necessary every single day.
When it comes to freezer cooking I do it a little differently. I like to have a few meals in my freezer on a regular basis for those super rushed and exhausting days when you just don’t have it all together.
This may mean simply cooking a double batch of chili or meatloaf and freezing part of it for another day. Or I may make a quick marinade in some zip lock freezer bags. Just add your meat and freeze. If I keep up with this plan I should easily have 4-5 freezer meals in my freezer every month. You can do more or less depending on your needs.
Another type of freezer cooking is to precook meat to freeze. Imagine how helpful it is to just grab a package of pre-cooked chicken to thaw in the morning. By lunch time it’s ready to whip up into chicken salad sandwiches. Or pre- cook ground beef and freeze family sized portions. It’s ready to throw into your crock pot first thing in the morning or simply thaw and use to make quesadillas, chili or spaghetti sauce. The options are endless, and having pre-cooked meat in your freezer will make your homeschool menu planning a breeze!
Homeschool Menu Planning Secret # 2
Crock Pot cooking:
I love my Crock Pot, most of the time. If I keep to quick and simple meals I’m able to get myself organized enough to throw something together in the morning before school starts.
There was a time when I couldn’t seem to get the crock pot to work for us. My mornings were so packed with schooling and routines that I couldn’t squeeze meal making in. Now that my older two are doing more independent work I’m able to find the 15-30 min necessary to throw a meal together, before settling down to work with each child individually.
The tricky part is finding crock pot meals that actually taste good and are not filled with unhealthy ingredients. Try a new recipe every week or so. Keep the ones your family likes. You will soon have a small collection of crock pot meals that you can make again and again with ease.
Homeschool Menu Planning Secret # 3
Confession, I fall off the menu planning wagon again and again because “I just don’t have time.” The truth is I really dislike meal planning almost as much as I dislike the cooking part in fact probably even more:) But for those times I have menu planned or being part of a menu planning subscription . . . I found . . . Gasp! . . . having a plan actually saved me time, not to mention mental energy.
My objection to menu planning is simple. I do not want to sit down and make a meal plan every week.
Make 6-8 weeks of menu plans with shopping lists and simply rotate through them seasonally. You could have a fall and winter rotation as well as a spring and summer rotation.
In my next post, I will dive into how I do this and what this looks like in my home. Get ready to master the menu planning in your home. Looking forward to chatting with you next week!
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