It's that time of the month for me......now 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.
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.