Back in January, I really didn't think I would make it all year with the meal-planning -- but I figured even a little planning was better than none, so it was worth a try.
Turns out, I did make it -- every single week! Excuse me while I pat myself on the back for a moment.
Of course, we're still eating frozen pizza (4 nights), frozen skillet meals (3 nights) and hot dogs (2 nights), but we're doing it less frequently and more intentionally. And the kids are still eating too many chicken nuggets, grilled cheese sandwiches and bowls of Easy Mac -- but I still trust that one day they'll learn to appreciate my cooking.
So for the final 12 weeks of 2009, we were out of town four nights, had dinner in a restaurant eight nights (as a family or for date night), ate at a party or a friends' house six nights (hooray for holidays) and got dinner from our meal-trade five nights. Of the remaining dinners, here's a sampling of what we had during Q4:
- 24 different dinners made at home
- 22 nights of leftovers (a.k.a. good planning and lots of turkey)
- 5 dishes involving chicken in various formats (crockpot, pasta, enchiladas)
- 5 nights of homemade chowders and chili
- 3 nights of breakfast
- 2 nights of holiday meals
- and assorted other dinners
Although I never turned into Julie & Julia through this process and I'm certainly no gourmet cook, it was worth every minute spent planning and every minute not wasted fretting over what to have for dinner. Now I might just have to reward myself with a sassy new apron to carry on this great idea in 2010.
Note: I found the adorable apron in the photo on an Etsy shop -- there were too many cute fabrics to choose from. I don't know anyone at GreatGoods (she's in Idaho -- who knew) and they haven't sent me anything (yet) in exchange for this post, but you should check out her site.