Friday, October 2, 2009

6 Week Rotating Meal Plan - Including Special Nights

To catch up with the other posts is this series click HERE.

You should have your 6 Week Meal Plan pretty well filled in with the basics after completing our last step. NOW, the fun part!

Meal time affords so many opportunities to enjoy each other and our food! There are several simple ways to really feel like meal time is special for you and your family. Incorporating one or all of these ideas keeps things fresh and fun.

1. Date Night - This can be done several ways depending on your budget and season of life. If you are able, schedule this meal to be something quick and easy for the kids, or a meal they can make themselves and GO OUT WITH YOUR HUBBY! If dinner out isn't in the budget, try eating something smaller at home and heading out for dessert and coffee. In our current season of life, babysitting and budget wise, we are not able to go out - at all. That's OK! It doesn't mean we don't want special time together. One idea is to feed the kids early and then have a nicer meal, just the two of us, after the kids go to bed. If your kids are little, put them to bed slightly early. If your children are older, let them stay up together in a bedroom playing games or some other activity they can enjoy together.

2. Family Member Favorite Night - Basically, just what it sounds like. Choose one night a week, or every other week, or once every 6 weeks to be family member favorite night. You can have one set night (every Tuesday, for example) and then rotate the family member who chooses the meal, or you can assign each family member a specific night during the 6 week plan. This way, everyone feels like they have some say, and no one's favorite meal gets left out.

3. Special/Theme Night - Every Saturday at out house is Pizza and Movie Night. We all look forward to that time together every week. Once or twice during my 6 week plan I will have a Popcorn and Game Night. You could have a day where you make several different appetizers instead of one main course. You could have a night celebrating a certain style of cooking or ethnic foods. The options here are really endless - set your creativity loose!

4. Husband Cooks Night - Ah - don't we all wish we had a regular one of these!! My husband is a self-admitted non-cook. Jason making dinner? Everyone knows it is grilled cheese or quesadillas. And you know what? FINE BY ME. If he is willing to do the work - I will eat it and be very happy. This is a nice way to give yourself a little break.

5. Kids Cook Night - Well, certainly not as relaxing as the previous option, but very important. All of our kids need to have this skill, and we should be diligent to teach them.

6. Hospitality Night - This is one of my favorites. You can plan to invite a guest or guests to your house OR you can cook double and deliver a meal to a family who could use the blessing. And, who couldn't use a blessing like that?!

7. New Recipe Night - This is an important one for those of us who love to experiment and try/create new recipes on a regular basis. There is no need to feel boxed in by your meal plan! Put a "New Recipe Night" in as often as you wish. I tend to clip and save recipes that I want to try and rarely try them because it is so much easier to make the tried-and-true. If I plan ahead, it happens.

8. Eating Out - I put this one last because I don't want those of us who can't afford it to feel like we are being left out of all the fun! With 7 other great options listed before this one, I hope it is clear that going out to eat is not necessary to make meal time special. BUT - if your budget allows it, don't forget to add this to your meal plan. If you go out to eat every Sunday evening, then write that in. Also, include nights of take out (Thai, Chinese, pizza) if that is what you like!

This post should give you the extra creative nudge to complete your personal 6 Week Rotating Meal Plan. SO - finish it up, and most important of all -


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