Sunday, October 2, 2011

Meal Planning at our House

This weekend, we had a very nice ladies' conference at our church on Hospitality. Ladies shared tips on hosting parties, cooking for guests, encouraging others, and much more. One thing that really struck me at the conference was the statement that "hospitality begins at home." As a wife and mother, one of the most important ways I can show hospitality is by providing a warm, safe haven at home for my family, by keeping the house in right order and providing tasty, healthy meals.

After 25 years of cooking for my family, I've got it down to a system. I have made up a "meal planning chart" that lists more than 50 entrĂ©es in a spreadsheet format. I pass it around to the family and have everyone grade each meal from 1 (nah) to 5 (YEAH!). Then I look over the list and plan on making the meals with the highest ratings for meals in the next week or two. I try to do my meal planning on Sunday, when the grocery store ads are in the paper, so I can see if items I need that week are on sale anywhere.

So, I figured I'd share my list of nearly 60 possible entrĂ©es for dinner, and give you a little help with your own meal planning.

Baked Chicken
Baked Ham
 Baked Pork Chops
 BBQ Beef Sandwiches
 BBQ Chicken
 BBQ Pork Chops
 Bean Burritos
 Beef & Broccoli
 Beef Stew
 Beef Stroganoff
 Chicken Fajita Boboli
 Chicken Finger Subs
 Chicken Parmesan Subs
 Chicken Pot Pie
 Chicken Teriyaki
 Chicken Teriyaki Subs
 Chili in Bread Bowls
 Corned Beef & Cabbage
 Creamy Seafood Linguine
 Fruity Chili Pork Chops
 Grilled Chicken Salad
 Ham/Leek Scalloped Potatoes
 Mushroom Turkey Burgers
 Honey Mustard Turkey Meatballs
  Italian Sausage Subs
 Lamb Burgers
 Lamb Chops
 Linguine with Red Clam Sauce
 Meatball Bombers
Pork Chops with Sauerkraut
 Pork Roast
 Roast Beef /mashed potatoes
 Salmon Patties
 Sausage & Bean Soup
 Sloppy Joes
 Sticky Chicken
 Stuffed Peppers
 Stuffed Pork Chops
 Swedish Meatballs
 Sweet & Sour Turkey Meatballs
 Taco Salad
 Taco Pizza
 Taco-Filled Pasta Shells

Spaghetti & Meatballs isn't on the list because it's my default meal for Wednesday nights - quick & easy, so we can get to church on time for Wednesday night services. I also make fish every Friday, but I never know what I'm making until I get to the seafood counter and see what they have.

My family's top picks this week? Baked chicken, Chicken Pot Pie, Gyros, Meatloaf, Spiedies, Steak (steak always gets high marks), Stuffed Pork Chops, Taco Pizza and Turkey. I'll have to see if any stores have steak or turkey breast on sale. Italian Sausage Subs and Meatball bombers also got some pretty high marks, so they can be my "Plan B." Maybe I'll even try something new this week. When I was down in Texas at the Frito-Lay test kitchen, Chef Stephen mentioned a family recipe for Lebanese lamb kebabs, where ground lamb is seasoned and packed onto skewers to grill. Sounds delicious! Now I just need to find a recipe!

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