I've switched my system slightly from before. I wrote a post about my old meal planning system here. This system worked perfectly when I was at an office for most of the day - I needed something that was held in the cloud, rather than a concrete place, so that I could access it from anywhere (work or home or the grocery store). I used this system for over two years, and actually, used it during the beginning stages of having a newborn when it was often easier to look things up on my phone (while breastfeeding, etc) than write things out. When we had a new little baby, I could also enter into the calendar in the meal space if someone was bringing a meal and what they would be bringing (and when they would be bringing it), which was really helpful to keep that space clear.
But I find that I have naturally switched my planning since working from home and being on the go so much. I always have my planner with my and I like having the meals there. I also still have my whole calendar online; there's something about having everything twice (once online and once written) that helps keep me extra organized. So now my menu planning is mostly done during times where I'm mostly occupied but have spare brain cells that need focusing to help keep me organized (watching TV or a movie, sitting in a meeting or church, etc). I've learned with my ADD that I focus more if I can keep a small portion of my brain active doing something.
I keep a list of meals I like making or want to try (similar to my system before) written on flags on the front inside of my planner. Then I look at what I need on a particular day (ie. we have guests coming over who don't eat red meat and I'll have a bit of time to make something nice - so I'll pick a nicer meal that's more involved and is a chicken or fish dish, or we have meetings that evening and I'm working most of the day, so I'll do an easy crockpot meal) and place a meal flag on that day. It's simple, takes less than 5 minutes and I have the whole week planned. Because we have a house full of students, I'll often write out the list on a little meal planner I found at a cute little stationary store, and put that up on the fridge. It lists who will be home and who will be out, as well as what we'll eat.
It's a simpler and more complicated system, in different ways. But it's working for me, and so there you go. I'm excited to really get back to Menu Planning more though - you guys can be my accountability!
Menu Plan Monday with Laura at Org Junkie
Tonight we have a family coming over for dinner that we haven't spent any time with. Paul and I met the husband at our old street's block party - this family moved there a month after we moved out. We liked the husband right away, so we had invited them to come over once his wife and kid had joined him in Vancouver. It's always a little nerve wracking having a new family over (who knows how we'll click!) but also just exciting enough that I keep trying (so often it goes way better than expected and is just pure joy).
Tuesday: Indonesian Chicken with Peanut Sauce, Rice & Veggies
We have friends coming over for dinner - they are always happy to eat anything but are both Philipino (he's 1/4 and she's full) so I thought making rice for them was loving :) This is one of my favorite recipes and I'll be honest, I don't follow the recipe I linked to above - I use an Indonesian Satay Package for the chicken, and then a jar of peanut sauce (and I add more peanut butter to it). Easy and super tasty.
Wednesday: Thai Coconut Chicken Curry Soup (recipe from Paul's cousin Janice)
Janice brought this soup over a week after Avie was born. It was so amazingly tasty, and she said it was easy! I've made it a bunch of times since - though it's never quite as good as when she makes it. My goal is to go over to her place and watch her make it, then I can write about it here. Because man, it's good.
Wednesdays are my long day - Paul volunteers downtown as a chaplain at the Salvation Army Belkin House. I love that he does this - and he loves doing it - but it also means he goes there straight after work and isn't home until after Avie goes to bed. So dinner, cleanup and bedtime are up to me. I try to make easy meals that are easy to clean as well. Plus somehow we don't end up having many students home Wednesdays - but the week I don't plan a meal for a Wednesday assuming they will all be out, will inevitably be the week they are all home. So I always make up a meal, and then use any leftovers for lunches. Which is a win win.
Thursday: Baked Eggs in Marinara
Thursday I have a phone call with a dear friend at 4:30, and then am meeting with two of my best girlfriends for our bi-weekly discipleship group at 8pm, so I try to make something easy and simple. Everyone in my house loves breakfast for dinner, and when I've made this dish it's been super popular every time (even when I've waaay over cooked the eggs).
Paul will be hunting all weekend so I can make these Dry Ribs that he doesn't usually love but are a house favorite. I am hoping to have a girlfriend over for dinner, so it doesn't feel so lonely with Paul away. I guess I should invite someone soon, or it won't happen, haha.
Saturday/Sunday: YOYO (You're On Your Own)
Avie and I will try to keep ourselves busy all weekend and hopefully visit someone Saturday night, then church sunday is at dinner time so we normally snack a bit before and after. Our students are on their own for meals all weekend.