If you haven’t done your grocery shopping yet, you should probably think about doing it very soon since Christmas is only two days away and cooking should probably begin sooner than later!
I went grocery shopping yesterday which is my regular grocery store day. I don’t normally do any special holiday grocery shopping. My routine is to go to the grocery store the same day each week and I continue that routine even through the holidays. The only exception is if my grocery store day falls on the holiday or too close to the holiday. Then I have to modify. But I make my list as usual and include the holiday food on my list. Sometimes I increase my budget a little bit to cover the holiday food, but I prefer to keep it the same and make it work. Since we usually host holiday meals at our house, we have lots of leftovers that we use for several days and that makes it easier to stay on budget.
When you’re making your grocery list (you make a list, right?), there are lots of ways to do it but one way I think is very effective, especially at this time of year when there’s so much going on, is planning your meals based on your schedule. On my menu sheet, I make notes about what’s going on each day. Then I plan accordingly. Here are a few things I considered when making my list for this week:
Wednesday – David goes to the gym so he doesn’t have a lot of time before he leaves. Plus I had a lot going on that day, including going to the grocery store, so I chose a simple but filling meal – Southwest Chicken and Vegetables*.
Thursday – David goes to the gym, and our daughter, Rachel, will be joining us and then going to the gym, too. That means we’ll be eating a little later than usual and David and Rachel will leave pretty quick for the gym. Plus I’m babysitting most of the afternoon so I won’t have time to do anything labor intensive. So I chose Simple Chicken Italiano and Italian Cheese Bread*. I’ll do the bread in the morning and the chicken right before serving time.
Friday – Our kids are all coming over to celebrate Christmas and we’re doing a big taco spread complete with beef, chicken, rice, beans, cheese dip, etc. I’m also making two desserts one of which is labor intensive: puppy chow and peanut butter balls. So I’ll probably spend quite a bit of time cooking on Friday.
Saturday – Christmas Eve. It will be just David and I on Christmas Eve but I’ll have to spend a lot of time that day cooking for Christmas dinner. So I’m not going to make dinner – we’ll have leftovers. Fortunately for me, my husband LOVES leftovers.
Sunday – Christmas!!! Church in the morning and then cooking as soon as we get home. Hopefully there won’t be too much to do since I’m planning to do as much as possible the day before. That was one of the tips they mentioned on the Food Network Thanksgiving special – do as much as possible ahead of time.
Monday – leftovers.
Tuesday – I’m babysitting most of the day so I won’t have a lot of time to cook. I planned Baked Rigatoni*, garlic bread* and salad. I’ll prepare those in the morning before the grandkids come over. Then when Danny and Ashley come for the kids, we’ll enjoy a nice meal together.
So if you haven’t tried planning your menu based on your schedule, it might be worth a try. Planning the right meals at the right time might make all the difference in your ability to get dinner on the table every night.
And if you’re interested, here’s a sample of my menu plan.