I remember once reading on a blog about a mom who makes homemade pizza for her family every Saturday night. She had perfected her pizza dough recipe and was boasting of how easy this meal was, how she always had shredded mozzarella, pepperoni and pesto in the freezer. How once she learned how to make the dough, there couldn't have been an easier meal. How she suddenly felt off the hook to meal plan on the weekends, because this homemade pizza somehow scored huge points with everyone in the family.
I remember reading that and thinking Eeyore thoughts about how lovely it all sounded. How I wish I could have homemade pizza every Saturday night.
I read that blog post years ago, so it only took me a couple years to snap out of it. And to realize that homemade pizza night could happen at my house too. Poor Eeyore. Makes everything seem so hard.
I started Pizza Saturday at the beginning of January and it only took me three failed pizzas to find the dough recipe my family likes the best. The rejects were edible, but the dough didn't rise, and we weren't excited about it. But last week we hit the jackpot with this recipe. (It's a breadstick recipe...) And this recipe for the sauce.
I write all of that because I am afraid when you read this next part, your Inner Eeyore may flair up. But if you are a mom trying to figure out meal planning and prep, I think I might have just landed on something very handy.
And it begins at McDonalds.
Since the new year began, we have spent each Sunday night at McDonalds. While there, Ivar munches on his chicken nuggets and apple slices. I eat a Southwest Salad and Rory enjoys his value meal. And as I sneak fries from Rory, I write out the grocery list.
I choose three meals for the week ahead, based off of this meal plan:
Saturday night: Pizza Night
Sunday night: McDonalds and Grocery Shopping
Monday: Supper #1
Wednesday: Supper #2
Thursday: Supper #3
I combine the list that I made on the fridge all week (the things we ran out of) with the list of food I need for these three meals and add all the usual's as well. (dairy, produce, cereal, lunch stuff and snacks...)
For example, this week we are having Supper #1: Roast Chicken, Supper #2: Chicken Noodle Soup, Supper #3: Pork Chops.
I organize the shopping list in order of the store and then we head to Cub Foods.
When we get there, I rip the list in half and Rory takes Elsie to find the aisle stuff and I get the produce, meat and dairy with Ivar.
We are done and out of there in less than thirty minutes. No joke. And because everyone is well rested from nap time and has a full belly from Micky D's, we tend to be in very happy moods too.
The truth is, we come home, put the groceries away and I listen to my husband say how much he loves his Sunday night with his family. How he loves how much less money we are spending on meals never eaten and produce gone bad.
Stop! I can hear your Inner Eeyore from here! I can! Tell him to pipe down. Because this is a great plan.
As I listen to Rory, happy over the food we have in the house, I'll sit there and think, Three Meals! I am getting off the hook by making three meals a week! (The pizza meal doesn't really count because it really is as easy as that happy blogger years ago said it would be.)
I feel safe to report all of this now, because we have pulled this off for seven weeks. Going strong. Last night I was terribly ill with aches and shakes, so Rory took Ivar while Elsie and I stayed home and started season one of Gilmore Girls. And even still, Rory came through the door happy as ever telling me how much he loves Sunday night grocery shopping.
It may be that we are in the middle of a Minnesota winter and that a trip to Cub feels as exotic as anything. It may be that once the grass is visible again we'll again draw straws for who has to go. But for now, we're loving Grocery Sundays, Laundry Mondays, and Pizza Saturdays. (Not to mention Leftover Tuesdays and Fridays!)