I can feel the tension in the blog-o-sphere as
Here's the answer: leftovers. And I'm darn proud of them. I'm proud because they are leftover from a meal I planned (insert many huzzahs, cheers and congratulations here, or, shake your head over my pathetic compliment-fishing for doing something I should already be good at.)
I read over the comments I got on my original schmeal planning post and considered every single one. All the suggestions were great -- I just needed to figure out which would work best for me (in other words, "What will I actually do?")
Saving Dinner looks great. I still plan to investigate it a bit more. Liz's suggestions about Rachael Ray's Express Lane Meals sound yummy, but would involve more grocery stops than I want to make. Kristina and Maureen's suggestions come closest to the way I used to meal-plan. I decided it would be best to return to my tried and true method of checking sale fliers, and planning roughly a week at a time, with our schedule in mind (Home all day? Time to teach the girls to cook? Great. Soccer night? Good for leftovers. You know the drill.)
I went through my recipe box (which was a mess) and threw out lots of things that have been in there for years (but which I've never made.) I made a master list of meals, with headings such as chicken, beef, meatless, sandwiches, soups, casseroles, etc. You see, part of my problem is that I have very little creativity when it comes to food. I could fix the same five meals every week, and be perfectly satisfied to eat them, as long as there's chocolate for dessert. My family, however, gets a little tired of the food ruts I fall into. So, the master list is great for jogging my memory: "Oh, yeah! Atticus loves those seafood pasta roll-up things. I haven't made them for ages because I forgot about them. Maybe he'd like those, instead of fried rice for the 17th time this month. Me? Love the fried rice. Where are the M&Ms?"
The next step, if I get truly organized, will be to prepare a list of ingredients for each meal on the master list, so that shopping will be even easier.
Sigh. I knew what to do, didn't I? I just had to do it. For me, getting dinner on the table really boils down to a matter of the will. I have to will myself to be organized, disciplined and on top of things. I have to keep willing dinner to happen.
Hmmm. There's a cookbook title: Willing Dinner. I'll get back to you when I find a publisher.