Monday, March 19, 2012

Menu Planning Road Blocks

I am struggling right now with my menu planning. We are a gluten free family who tries to eat as much "real" food as possible. Our budget doesn't allow for any eating out right now, so I'm planning and cooking breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week for seven people! Honestly, I think I'm just burnt out on planning/cooking.

I've been reviewing how I used to meal plan. It was easier I think, when we lived in town and not on the farm. Right now I spend all the nice weather working outside, there are always fences to work on or yards/barns/coops to clean out. I haven't even started on the flower beds or gardens yet!! When we were living in town it didn't matter if it took awhile to make a meal but now every minute counts! I always feel like if I'm on top of things outside then the inside of my house is falling apart. I honestly haven't found a way to fix this problem. Any ideas?

One solution I have found is that on Friday nights we have gluten free pasta. It's an easy quick meal. I also always plan one night to grill hot dogs. Wednesday nights we pack our dinner or share with our music teachers. You would think it would be easy to fill in the other four nights but I've been seriously struggling!! I try to plan a crock pot meal, casserole, and a whole chicken meal but we seem to be eating the same food over and over and there is rumors of a dinner riot taking place.

At one point I was a die hard freezer cook. I usually cooked/prepped enough meals for two or three months at the beginning of our school year, at Christmas time, before garden season, and again before our busy 4-H season. It just seems so much harder now that I'm feeding seven people and the kids all eat more than me! The gluten free part has also stumped me because some of our tried and true meals can't be frozen if made gluten free.

I know I must get this under control. I'm fixing meals but there is no love involved!! I always prided myself on how much I loved cooking for my family but right now I'm dreading it!!

How do you overcome your lack of desire to meal plan and cook?

1 comment:

Becky said...

I feel your pain! I currently have only 4 in the house (including me) and believe me, it feels so easy compared to 5 or 6. We only had 6 in the house for a short while when my mother in law lived with us.

What you need are some more simple, inexpensive staple recipes. One we use all the time is something we just call "hamburger rice" It's a 1.5 lb package of hamburger(maybe 2 lbs for you), browned with chopped onions, 2 cups rice cooked in 3 cups of water, a can of cream of mushroom soup and a can of cheese soup. I don't know if the soups are gluten-free.

Another we have regularly is "Indian Chicken" - our store sells store-brand "butter chicken" sauce and all you do is pour that over cooked diced chicken in the pan and serve over basmati rice. I add frozen vegetables to the mixture for volume. One jar and 2 lbs of chicken easily serves my teens with leftovers, so it should work for your family.

I hope you feel some success soon - remember to focus on what you DO have, not what you don't. And enjoy your children. Mine are 12 and 13 right now and I feel like I blinked and missed their childhood.

Take care,