Why your meal plan should include the letters "COF"
If you run a busy household (and who among us doesn't?) you probably already know the value of creating a menu plan for your week. t saves time, money, and helps you to avoid the 4pm "What should we make for dinner?" quandry. Menu plans give you a road map for your week and take one more thing off your to-do list every day,
Did you know that your menu plan should always include the abbreviation "COF"? It's true. Let me explain...
When you sit down to create your menu plan, one of the best tools in your arsenal is a healthy dose of realism. Take into account how much your family actually eats, the nights that eating at home just isn't going to be possible, and the nights when a quick sandwich will be enough. Not every night requires -- or allows for -- the cooking of a full meal.
Which brings me to the "COF" rule. At least once per week, create a "Clean Out Fridge" meal. A COF meal for us is usually toward the end of the week, but in your family a Monday night COF meal might work better for you. The goal is to clean out your fridge of all of those bits and bobs you have left over -- the one hard-boiled egg, the 1/2 cup leftover spaghetti, the single chicken breast, the last bit of potato salad. Now, I know what you're thinking: What can I possibly make out of that combination of ingredients? Here's the fun of a COF meal: It's not about creating a new dish out of what you have on hand, like traditional leftover meals.
Think of COF meals as more of a buffet-style meal. Take out all of those leftover bits, heat them all up (where required) and place them out on the table, buffet style. If your meal needs to be rounded out a bit, bake some potatoes and make a salad. Everyone gets to make his own plate! It's a fun way to let everyone customize their own plate while giving leftovers new life in a fun way.
This is a great meal for movie night! Everyone can make their plate, then find a comfy spot on the couch with a TV tray and settle in for a night of movie watching. This way, what could become a meal that is met with an eye-rolling chorus of "aww, mom! I hate leftovers!" will become a weekly event your family will look forward to.
Final note: If you have picky eaters in the bunch, they may only choose a baked potato and a piece of bacon for their meal. Don't stress about it. It's only one meal. Letting them take the lead just this once isn't going to lead to a lifetime of food issues. If anything, it will give them the confidence to maybe try new things next time. And besides, at the end of the meal, your fridge will be cleaned out, food won't be wasted, and your family will be happy. What could be wrong with that?
The next time you have a fridge full of leftovers, don't let them go to waste. Lay them all out in a fun way, throw in a movie, and make a night of it. Instead of dreading your next leftover night, your family will start requesting your "Leftover Buffet"!