What's For Dinner? - The Dinner Menu Solution

So, although I love to cook, I found myself only making real organized meals for dinner like once or twice a week. This bothered me so I sat down and tried to figure out the underlying reason why that was happening.

The first thing I realized is that there are just going to be phases in life when real dinners don't happen very often. Some of these times may be when you have a new baby, when people in your family are sick, when you are traveling or preparing/recuperating from a trip, or when school or work schedules get in the way...but at the time I was trying to get this figured out none of those things were happening in our family. I knew it had to be something though...

I finally figured it out...the problem was that I didn't have a plan and in my life I need to have a plan. The problem was it would get to like 5 or 5:30 at night before I would start thinking..."ok, what am I going to make for dinner?" Here's the thing though, it's not like I had never seen the idea of making menus and shopping lists and charts and caledars etc. It's just that those ideas just didn't work for me.

Well, I'm proud to say that I have found the method that works great for me and my family and I decided that I ought to share it with you all in case one of you is searching for a way as well.

What we do is we have our dinner tub. I thought about all of the meals the I like to make and I probably thought of about 30 or 40. Then I put them on slips of paper and put all of those slips into the tub. Then, as a part of Family Home Evening, we plan out our week and one of things we plan are our dinners. Jane gets a kick out of this because she gets to help, Brad likes that part too. So Jane and Brad draw out slips of paper and I have the calendar and a pen and I fill them in when we find winners. This way if they pick one we just don't feel like, or maybe one that we don't have all of the ingredients for we can just put it back in the tub. Once we have our four or five dinners picked out for the week (some nights we have dinner plans and we usually don't pick out dinners for Friday and Saturday nights due to date night and other unpredictabilities and we usually eat Sunday dinner at the Ellertson's house) we move on in FHE.

I couldn't believe how much this helped me cook more. It seems simple, but it makes a world of difference. This way if I do need to go grocery shopping I can look at dinners for the week and see what I need to get. Also, in the morning I check the calendar to see what I will be making for dinner that night and I can plan what time I will need to start and if there are any parts of it that will require special preparation. It also has just the right amount of variety and flexibility that it is a realistic method. It has been so awesome and I would recommend anyone finding theirselves in a similar predicament to at least give it a try.

Here are some of our favorite dinners in the tub:

Chicken Croquets
Chicken Parmesan and Angel Hair Pasta
Potato Bar
Chicken Fajitas
Chili with Ground Beef and Corn Bread
Mexican Lasagna
Hawaiian Hay Stacks
Spaghetti with Ground Beef
Taco Salad
Pork Roast
Special Breakfast
Honey Chicken
BLT Sandwiches
Ham and Potatoes
Chicken Noodle Soup
Chicken Enchilads

This method has also inspired me in other areas of our lives. Meaning I have made more tubs since experiencing the success of the Dinner Tub. I have a tub for choosing hymns for FHE and a tub for Primary songs. A couple of the tubs that I want to make are for helping choose what movie in your collection to watch on movie night and an activities tub if you and your kids are having a hard time deciding what to do or if your kids are bored and they think there is nothing to do. I just think sometimes we end up doing the same things over and over because it's hard to think of and then decide on other things. We all need a little inspiration and motivation to try new things and be creative. I think this might be just the thing...

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