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Enjoy the Weekend by Nailing Down the Weeknights

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Although we tend to divide a lot of the household chores, the division is based on talents we both have. I have a talent in the kitchen, so I do most of the cooking. Even though I am GOOD at cooking and I ENJOY cooking, you'd be surprised at how incredibly IRKED I get at being asked, "What's for dinner tonight?"

So I decided to stop that question from even leaving their lips.

Through the week, I have a pretty firm stance on dinner: WE EAT AT HOME. I'm pretty firm about it because I don't mind cooking. I like having everyone gather around the dinner table, I like the conversation about our days, and I like having an hour where everyone is forbidden to utilize electronics. We take it back to the Amish, as it were.

Because I cook through the week, I don't mind relinquishing all kitchen-type duties over the weekend. To put it simply - I'll take care of the five meals during the week. The weekend? Y'ALL FEED ME.

(As a result, we eat out a lot on the weekends.)

Before we got strict, we found that a lot of our monthly budget was going to food. And - surprising no no one at all - 75% of that cost was last-minute dining choices. So I decided: if we're going to enjoy our weekends affordably, and I'm not going to cook, we're going to have to pin down our weekly dinner budget.

Full Disclosure: I am a Virgo. Thusly, I am also a natural list-maker. Completely unrelated to astrology, I also have a love of kitschy notebooks.

Enter my Meal Planner.

My Meal Planner - which, honestly, I think I found at Target forever ago? - lives on my fridge. Every Sunday morning, I sit down with my Meal Planner and Pinterest and I figure out what meals we can use to get us through the week.

I love this for several reasons. Mostly, I love this because this sits on my fridge. If anyone enters the kitchen and starts to ask me about dinner, I can redirect them to said list. TA DA! Don't ask! You're literate! Occasionally, I'll even take meal requests.

Not long after I've decided on the meal plan for the week, I reference my grocery list, which ALSO remains on my fridge. That way I can mark off key ingredients on my grocery list, and I'm not that crazy lady who walks up and down aisles in the grocery store, praying for inspiration in the pasta section and buying anything that catches her eye. (My grocery list is also open to additional participation from family members; I often don't know if the boys need shampoo or the dogs need food, and they can add that on there themselves.)

I don't even feel like I'm exaggerating when I say that this little process - which ultimately may take two hours, including the shopping - irons out my ENTIRE week. Not only is everything taken care of in one grocery trip, but I also know ahead of time that if I have a late worknight on Monday? That's the day I need to make a crockpot dinner before I leave for work.

And when I can get the entire week planned out ahead of time? There is ABSOLUTELY no guilt in me handing off all food-related responsibility all weekend.

(So, what's for dinner?)

What little tip do you have that help free up your weekend, financially or time-wise?

by on Mar. 26, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Replies (31-40):
daerca574
by on Mar. 27, 2012 at 7:46 AM

 We are homebodies for the most part.  We enjoy grilling and watching movies, or just playing ball outside on the weekends.

Felicity532
by on Mar. 27, 2012 at 10:10 AM

I don't have a tip as our weekends are crazy!   Maybe I can learn here.

Madelaine
by Member on Mar. 27, 2012 at 10:19 AM

good ideas

Leelee1008
by Member on Mar. 27, 2012 at 10:37 AM

mine too

Quoting amonkeymom:

I like your menu planner and the list idea.  My kids are terrible about letting me know when they're out of things like soap, shampoo, deoderant, or when we're out of dog food, or they eat the last of something that we like to keep on hand (yogurt, anyone?).  So, I think I'll have to give this a try.


Leelee1008
by Member on Mar. 27, 2012 at 10:38 AM

weekends are usually crazy here too. I sometimes cook on the weekends but usually its grab and go.

Leelee1008
by Member on Mar. 27, 2012 at 10:39 AM

yeah hubby doesnt care either. except when I am trying to figure out what were going to have he says I dont care, and then when I make a decision, he doesnt want that. Its frusterating.

Quoting elasmimi:

I do a menus plan, but don't post it, because they don't care what we're having. I do like the idea of the grocery list, just being able to mark off what I need, because I buy the same things most of the time.


Leelee1008
by Member on Mar. 27, 2012 at 10:40 AM

I do that too.

Quoting dusky_rose:

I don't meal plan, but I do like to keep the ingredients on hand to make whatever I decide to make that day. Our freezer is stocked with meats and other frozen foods and our pantry is stocked with foods bought mostly when they were on sale. I do keep a list on the fridge, so that I can add to it as I am in the kitchen and see that we need something though. I usually cook all week and sometimes on weekends we get takeout or on a special occasion go out to dinner.


Leelee1008
by Member on Mar. 27, 2012 at 10:41 AM

lol its crazy 7 days a week around here lol. 

Quoting Felicity532:

I don't have a tip as our weekends are crazy!   Maybe I can learn here.


elijahsmama09
by on Mar. 27, 2012 at 10:46 AM
I meal plan, but every other weekend my husband has off, so on those weekends we usually veg at home, watch a movie, eat junk food.
Leelee1008
by Member on Mar. 27, 2012 at 10:51 AM

we do baseball practice is 3 days a week, tonight is one of them. If I dont plan out my meal the night before, im screwed. Tuesdays are horrible b/c DH usually works nights, he also gets paid and we have to pick up his check, cash it and then take him back to work. I then have to get home to get the kids ready. It's usually a take out night.

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