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Old 10-05-2006, 12:17 PM   #1
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Managing Meals

It seems that I am being, shoe horned into managing daily meals at my house. And I married a woman who could cook, just to escape this, but, Life never turns out how you thought it would.

Now for those of you who cook dinner and breakfast every day, lets say you wanted to go through a month and never cook the same dinner twice. Is there a software that will organize it or is it best to just use a month at a glance calender. I am trying to sort this so that I am doing a chicken, a lamb, a fish and a beef dinner every week, but a different one every week of the month. I also want to do a different culture's meal, I dont know if it will be by week or interspersing them. A all asian week, italian week, ... or asian chicken one day, lasgna, the next...

How do you handle not being predictable?

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Old 10-05-2006, 12:30 PM   #2
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I am responsible for the dinners at home. You can get into a rut if you're not careful.

I don't think you need specific software to manage. As you said, a simple calendar will do the trick.

Make a list of your tried and true recipes and identify how many days of the month they will cover. Then make a list of how many recipes of each type you need (3 lamb, 2 chicken, etc). Then go after those recipes.

Search ethnic sites. There are Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese sites. There are Italian and French sites. There are Southwestern, Mexican, Louisiana sites. They will all have recipes for you to choose from. Then there are the general sites such as Epicurious, and Food Network. There are cookbooks in your own library and in the local public library.

Finally, there are folks here who will happily share their recipes in all categories, if you ask nicely.

Good luck. I find it fun as well as a challenge to come up with new recipes all the time. The real difficulty is the limits imposed by your spouse's tastes and limitations.
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Old 10-05-2006, 12:33 PM   #3
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You must be a very organized person! I would love to help...but our meal planning is:

1. open the refrigerator door
2. Ok...we have....so that's what we'll have

or

1. I'm hungry for...
2. Go to the store and get what I need

Best of luck on your adventure!
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Old 10-05-2006, 12:44 PM   #4
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I have a friend who plans every item of every meal. She laughs at me because when she asks what we are having for dinner I tell her whatever falls out of the freezer when I open the door. Sometimes that is almost right. Since we are retired, dh gets his own breakfast almost every morning. About once a week I make a cooked breakfast and after church on Sunday he will sometimes make omelets. I love the way we eat now - no pressure. I realize others still have to make menus, but I enjoy cooking by the seat of the pants.
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Old 10-05-2006, 01:56 PM   #5
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Way back when I had to be organized, I would make a month of menus. I tried many new recipes with this method.

Each week I had:
Soup
Beef
Chicken
Pork
Vegetarian
Fish
Leftover night

...and found lots of new recipes that the fam loved. We occasionally got into a rut with sides.
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Old 10-05-2006, 03:24 PM   #6
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I have cooked the same way for 38 yrs, no plan really- maybe a weekly one- but not always. I try to fix a favorite dish we all like or whatever Iam hungry for -" since Iam the only cook " ! Menu's may change a couple times a day -depending what I watch on Food Network - lol If someone mentions he is hungry for a certain dinner - I try to fix it.
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Old 10-05-2006, 06:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KAYLINDA
You must be a very organized person! I would love to help...but our meal planning is:

1. open the refrigerator door
2. Ok...we have....so that's what we'll have

or

1. I'm hungry for...
2. Go to the store and get what I need

Best of luck on your adventure!
Kay, I have been following your plan for quite some time now. Boring, but it does the job, alas.
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Old 10-05-2006, 07:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vilasman
It seems that I am being, shoe horned into managing daily meals at my house. And I married a woman who could cook, just to escape this, but, Life never turns out how you thought it would.

Now for those of you who cook dinner and breakfast every day, lets say you wanted to go through a month and never cook the same dinner twice. Is there a software that will organize it or is it best to just use a month at a glance calender. I am trying to sort this so that I am doing a chicken, a lamb, a fish and a beef dinner every week, but a different one every week of the month. I also want to do a different culture's meal, I dont know if it will be by week or interspersing them. A all asian week, italian week, ... or asian chicken one day, lasgna, the next...

How do you handle not being predictable?
Who is requesting that level of menu management? If it's you, and you expected that from her, that might be a clue as to why you're doing the cooking.
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Old 10-06-2006, 08:32 AM   #9
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It's not so much a thing of organization. First, DW wont eat the same thing more than 2-3 times and that habit has pretty much rubbed off on me. DW is a carb addict, but that can be curbed if she can get a well cooked meal. Well cooked meals take time and she usually dosent have a lot of time. If there are no well cooked fresh meals at home then fast food or hunger becomes the alternative and fast food is like free crack for a carb addict and, well she is my wife, she looks quite pathetic hungery and whining cause I wont cook, or I cook my kind of food which is essentially the atkins diet. So for the past week I have been trying the if you can't beat them join them experiment and I cooked 3 solid meals sunday, dinner monday, tuesday, wednesday, thursday was left overs and I am debating on dinner now for friday, and breakfest everyday. I want to see if it changes anything. So far she has said that the food was good and the camp has been pretty peaceful.
But if I am going to continue this, cause truth be told, I don't to much mind cooking, she's just better at it than me, the I want something different rule will kick, I dont like chicken, and she dosen't like lamb as much as I do and if I manage to get a crab right, I might get lucky :)
The other thing is, I like to experiment and try different reciepes. But you sorta have to track what worked, what didn't and even if you hit on something that did work, you dont want to repeat it to soon.
I buy cookbooks off the discount shelves of bookstores, almost compulsively and DW would complain you have all those cookbooks and you live to watch Alton, Paula and Ina, cook something!
I also compulsively cruise marhsalls and such places, for vinegars, oils and spices.
I also was the one who bought our whole kitchen aid collection, so it's sorta like there is a amatuer chef within me raging to get out or something.

The other thing is my wife is in the print advertising industry, and if you know anything about that bunch, whatever they put out has to be perfect. So they are anal and organized. My wife is the ring leader who makes sure everything gets done, which is one reason she has no time. So in a group of anal, organized people, she is the one who makes sure everyone else stays organized by being the most anal. And I guess that is rubbing off on me.
So it's a matter of tracking recipes so we dont eat the same thing twice in a given time period, making sure you have the ingredients for the next reciepe, making sure that stuff that has to be done ahead of time is done ahead of time and that you have a list of what you are low on for each store that you go to.

I am trying to make this flow cause I have things to do besides be harry homemaker. :)
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Old 10-06-2006, 11:06 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vilasman
...So it's a matter of tracking recipes so we don't eat the same thing twice in a given time period,

I think you're making it more complicated than it has to be. Start a list and add each day's meal to it.

making sure you have the ingredients for the next recipe,

When preparing to go grocery shopping, gather the recipes you are going to cook and make sure you buy the ingredients in adequate quantities for those recipes.

making sure that stuff that has to be done ahead of time is done ahead of time

Some planning is required. Read a recipe and calculate the times backwards. Dinner at 7:00, cooking time 1 hour - must go into the oven by 5:45 (resting time 15 minutes), prep time 30 minutes, mise en place, 15 minutes = start dinner at 5:00 PM.

and that you have a list of what you are low on for each store that you go to.

See above

I am trying to make this flow cause I have things to do besides be harry homemaker. :)

Once you get your thought processes wrapped around the process, it will flow automatically, Getting started is the hardest part. Spend some time planning the process and you'll make life easier for yourself.
I've inserted my responses into your post.
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