Menu PIanning Behind the Scenes

By  Ann Dunaway Teh & Lesley Baradel

We thought we’d pull back the curtain and give you a behind the scenes peak on what goes into planning our weekly menus. All of the meals on our menu plans have been tested and served to our own families. If we aren’t willing to shop for the ingredients and cook the dish then we don’t expect you to do it either!

Annkidseating

Ann’s children at their kitchen table

We plan out our menus a month at a time and ensure we have a good bit of variety throughout the month including different cuisines, cooking methods, efficiencies (re-using ingredients), seasonality, color, texture, and preparation methods. Each week has 4 meals: one vegetarian, one chicken, one seafood and one other that may be a beef, pork, turkey or something else.

Lesley's Kids Eating Fruit

Lesley’s children enjoying some fruit

One of the most important things for us to consider is whether the entire family will eat the meal – kids and parents. It is important to balance the “kid-friendliness” of the meal with what an adult wants for dinner so that everyone is happy. Do you, as a parent, want to eat quesadillas every night? Probably not. With our cook only one meal a night policy, we need to be sure it meets the needs of both the parents and children.

Lesley's 1980s kitchen

Lesley’s “1980s” kitchen

Once the menu is set, the cooking craziness begins! We spend one whole week in Lesley’s “1980’s not-so-fancy” kitchen cooking up a storm. Then we head down to the basement and pull up every piece of food styling gear we have, and just cook and shoot, cook and shook, and cook and shoot. We get creative with our styling and have even resorted to using kid’s toys to prop things up. The week is both funny and intense at the same time and by Friday, we are pooped. The bonus is that we have a ton of food prepared for our families. There is so much food sometimes that we have to give it to our friends (we don’t like food waste).

Ann_photoshoot

Ann working on her food photography skills

We hope you like what you see and always welcome your feedback!

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