Menu Plans

Sometimes I think the worst part about making dinner is wondering what's for dinner. The other day, I was at the store with my 3 year old at 5:15. Excellent planning as usual. I had no idea what was for dinner and clearly neither did the other 450 people wandering aimlessly around the store. I was hungry, my son was grouchy and the kid shopping carts that play videos were all in use. Panda Express across the parking lot was beckoning. Of course my complete lack of planning meant I also needed essentials like milk and bread so I was going to have to conquer the masses at the store anyway.
Since I was there, I figured I could buy the ingredients to make a Panda Express-esque meal that would be healthier and cost less. I bought the handful of things for dinner and the few things I needed along with a bag of Skittles, some blueberry muffins and chocolate milk. See what happens when Hungry Mom takes Angry Small Boy to the store at dinner time?

I pay for my purchases and head out to the car. The smell of Panda Express is intoxicating but I realize that I now have the ingredients on hand to make a much better meal in minutes. As I am smiling smugly to myself and buckling the car seat, I realize that the brown rice will take at least 30 minutes to cook and I'm not even positive that I have enough (any?) in the cupboard. There is nothing to do but go to the Panda and buy some rice. Hungry Mom and Angry Small Boy head into Panda Express. Angry Small Boy wants everything in the case. Now. Never mind that he would never eat 90 percent of it. He is putting on an excellent performance of neglected and starving baby who might eat his own arm at any second. I know he is not starving. He had half of a peanut butter sandwich at 4:00 and crackers in the store and (sorry, Vons, I owe you) as many grapes as he could pick out in the shopping cart when I wasn't looking. I am only buying rice. The worker feels sorry for him and hates me. She wants to give something, ANYTHING to my obviously starving boy. I find myself wanting to explain that the rice is just part of dinner and that I do really truly feed him repeatedly throughout the day. I doubt she will believe me though so I just pay for my rice and leave as quickly as I can.

I walked in the door at 6:07 and had dinner on the table at 6:34. Not bad, but guess what? The next night, I am in the same boat with no plan and no ingredients for dinner. ARGH!

Beginning today, I'll post a Weekly Menu for the upcoming week. The menu will include 5 dinners with side dishes as well as a completely organized and ready to go shopping list.  You'll save time and money and help keep our grocery stores free of hungry moms and angry children.

This Week's Menu

Italian Smothered Steak & Ravioli with Zucchini and Garlic Bread
BBQ Chicken Pizza and Salad
Taco Soup
Orange Teriyaki Salmon, Sesame Green Beans & Rice
Italian Sausage & Rigatoni with Fresh Spinach

For your print friendly Meal Preparation Guide and Shopping list, click here!

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