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?
I am semi "fly by the seat of my pants". I start with whatever meat is on sale. Think of what sounds good and add what I need to make a meal. We eat at home most of the time and I like to have 10 dinner ideas for each week. On Thursday my 5 yo chooses and elps make dinner.
I love using those McCorick seasoning packets that jave the individual herbs and spices for a meal. It is a great way to try out a new recipe witout spending a lot on spices and if you like it, just keep the recipe card on the package and buy wjat you need.