Almost two weeks ago while we were eating lunch together I offered up a family meal challenge. My challenge was for our family to eat meals prepared at home for the week. We did ok the first week and I decided that we should try this for another week. We had a very busy weekend and Steve had dinner with co-workers already scheduled for Monday night so I sat down Monday and planned out the rest of the week. Isn't there a saying that says, "A failure to plan is a plan to fail"? I came up with a menu for the week and we will see how the week finishes out. When I originally wrote out this week's menu I was scheduled to work Saturday, but I got a phone call Tuesday night saying that my last minute request for Saturday off had been approved. I had offered to help out with a different shift if they needed me to in exchange for Saturday off. I was asked to work Thursday night. So what to do with my menu plan? In the words of Tim Gunn from Project Runway, "make it work." So, here is my plan for the week and a report on how we have done so far.
Monday - The girls and I enjoyed frozen pizza - of course the girls loved it and it was easy enough to fix and clean-up.
Tuesday - Boneless pork chops, homemade mac & cheese, green beans - I found a new recipe for the pork chops, it was really easy to fix and went over well with everyone. I had intended to make the mac & cheese in the crock pot. (I forgot to make it before we left to go to Williamsburg for a really quick trip down and back to pick up my engagement ring and wedding band from the jeweler who sold it to Steve almost 9 years ago. We had changed our home owners insurance and they needed a current appraisal.) I ended up making the mac & cheese in the oven, and realized when I was making it that I didn't have any low-fat milk, only whole milk. So, it was really, really yummy mac & cheese. Everyone enjoyed the meal although because of my trip that afternoon I started it later and we didn't get to eat until after 7. Thankfully the girls had had a snack in the car and Steve grabbed a snack when he got home so I didn't have anyone meltdown because of the delay.
Wednesday - Mexican Freezer night - I wanted something that would be quick and easy before we headed out for church. We had frozen bean burritos, chicken tornados, refried beans, and a Lean Cuisine Santa Fe Rice and Beans for a side dish. The biggest challenge was keeping everything warm because I cooked all of it (except for the refried beans) in the microwave. I even used some of my free Chinet plates instead of "real plates" so that clean-up would be easier. It went over ok, but frozen mexican food isn't nearly as good as fresh. :)
Thursday - Chili and baked potatoes. I was thinking about making some garlic cheese biscuits, but I think I am going to just make-up the chili in the crock-pot and leave the potatoes ready for Steve to bake while I am at work.
Friday - Breakfast for dinner. Eggs, bacon, hash browns, and pancakes or waffles.
Saturday - Grilled Cheese with Ham and Tomato Soup. I originally planned this for an easy after work meal, but they are calling for 4-8 inches of snow for us this weekend so it will hopefully be a great snowy night meal.
I feel like this week has been a little bit easier to stick with my plan and not wish I could order pizza or ask Steve to pick-up something on his way home. I am hoping that after a few more weeks of our family meal challenge menu planning and preparing more meals at home will become second nature to me.
How about you? Have any of you tried to eat more meals at home? Have you found you are eating healthier foods by preparing your own meals? Do you have a favorite go-to meal you fix when your original plan doesn't work out?