If your family cooks day-of-the-week menus, what are your categories? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 08-12-2012, 12:34 AM - Thread Starter
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I was just inspired by Simplicity Parenting to try "Monday is rice bowl" menu planning, but am having a hard time pinning down what categories would work for our family. I'm hoping that having a routine will simplify planning and make it automatic (with flexibility for seasonal cooking, etc.). But--would I divide by protein? By cooking method? By origin of food tradition? Some things I've come up with:


rice bowl (rice plus protein plus lots of veggies all set out for each person to assemble)

pasta (varies)

salad/soup/sandwich (often BLT in summer, or cold salad, and soup with bread in winter; I think this feels workable)


slow cooker/braise

Friday night supper (often chicken)

Sunday night supper (trying to do this with family, so depends on who is coming)


It seems a little heavy on wheat, and I'm not sure where to put something like rice and fish. Or what if the weather is crappy and I don't want to grill? Or we want to make sushi? I am probably making this more complicated than it needs to be, and I do plan to implement this gently and without fanfare, letting the rest of the family kind of discover that we are moving toward a reliable pattern...


... but I would also love to see what categories other folks use. Thanks in advance!



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#2 of 16 Old 08-12-2012, 05:07 AM
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I usually try to alternate , like rotating potatoes , pasta , rice ( or other grains ) and one sweet dinner .

Also , at least one meat-free meal per week minimum , but I am working on doing more of those , for health and economic reasons , also once a week , we try to have some form of fish or sea food 

I like ethnic cooking , I love turkish and oriental food , and they have a lot of lovely , even meat-free veggie dishes , that work perfect as main courses 

I usually try to put variety in the proteins we use , for example , if we have a vegetarian pasta bake with cheese and veggies , I will make for example meat loaf the next day .

My kids love pancakes , so I will make those as dinner sometimes as well , especially since the combo dairy and grain is a very  good protein combination and if served with fresh fruit or even veggies , very healthy 

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#3 of 16 Old 08-12-2012, 08:25 AM
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We have Soup, Indian/Mexican, Leftovers, Breakfast/Snack.

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#4 of 16 Old 08-12-2012, 10:48 AM
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I've been trying to get our little group on board with this kind of meal planning as well.  I feel like we get into "ruts" without forced variety. 


I'm working on the following now (previous versions haven't worked well):


Sunday Supper

Some kind of roast, frequently chicken, with a couple of sides like new potatoes and veggies.


Meatless Monday

No meat.  Still working on collection recipes for this.


Fish Friday

We're both pretty used to this anyway, so why not?  It's a good way to work in more fish.


Fat-ter day Saturday

I either make something disgusting or we order something disgusting.



I need one more day of cooking, I find, and I was thinking of trying out:  "Thouper Thursdays" where we have either soup or salad.  Or maybe "Travel Tuesdays" where I make something inspired by far-away places.  I'm leaning towards soup, and my husband is leaning toward the travel theme.  Because he doesn't have to plan it, hunt down the ingredients and then cook it all, no, no, he just has to enjoy it. 

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#5 of 16 Old 08-18-2012, 11:43 AM
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I never officially had certain days before, but found I often made the same types of food on the same days, so this school year I'm including them in my meal planning. My dh does not get home from work until 7 pm during the school year, so the kids eat in the 5 o'clock hour and I sometimes eat with them and sometimes wait for dh.


Crock Pot Monday: either a stew, chili, hearty pasta sauce like cacciatore, stroganoff, or a main entree like meatloaf in the CP. We have gymnastics until 4:30 on Mondays so dinner needs to be almost ready when we get home


Taco Tuesday: Mexican type foods, so tacos, tostadas, enchiladas, etc


Waffle Wednesday: Kids eat breakfast for dinner, which they love, and I make something separate for dh and I that we enjoy, usually a spicy curry type dish


Tired Thursday (already tired from the busy week but still more to go): something easy like sandwiches or burgers/sweet potato fries/salad or a basic protein/grain or potato/vegetable meal


Friday Flicks: early dinner of homemade pizza, then movie night with popcorn (sometimes dh and I have pizza too, sometimes we get take out after the kids go to bed)


Usually one day of the weekend is something easier where dh grills (we grill year round) and the other is a nicer, more time intensive meal that I make.


Some weeks I switch it around but it's amazing how many weeks I fall into this pattern without event thinking about it.

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#6 of 16 Old 08-23-2012, 05:16 AM
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Nothing official, but we eat Indian/curry, Mexican/rice & bean bowls, pasta, and Asian (lettuce wraps, Korean dishes)/stir-fry every week. Most weeks in the winter a fifth day is pizza bread.

Mom "D" to DD1 "Z" (15) and DD2 "I" (12) DH "M"

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#7 of 16 Old 08-28-2012, 01:15 PM
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I got this off YouTube from another gluten free mom... It has been working really well for us and is kind of super fun for my four year old..


Meaty Monday

Taco Tuesday

Chicken/Veg Wednesday

Italian Thursday

Fishy Friday(any kind of seafood)

Soupy Saturday

Sunnyside up Sunday(breakfast foods)


It has worked great and we alternate every two weeks..Makes shopping so much easier:))

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#8 of 16 Old 09-19-2012, 02:26 PM
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We do:

- American Sunday (this is obviously the most open category - could be breakfast-for-dinner, could be roast chicken with all the fixins)

- Mexican Monday

- Pizza or Pasta Tuesday

- Beans or Eggs Wednesday

- Rice Thursday

- Fish Friday

- Soup Saturday


The kitchen chalkboard menu currently reads:

Sunday - Waffles & Breakfast sides

Monday - Tiny Tacos (this is a kind of taco fixins buffet to serve yourself and pile on little round tortilla chips)

Tuesday - Lasagna

Wednesday - Beanie-Weenies, veggies, garlic bread

Thursday - Chicken Coconut Curry

Friday - Salmon Burgers, home fries, corn

Saturday - Coconut-red lentil-squash soup & Fresh Bread


As for the Simplicity Parenting book, I think it really helps us to have the menu chalkboard.  Everyone can easily see what's ahead for that night or for the full week.  Also, since it's written in large lettering, in plain site, it's easy for me to give it some thought during the day if some things need to be prepared in advance.  HTH!

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#9 of 16 Old 09-23-2012, 06:32 PM
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I tried it but it never stuck because I generally cook what sounds good at that moment (Ive actually stopped in the middle of making dinner and made something different because it sounded better!) When I tried this I did:

Mexican Monday (taco salads, tacos, enchilidas, etc)

Pasta Tuesday (Spaghetti, mac and cheese, lasagna, etc)

Crock Pot Wednesday (quick crock pot meals because Wednesdays are always busy)

Quick Thursdays (a meal that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare)

Daddy's Pick Fridays (pizza, grill, etc something hubby chooses)

Leftover Saturdays

Nice Meal Sundays (usually something like a roast, mashed potatoes and fresh salad)

~Heather~ Mama to Miss E (1/07), Miss A (11/08), Mr.T (2/11) and Miss A (10/12) Expecting our newest blessing sometime late Sept/early Oct.. Wife to my Marine since 11/2005
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#10 of 16 Old 09-24-2012, 01:27 PM
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I'm so stoked for this thread! Love reading everyone's ideas.

My friend does "personal picks" one day of the week, let's just say Sundays. So every Sunday you would let one family member pick their choice of dinner. It will rotate and mom and Dad must join to! It helps if that person gives you at least a couple days notice to prepare, ideally a week though.

And I love the write it on a erasable board on the fridge idea too. I think I might do that. That way everyone stays informed and mama doesn't forget! smile.gif

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#11 of 16 Old 10-16-2012, 11:50 PM
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I haven't been able to try this yet but have really been wanting to! I've kinda started making a plan for it and am hoping to be able to start it next week. I don't have assigned days just yet, but these are my ideas for the different days:


Salad or Soup and Sandwich

Rice Meal or Pasta Dish

Slow Cooker Meal

Breakfast (my children LOVE having breakfast for dinner! lol!)

Mexican or Chinese



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#12 of 16 Old 10-18-2012, 08:32 PM
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Monday is a meat dayc
Tuesday is tostada day (my kids love meatless, black bean tostadas)
Wednesday is poultry
Thursday is our busiest day, so it's leftovers
Friday is supreme mashed potatoes (again loved by the kids - mashed, skin-on taters with bacon, chicken/turkey, cheese, veggies (broccoli and green beans go well), in whatever combination we have/want, and gravy made from stock)
Weekends are big meal days and cooking days. Since DH works evenings, weekends are saved for bigger, better meals and any weekly prep work.

Check out my radio blog, Pagan Musings, and my writing (as Selina Wolfcat & Sarah Buhrman).
I'm a head-covering witchy mama to DS ('06) and DD ('10) with DH, Stormie, a Heathen breadwinning daddy.
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#13 of 16 Old 10-19-2012, 01:51 AM
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We don't do it every day - personally, I'd find it too limiting. But we have a few "schedule" days.


Sunday night is roast chicken. Our friend/ex-flatmate comes over and we watch a TV show together.


Monday lunchtime, we make a platter with the leftover roast chicken and whatever else we have on hand - carrot sticks, cheese cubes, flatbread, olives, salami, boiled eggs etc. Doesn't always happen, because sometimes the whole chicken gets eaten! Then DH pops the carcass in the crockpot to make chicken stock.


On Tuesday night we have our singing group over, and we eat afterwards (ie very late). So we have soup and bread, because it's make-ahead and quick to reheat. The soup uses up the chicken stock from Sunday's chicken.


I've also been trying to have beans or something similarly meat-free at least once a week, for frugality reasons; but that's not tied to a specific day.

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#14 of 16 Old 10-20-2012, 09:57 AM
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I like to make my food stretch as much as possible, so often my meals fall over into meals later in the week, but not always as "leftovers."  For example, we do "meatless mondays" and often have rice and veggies leftover from this that I keep in the fridge.  The next day I usually make something in the crock pot like a roast or whole chicken with potatoes and carrots.  I save the stock and a lot of the leftover meat (there is usually quite a bit).  On Wed some of the meat gets shredded and made into sandwich meat (maybe add BBQ or just leave as roast/chicken) that we usually have with a salad.  Then whatever is left from the roast gets saved with the veggies from Monday, and the leftovers from Wednesday.  Thursday I make soup in the crock pot with all the leftovers from the week.  You can season it to be whatever kind of soup you want - chowder, chili, tortilla soup, beef/chicken veggie soup, etc.  I often have either a loaf of homemade bread for soup day or go to the discount bread rack at the store and get one for around $1.  The soup usually lasts the rest of the week, and we eat out once per week.

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#15 of 16 Old 01-03-2013, 08:10 AM
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I absolutely love this thread! I've been thinking about doing this for a while. 2 of my 4 kids are very picky eaters and one of those 2 is actually dipping underweight. They love having a hand in meal planning and I think they would really like this. I definitely want to implement a meatless day into our week, but I need to think of ideas for those!

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#16 of 16 Old 01-04-2013, 06:27 PM
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Check out my radio blog, Pagan Musings, and my writing (as Selina Wolfcat & Sarah Buhrman).
I'm a head-covering witchy mama to DS ('06) and DD ('10) with DH, Stormie, a Heathen breadwinning daddy.
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