Friday, March 18, 2011

Menu Plans

Do you do a plan your meals a week or a month out?? This is a new thing for us, to have a week's worth of meals planned out before I go to the grocery store, and let me tell you, I am loving it. The only downfall for my family is that my husband's work schedule is fairly irregular. As an Air Force pilot, he has to fly a lot of nights. That may not be a big deal to many families, but when I'm only cooking for myself and my two very young children, I tend to not want to make a big meal, and since we don't know his schedule until the Friday before, it makes it difficult...BUT here's how I've conquered it. While I can't plan a whole month out (because I don't know his schedule--in fact, every week you can see the nights that he flies...) I do keep a month's menu plan in my Home Management binder (more on that later maybe?) so that I can constantly change things around. here's a picture of my current menu plan to give you an idea:
I know that's hard to read, but if you click on the picture you can read it better. 

I currently have a lot of freezer meals planned to prepare for this baby's arrival. I basically just double the recipe and put half in the freezer. I do at least one freezer meal each week for the last 8 weeks of pregnancy, giving me at least 8 full meals for postpartum. These meals are always lifesavers.

Anyway, I don't have a fancy way of doing our menu plan. Basically, I go shopping every Tuesday. Therefore, I plan our next week's worth of meals sometime between Saturday and Monday. I typically only plan about 4-5 meals in a 7-day period because I have to be flexible. And also because we have to have a leftovers night, and sometimes we like to eat out.

So why do I love keeping a menu plan??
  • We tend to get a much better variety in our meals
  • I'm finally trying my gigantic mound of "Recipes to Try"
  • We're eating less pizza
  • We're saving money by eating out a lot less
  • We're saving money by planning our meals around sales at our grocery store
  • Helps me avoid that last minute dinner rush that I find very stressful
  • Dinner tends to be ON TIME every night
  • I have all the ingredients on hand
  • Our meals tend to be healthier
  • I quite simply like to be organized:)
The monthly menu plan sheet that I use is from Organized Home, and can be found here.

Menu plans have always intimidated me, making me feel like I was tied down to this ONE plan with no other options and I've been very surprised at how liberating it has been. It frees up my time in the afternoons, not having to worry about what to make and it frees up a lot of brainpower throughout my weeks because I know it is already taken care of.

Anyway, I just thought I would share that with y'all in case any of you were looking for the motivation to just sit down and give it a shot. Let me know if you have any tips or tricks! I'm always open to ideas that make my life a little easier:)

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Anonymous said...

Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [19 Mar 01:00am GMT]. Thanks, Maria

Domestic Nerd said...

I do weekly menu planning. I have tried the monthly thing before but I always find so many new recipes online & I am way too impatient to wait an entire month to try them that it didn't work for me. I shop on Thursdays, so I plan for Friday thru Thursdays. So far works well for us :)

Katie @ Hippos and Dinosaurs said...

I'm the same way with the month out thinf. Sometimes a recipe pops up on one of fave food blogs that I have to try it the very next waiting a whole month for me:)

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