What’s for Dinner?


“What’s for dinner?” is a recurring question in my household and I’m sure it is in most other households as well. And if you’re in charge of cooking, your daily question becomes, “What should I make for dinner?” I’ve talked to several moms who have repeatedly mentioned that, if given the choice, they would choose a personal chef over a nanny anytime. Coming up with a dinner menu for yourself and possibly one other person is hard enough but if you have kids, each with a different finicky palate, then the task becomes that much harder. That’s why I plan ahead.

I’m a planner by nature. I like to plan everything. I get an odd sense of satisfaction from making lists and checking them off. I sometimes even plan my thoughts before speaking up in fear of saying something stupid. You would think that I would have something coherent and intelligent to say every time I open my mouth. Quite the contrary. Because I thrive in planning, it means that I often fail in improvising. I’m not one of those people who can just throw something together with whatever I can find in the fridge and make it edible, let alone taste good.

My weekly dinner menu planning is done on the weekends, usually Saturdays or Sundays. I come up with a list of 4 or 5 meals that almost always includes a fish dish and a pasta dish, with the rest consisting of a mixture of chicken, pork or red meat. This way I know we’re getting variety. I then make a shopping list of all the ingredients that I need based on the weekly menu. I do most of my shopping on the weekends as well, leaving out a few items that I like to buy the day before or the day that I’m preparing it (e.g. fresh fish). It also helps to plan so that you get to use a couple of key ingredients in several of your dishes.

I make it a point to eat out or take out at least a couple of times a week. Now that my girls are getting older and getting involved in more extracurricular activities, which run into dinner time, we find ourselves eating out or doing take-out a lot more often. And of course, there’s always a day for leftovers. I’m curious to know how everyone else plans their meals.