Menu Planning

June 8, 2009 by  

Guest Post by Organizing Junkie!

by Laura from I’m an Organizing Junkie

Laura from I’m An Organizing Junkie helped to inspire the feel of my blog. Once I discovered blogging I looked at many. I felt most comfortable with hers as I felt it was inviting and fun. I liked the colors, the feel of it and I decided that I also wanted to have a “comfortable” feel to my blog rather than “stiff or stuffy” feel.
She is by far the most recognized organizing blog and I am thrilled to have her being my guest blogger today.
I am so glad she is doing menu planning because it is something that I am not good at. I wish I was….I wish I liked to cook….I have attempted menu planning many times and never seem to stick with it. (See organizers aren’t always organized at every aspect of their lives – although I think we hate it when we aren’t!)
I am going to try her method and give it another shot. Just like I have started couponing..I am going to incorporate menu planning.

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Home Organization

Menu Planning Made Easy

I started menu planning three years ago when I became a stay at home mom. It literally changed my life and now I don’t know how I ever managed without it. I use to be under the impression that menu planning was too rigid and wouldn’t offer me any flexibility. Yet that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Menu planning allows me to prepare and shop for a whole week of dinner options at one time and even though I menu plan what I’m having on certain days I am by no means restricted to that. Having all the necessary ingredients on hand allows me the flexibility to switch days around if I need too without any problems. The menu planning itself takes me no time at all. Let me take you through the process of what works for me step by step:
If you can, choose a regular grocery day and stick to it. For instance I like to get groceries on Monday mornings at 8:30 am when the grocery store is less busy and I can get in and out in no time flat.
The night before grocery day sit down with a notepad and create sections for each day of the week.
Then looking through cookbooks or online start putting together a list of 5 or 6 different meals your family might enjoy that week. To make it a little easier for me when I do it, I start by figuring out which “meat” I’m going to have on which day. So on my notepad I might have chicken marked down for Monday and beef marked down for Tuesday. I also usually try to include at least one meatless dish. Once I know what meat I’m having I can do a quick search for say chicken recipes to find one that I want to use in my menu plan.
As you are doing your menu/recipe search you will certainly come across some more dishes that you’d like to try. I created a folder in my bookmarks called “recipes to try” with sub-folders listing the various food categories (ie: veggies, chicken, desserts, etc) and as I find recipes I’d like to try in the future I bookmark them for quick and easy access in subsequent weeks.
Don’t forget to create a night for leftovers. I purposely make extra on the other days so that I can afford myself a leftover day or two and that way nothing is wasted. This is especially helpful if scheduled for nights when you are busiest. I also do Simple Supper Sundays where anything goes.
Some other considerations to keep in mind when creating your weekly plan is what you might already have on hand in your freezer or pantry that might need to be used up. Select recipes around those ingredients and save money on your grocery bill that week.
Have a look at the grocery store sale flyers. If roast is on sale it is a good time to include roast in your menu plan. Also cross reference with any coupons you might have on hand.
Write a grocery list of the foods you need and post your menu where everyone can see it. No more having to answer the annoying “what’s for dinner?” question.
Join Menu Plan Monday to share and get menu plan ideas from other participants.
Smile and relax knowing that come 4 o’clock each evening you’ve got dinner covered. No panic necessary.

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Comments

4 Responses to “Menu Planning”
  1. Laura says:

    Sandy I so don't enjoy cooking either, menu planning is the only thing that makes it even possible for me to get in my kitchen and get out as quickly as possible :)

  2. Carla says:

    This is exactly how I do meal planning – except I don't look through recipe books very often, we pretty much stick a list of things my family likes, with the occasional new dish.

    I hate cooking, and when I don't meal plan, I don't cook. It is such an enormous stress eliminator, and really makes life so much easier.

    Instead of posting the menu (which no one cares about here), I keep it in my pda (currently an ipod touch) so I have it with me when I go to the store, in case I see an in-store deal and want to make changes on the fly.

    Not only is meal planning a huge time saver – time saved thinking, stressing in front of the fridge, and taking multiple trips to the store – it also made a huge impact on my grocery budget. I probably spend 1/3 of what I used to.

  3. Sandy Jenney says:

    I am glad I am not alone Laura and Carla. I wish I enjoyed cooking!!
    Carla, you added some good tips.
    Thanks

  4. Zeemaid says:

    Okay, just the fact money is saved… means I need to be doing this. We are trying to cut down our grocery bill and boy this would help.

    Thanks for the tips. :)

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