Coming up with menu plans week after week that please everyone was making me fully understand the phrase, “I would rather stick a needle in my eye!”
There’s also something about 5 o’ clock that triggers everyone’s internal alarm clock (at least in my house) to immediately start screaming, yelling, or whining about EVERYTHING! To make matters worse, when I try to hide in my closet with a bag of KitKats and the I-Pad, the kids hunt me down, scream that their hungry and hold me hostage until they finished off my secret stash!
If you already know what’s for dinner every night and have a system that works for you, GREAT! (Gold star for you!) For the rest of us, you might want to check this out! I’m finally getting dinner made (before the screaming starts), and no one is asking me the dreaded question, “What’s for Dinner?”
I went ahead and coordinated the meal plan to go along with my food storage to help me rotate it, but you can suit it to fit your individual needs (or for the screamers in your home).
MEAL PLANNING SYSTEM:
First thing, you need to figure out what YOU like to eat!
I have 10 different breakfast meals that I multiplied by 40. It’s a little more than a years worth of breakfasts, but I’m all about making the math as EASY as possible!
- 10 Breakfast x 40 = 400 Breakfast Meals for the Year.
If you really were living off your food storage, you probably aren’t going to be making 3 large hot meals everyday. You will be lucky if you can get one done!
For lunch I made sure to have enough ingredients to make bread at least once a day. You can use the bread for pb&j sandwiches, rolls with leftover meat, toast, or whatever else your imagination can come up with.
I would also rather die than not have dessert, so I made sure to add about 3 deserts a week! It’s a good idea to have some comfort foods and snacks in your food storage too! Plus, desserts count as a meal right?
- 1 loaf of Bread x 365 = 365 Loafs of Bread
- 15 Desserts x 10 = 150 Desserts
I have 4 different categories for my meals:
- Soup, Salad, & Appetizer Meals
- Beans & Mexican Meals
- Rice & Chicken Meals
- Pasta & Italian Meals
9 Meals of Each Category x 4 = 36 Different Dinners
36 Dinners x 10 = 360 Dinners
I try to make at least 2 meals out of my food storage a week so my food storage will be rotated every 3 years. All of the ingredients I store have a minimum 3 year shelf-life, most have much more, and so rotating the food this way ensures that hopefully nothing will go bad.
People always seem to wince and ask me if I really eat my food storage, and the answer is “YES!” This isn’t hard to do, because I LOVE every meal that I store! Food storage doesn’t mean just loading up on wheat and beans, it means learning to store and be efficient with what YOU enjoy eating!
Sides (Fruits & Veggies):
I’m impressed with all the people who tell me they only eat fruit and vegetables, and therefore can’t do food storage. Well, here are a few suggestions for you self-controlled health nuts (yes, I’m secretly jealous of you):
- LEARN TO COOK WITH BASICS – I would still highly recommend learning to cook with wheat, beans, or other staples that last 25 plus years and put them into your food storage. You don’t have to eat them on a daily basis (even though they are very healthy for you), but you at least have them if you need them.
- BECOME A CANNING NUT – Learn to can all the Fruits and Vegetables you eat! When making your Food Storage plan, you can also factor sides of green beans, peaches, or other favorites.
- TRY OUT FREEZE-DRIED FOODS – A great option is trying out the many Freeze-Dried Foods that are now available! Freeze-Dried Foods keep most of their original nutritional value and store for over 25 years! Check them out HERE and order some small Pantry Cans to sample!
- GARDEN – You may want to consider eventually having some type of garden. It can be a matter of just having a few containers and sprouts, or transforming your entire backyard. This skill is crucial if you want to sustain your lettuce eating habits. Another option is to buy a can of SEEDS. They will keep for over 20 years in the freezer, so if you don’t have time to garden now, you will at least have seeds if you need them.
MEAL PLANNING BOARD:
Now the fun part! Once you have your meals figured out, it’s time to put everything together. Meal planning for the entire month only takes about 5 minutes now, and then I never have to think about food again, unless I’m eating it :)
Feel free to steal this idea (that I stole from BH&G), or come up with your own!
Gather Your Supplies:
- Magnetic Board – I got mine at Office Depot
- Calendar – I found one at Target
- Magnetic Paper – You can purchase some at Hobby Lobby
- Open – Menu Board Labels, or create your own if you know how to do fancy stuff like that (Send me a copy if you do :)
- Label with the meals from your food storage plan!
- Print off onto Magnetic Paper!
- Cut them Out!
Put it All Together:
- Put the tags you cut-out onto the Magnetic Board under the appropriate Category.
- Write in the Calendar Dates & Month.
- Put the labeled magnets on the day you want that meal.
- You aren’t restricted to just Food Storage meals! Fill in the calendar with when you plan to go out, want to try a new recipe, or days everyone must fend for themselves!
- Put it in a place that is easily accessible, like next to the pantry!
- Before I go to bed I try to glance at it so if I need to soak beans or get anything while I’m out the next day I can.
- My dream is to prep meals the night before, or the morning of. Waiting until 5 o’clock is just asking for trouble ;)
Rotation is Key!!! Like everything, getting something organized is a lot of work, but keeping it that way is the true challenge.
***Everytime I make a meal I take the corresponding magnet and put it into a pocket in my Food Storage Recipe Book. Once I have prepared each of my meals, I then take all the magnets out of the pocket and put them back onto the magnet board to start over. This way I make sure I’m rotating all the food I have stored and not making one meal 10 times, before I make another meal once!***
Food Storage Recipe Book:
I went ahead and made a separate little binder (I went with a cute one from Hallmark), that ONLY has my Food Storage Recipes and References in it. That way it’s easy to know what I have ingredients for in my food storage and for last-minute meal ideas.
Each year I evaluate my meals so I can change out any that we don’t like, or add new ones that I fell in Love with :)
***Remember you can print off these super-cute
Recipe Cards HERE***
This really has taken the stress out of meal time for me, and I hope it does the same for you. So take those needles out of your eyes and save them for when you have to clean poop and marker off the walls!