Monday, September 6, 2010

Meal In Minutes Monday

Hello everyone! Tara here with some tips on how to plan a monthly menu. I know what you are thinking.....a whole month! Yes, it is true. You can do this. I PROMISE. I started planning my menu about 5 years ago when I became a stay at home mom. One, to save money and two, because I got tired of the arguments each night over what was for dinner! So, are you ready to learn?

Here are the steps that I do to make this happen.....

1. Purchase a calendar, print a calendar from your computer or do some fancy work on a calendar with your scrapbooking skills!

2. Go to other family members to get a list of what they would like to see on the menu. Even my 5 year old helps with this. I do this step because one person's favorite will not be another person's favorite. We all take turns eating meals that we don't "love" but it is fair because your turn is just a day or so away. Make sense? Don't forget to add your favorites to the list also!

3. Fill in squares on your calendar of the suggested meals.

4. This is the step that I LOVE. For the remaining empty squares go hunting for new recipes!!! This is a great way to add more meals to the family favorites! I dig through my recipe books or visit websites for this. Sometimes I just send out a few emails to ladies that I know have some skills in the kitchen to help with ideas! A few websites that I love to visit are All Recipes, My Recipes, Food Network and Tasty Kitchen.

5. Sit back and enjoy looking at a menu full of dinner plans! It is such a great feeling!!! Seriously....sit back and feel the sense of accomplishment! :)

6. I make a grocery list for two weeks at a time. I go through the pantry and refrigerator to see what I have on hand first. Then I start going through each recipe for the next couple of weeks to make sure that I have everything written down.

7. Go grocery shopping with your list and see how much easier it is to shop! Gone are the days of standing in front of the meat section wondering what you could make with that chicken!

I hope this helps you get back your joy of cooking without evening battles of "what's for dinner". This did take me a couple of months to get use to but I have LOVED having this part of my life organized!

Now for reading through all of that, you get a quick and easy recipe to try! (You could enter this in one of those empty squares that is on your calendar!)

Take a look at this.......

Look yummy????? Well, it is! It has quickly become a family favorite. Yep, EVERYONE loves this one and there is no arguments this night. :) We are always looking for a new way to make chicken, right? Well, here you go!

Cinnamon Chicken Rub ~ 2 tbsp kosher salt, 1 tbsp ground pepper and 1 tbsp ground cinnamon. Mix all the ingredients together. Rub on chicken (I do it on thighs and legs because my family likes dark meat). In skillet, coat the bottom with olive oil and heat up on a medium heat. Place chicken in skillet and brown on each side for about 5 minutes each. Lower heat and cover. Let the chicken "stew" until it is done. (depends on size of chicken but it can take 10-20 minutes) This makes for a very tender, juicy and yummy piece of chicken! Just add a couple of sides and you have a great meal!

So what are you waiting for????? Go plan your September menu now and enjoy the benefits of having a plan. You will be the envy of all your friends. :)


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