Thursday, January 14, 2010

Recipes and Grocery Lists!

EDIT: I've noticed that some of you were having a problem getting the meal planners so I put new ones up. I honestly didn't realize that the others were linking to a Mormon site. My apologies.

It's that time of the month for don't go getting any weird ideas, I'm quite an open person but not THAT open about things LOL

I mean it's that time of the month when I sit down and write up my Menus and the grocery list.

I have received quite a few emails asking me how I go about getting my Menu Plans and the grocery list done, many of these emails are from newlywed women just trying to get a handle on the whole cooking thing.

Thankfully as I've shared in the past, I learned from an early age about Menu Planning, there was never a time when my stepmom did not have everything organized and written out and planned for the meals.

Let's face it, nowadays we really don't have time to run to the supermarket at 5pm racking our brains for that night's dinner and honestly the whole daily routine can become boring and old real fast.

I'm not saying that if you don't menu plan, it's a bad thing. Not at all, different strokes for different folks, but for me over the past almost 12 years of marriage, it works and I can't see myself doing things differently.

But going back to the how's.

Being military we get paid every two weeks, so I shop every two weeks, but if that seems too much for you right now, then start small, just think 7 meals for next week and only 1 supermarket run.

To get you started, here are some charts you can print out INCLUDING meals, all you need to do is switch it up here and there. Obviously it's just an idea, you don't HAVE to make the meals suggested, feel free to add your own.

Weekly Meal Planner - Portrait (.pdf)
Weekly Meal Planner - Landscape (.pdf)
2-Week Meal Planner (.pdf)
Monthly Menu Planner (.pdf)
Weekly Menu Planner (.pdf)

It's Cheaper
- That's the great thing about menu planning for me, the money we save by cooking from scratch and going to the store once instead of every day, is far worth the time it takes to sit down and draw up your menu.

Using the Internet - I like to sit in front of my laptop and open up my Google Reader, I have a bunch of wonderful food blogs, everything from Portuguese to Southern Cooking, all kinds of great blogs where I can get ideas.
When I find a recipe I want to try I bookmark it. I have a folder named "Recipes to Try" and I just add them there as I find them. When I'm planning my menu I first go to that folder and take a peek through, see if anything catches my eye and then once I've made that dish and written down the recipe, I can remove it from that folder. Easy Peasy!

Using Family Favorites - there is absolutely no need to make these elaborate menus, yes if you want to try something special that's fine, but for the most part, keep it simple. There are quite a few recipes that we always have like Spaghetti, Homemade Pizza and Soup etc. If you like, you can also do theme nights....

Monday - Mexican
Tuesday - Soups and Sandwiches
Wednesday - Italian
Thursday - Crockpot
Friday - Kid favorites

Lunches are usually leftovers, and if there aren’t any, then it's easy stuff, like sandwiches, ramne noodles, chicken nuggets etc.

For breakfast, it's either cold cereal, muffins, pancakes or toast.

Grocery Lists - I make my grocery list as I plan the menu, the reason is that while I'm adding a meal to the menu I can jot down any ingredients that I may need to buy. I usually go over it again just to be sure I am not missing anything.

Once I've written down the list, I go through my refrigerator and pantry and check off any items that I may already have on hand, sometimes you think you need to buy something only to return home and see 1 or 2 of the same already in the pantry. Yeah I've done that many times.

Hope this answered some of the questions and maybe just motivated you to try menu planning.


Mari said...

Guess what I am doing right now? My 2 week menu and shopping list! I do just like you do and am looking at my recipes online. I thought I would check out a few blogs in the middle of this and I see you posting on this. Menu planning works well!

Mary said...

Great post! Thank you! We plan our meals and shop weekly. We dont plan a big meal every night since we only have 3 people to cook for. That is including a 1 year old. So basically 2 people. I can't wait to make bigger meals for a big family someday. :)

Thanks again!

Mike Golch said...

works for me.especially now that both my wife and I are trying to loos weight by portion control.we need healthy meals.

Just me~Bobbie Jo said...

Just did mine tonight! :)

Sheila said...

Sandra, these are great tips to get people started on the two week thing. This is something I am determined to get myself into! Thanks for the great downloads too!! Hope you are well....

Viva Filipinas said...

More often than not, I tend to cook the same recipes every week without realizing it and only when I do menu planning that new dishes come into the dinner table. I like the 'theme nights' idea :)

autumnesf said...

Our method is pretty much the same but we do it weekly instead of bi-weekly. We use way too much fresh produce...and go too many directions in a week with the different aged kids to be successful with a two week menu. One thing we did do the year my son graduated is to put together a family cookbook. We had the whole family email me recipes (three of my sons cousins were also going out on their own) and I had the books made up for everyone. The kids loved that they started out on their own with their favorite food recipes -- and I had the benefit of having all our favorites in one place! Best thing I ever did! And we will do it again when my daughter graduates as she has cousins that will also and some of those that did not participate are sorry and looking forward to the next time.

Jamie~ said...

I love my 2-week menu and grocery list. We go grocery shopping every two weeks, too and it is wonderful to not have to rush out to the store at 5 o'clock.

Totally worth the time and energy it takes to sit down one time and sort everything out!

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Come by anytime! The light's always on.

Tina Leigh said...

I have worked Friday, Saturday, & Sunday for almost 2 years so it was so easy for me to stick with a menu plan for supper and have breakfast & lunch during the week. Danny did the cooking on Saturday & Sunday. But now I am working Monday thru Thursday 13 hours or more a day. There is only so much you can do with a crock pot & having to leave it for 10 or more hours (Danny get's home before me but it is still that long before he can get home & tend to food.). The food thing is killing us at my house!!

Renee said...

Great post! This week is payday week and I'm sitting down to plan my menus too.

How did your menu planning go when you went shopping at Food Value Club? Did you buy boxes and then plan a food meal after you went?

Have a great weekend!

Kirstin said...

I plan my menus (not by day, but just what meals I plan to make in that two week period as we get paid every two weeks as well.) I make one main trip and if I need something in between I get it.

I love looking on the internet for new meal ideas.I've gotten a few from you (C: One favorite is your creamy white chicken chili!!

Jen said...

I do mine the same way girl! Love it....I'm looking for recipes that are good for you now a days...but I do mine the same way you works for me...

Anonymous said...

when I click on the links it brings up a story about the LDS 2010 Church Curriculum?!?!!? Please help...

Linda ★ Parker's Paradise said...

great post. nice to see younger women (and men) are interested in organization skills that save money. I've been doing this for as long as I can remember and it is a habit for me. Love planning so I never have to wonder what we'll have or whether we have the stuff for it.....

Sarah said...

Lol Anonymous I got the Mormon site too, I think for some reason the link reverts to the main page. If you scroll right down near the bottom is the menu planning link under the title 'Most Popular', which takes you to a page that has the plans on.

Sandra, I really need to start planning my menus! We are so skint after Christmas I need to pinch every penny.


p.s. if you read this take a look at my cake (on my blog) it went wrong and being a super-cake-baking-genius I wondered if you could advise!? xxxxx

Christina said...

Where do you ever come up with so many great ideas. I absolutely loved this post. I never thought to make special nights, like Monday Mexican, etc. I am going to use this one right away. I usually shop every two weeks, but I am much better off with a one week menu, like you said start small if it's easier for yourself. I am going to check out all the meal planning links and then get to work. I have not even started my menu for this week although pay day was yesterday. The furlough Friday (no school here on Friday in Hawaii due to money problems) has really messed things up.

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The LORD is with us !

-:) Hugs !!!

Sarah said...

Thanks Sandra for the advice on my blog. I hand whisked the eggs, I don't have an electric whisk and my food processor is broken. I did whisk for quite a while, so that might explain the cracking. It was moist inside the cake. I think that my oven isn't very good, so it could be that it was a little high.

Danielle Says Hello said...

I tried some of your links but they aren't working ;( Will check back later. Great post - very inspirational as I am definitely not a whiz in the kitchen.

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