The Five Day Menu – One Pandemic Habit That We’re Keeping

One of the lifestyle changes that we made during Covid was the Five Day Menu.

My old way of making meals was to wing it. I would come up with a plan later in the day, run off to the supermarket to get stuff, and then cook it. It wasn’t very efficient. Because everything happened last minute, if something went wrong, we would end up at the local pub getting burgers and beers.

When the pandemic hit, I had to think ahead to avoid the supermarket. We stopped going to restaurants and friends’ houses for dinner. The boys and the husband were home all the time. So, I had to shop in bulk, cook in bulk, and have menus.

We’ve largely kept the system with some modifications for normality. We have home cooked food five days a week. By bulk cooking and prepping on Sunday and Wednesday, I don’t necessarily need to do a huge meal every night. I plan everything out on a little bit of paper under a magnet on the fridge.

Cooking is mandatory in my house. My men eat TONS of food. A month of take out or restaurant food would easily cost us $2,000. When we stopped cooking every day, Steve and I instantly gained five pounds. But we’ve decided that five days of cooking is enough; we love pubs too much to stay home every night.

This week’s menu:

  • Sunday: Steve did ribs and chicken thighs on the grill, because ribs were on sale. We cooked enough for at least two days of food for us, my parents, my sister, and a girlfriend.. I made mashed potatoes and sautéed broccoli rabe. I chopped up three days worth of carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, and scallions to put in three days of salads.
  • Monday: we had leftovers. I made quinoa, too.
  • Today: Last night, we set up the InstaPot to cook up dry black beans to be ready by 4 today. I’ll put rice in the rice maker. I’ll sauté the beans with spices and and onion. Rice, beans, and cheese. Salad. Leftover meat for the hungriest. Everything has to be done by 6:00, because I have to drive Ian to the reading tutor.
  • Wednesday: Bean quesadilla and potato-leek soup. The leeks are already cleaned, sliced, and frozen, so I just need to chop up some potatoes and carrots.
  • Thursday: Salmon on a sheet pan. If there’s not enough leftover soup or beans, I’ll make a box of couscous.
  • Then Friday and Saturday are random. This Friday, I’m going out with the autism moms. Saturday night is still a question mark. Sunday morning is brunch.

This year, I’m recommitting to the Five Day Menu. It worked for us on so many levels.