I look in my diary, see what's coming up for the week and try to plan accordingly. For example, the DKs go to Scouts (at different times) on Tuesday nights, so that's a day that I keep things simple and do something in the crockpot or use Danish meatballs from the freezer.
It's not rocket science... A normal menuplan for the week just includes:
various meats and fish: chicken, beef, lamb, pork, sausages
non-meat (pizza, quiche, main-course salad)
family favourites (pizza, Danish fishcakes, roast pork, Swedish sausage casserole)
crockpot meals (lasagne, stew, soup, curry, spaghetti bolognaise)
Make sure to vary the side dishes and vegetables:
Asian noodles, potatoes, couscous, rice, pasta, bulgur wheat
salad, raw veggies, cooked veggies
If the whole idea leaves you reeling, you can always do it backwards. Write down every dinner you have for a couple of weeks, then go back and use that. Another good idea from the Flylady is to have everyone in the family make a list of 5-8 meals that they like, and use them as a starting point.
I can't claim that we eat exactly what is written down on my list. Of course not - plans change, we get invited out, DH doesn't come home for dinner, fill in the blank. So I also keep a few ready-made things in the freezer.
And - as the proof of the pudding is in the eating - here's this week's menuplan... Bon appétit!
- breaded fish, rice made in ricecooker, sugarsnap peas
- Koldskål og kammerjunker (Danish summer dessert, bit like eggnog with small biscuits)
- Parmesan chicken, tagliatelle, spinach salad
- The Moistest Ever Brownies courtesy of @luvschweetheart on http://www.twitter.com/ (see blogpost)
- Danish fishcakes (made with fish, egg & cream, no potato) from the fishmonger, brown rice, carrots & peas, remoulade (Danish pickle sauce) and rucola/feta salad
- Vanilla icecream with 'flødeboller' (Danish kiddies' fave, biscuit base topped with artificial cream, whole thing covered in chocolate. Can't remember what you call them in English.)
- grown ups are out for posh dinner (yay!), DKs will have spaghetti bolognaise and
- rice pudding
- herb-crusted salmon, garlic/mustard/mayo sauce, Hasselbach potatoes (old Danish classic), roasted green beans/anchovies/tomatoes/sundried tomatoes
- cake from the bakers or maybe homemade
- homemade pepperoni pizza and salad
- homemade chocolate mousse (the real kind, the best kind, French, made only with eggs & chocolate)
Sunday (think our guests are leaving today)
- roast chicken, bulgur wheat, salad
POSTSCRIPT: No sooner than I had published this post, our friends rang to say they would arrive a day later than planned - and we are now going out for dinner in town on Friday instead of Thursday! So remember that menuplanning is not set in stone, just a guideline... :)