Monday, April 23, 2012

Menu Planning




Have you ever planned a menu?  It can be fun, challenging, easy or hard.

To make simplifying easier I try to have an idea of what kind of meals I might be preparing.  I usually think about supper and work breakfast and lunch around those.  For example:  Monday - something quick and easy, Tuesday - crock-pot (this is usually a nice dinner), Wednesday - Meatless, Thursday - Leftovers, Friday - grill or something fun/easy, Saturday - Simple, Sunday - get it yourself/not much work or thought to fix.  This varies depending on the time of year and what I feel like doing.  Sometimes we have a planned Mexican or Italian night, etc.


I'm going to take you through planning my weekly menu.  This walk-through will be a little more detailed than I usually make it in real life, but I use the same principles and want to try to make it clearer than mud.  This is my plan for the week of April 16-22.

First of all I make sure I have a few minutes of uninterrupted (kind of) time.  Then I get a pencil and paper and I start in my fridge.  I look to see if there is anything that I need to get used up before it goes bad.  I found leftover pinto beans, carrots and 1 doz. eggs that were past the purchase date.  Next I look in my Freezer for meat that I want to use this week.  I found 1 package of stew meat and 2 # of hamburger that I wanted to use this week.  I do have a few other things in there, but this wasn't the week to use them.  We usually drink water so I don't put beverages on my menus.

Now I sit down and plan my menu making sure I incorporate the ingredients I thought I should use from my fridge and freezer.  While I plan I keep in mind the things that I know are in my dry pantry that I can use as well.  Sometimes I get up to look and see if I have something or to just look at what's on the shelves that give me an idea.  I try to make at least one meatless dinner a week if I can.

For lunches Jeff usually gets leftovers or a leftover meal from the freezer, I usually don't eat sandwiches so I eat leftovers, tortillas or eggs.  The menu I make shows what I am planning on feeding the kids.

Here's my menu:

Dinner:  M - Eggs and Muffins
               T - Crockpot Beef Stew and Biscuits
              W - Meatless Beans and Rice, Salad
              R - Leftovers, Birthday cake (at the time of planning the menu I wasn't sure yet what we
                   would be doing for Kent's birthday.)
              F - Hamburgers
              S - Spaghetti  (I guess I forgot a veggie, I'm sure I'll find something.)
              S - Popcorn, Cheese, fruit or veggie leftovers

Lunch:  M - PBJ Sandwiches and Carrots (We ate bananas, too.)
              T - Fruit and Veggies, Crackers, leftover muffins, peanuts or other nuts
             W - PBJ Sandwiches and Fruit
              R - PBJ (It's Kent's birthday, but since I didn't know what we were planning for him it may
                    change.)
              F - Boiled Eggs, Salad leftover from Wednesday, Fruit
              S - Grilled Cheese
              S - Sandwiches/Leftovers (this is the one meal a week I don't really plan, we have Life
                   Group this week and it's grab and go, because we usually have an hour or a little more
                   before our group starts and Clark usually needs to be fed, too)

Breakfast:  M - Cereal
                   T - Amish Baked Oatmeal, Applesauce
                  W - Waffles (frozen from freezer, not a regular thing)
                   R - Cereal
                   F - Cereal
                   S - Pancakes, Maple Syrup
                   S - Autumn Wheat Cereal

Snacks:  M - Graham Crackers/leftover Easter candy
               T - nothing/leftovers from lunch
              W - Graham Crackers
               R - Pretzels/Peanuts
               F - Pretzels

Now I know what I'd like to feed my family for the week and I need to make a list for the store.

Next week I'll be sharing more about making a list and shopping from my pantry.
 
Do you plan your menu each week?  Do you know what you are having for dinner tomorrow? 

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3 comments:

  1. Suanna,
    I enjoy your posts via email. You asked in this one if anyone knew what they were having for dinner today. I have night class on Tuesdays, so I don't cook that night. Sometimes I will leave specifications for dinner and ask Sean and Brian to cook, but tonight will be leftovers from last night. I made a roast, (top round roast I had purchased on sale and frozen). I used a delicious "Smoky Applewood Rub" on it that Mom had given me for Christmas (Pampered Chef product). We boiled, skinned, and mashed sweet potatoes with a little butter and brown sugar melted in and I added some chopped pecans to them as well. We also had an spring mix of lettuce for a salad - added carrots, cucumbers, and celery. I topped it with pomegranate balsamic vinegar, lime olive oil, sea salt, and pepper.
    Also, I saw your post this morning about your garden, congratulations!
    Hope you have a good day, give our love to everyone.
    Love Rebekah

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rebekah, that salad dressing sounds yummy!

      Delete
  2. Practically speaking, meal planning is really effective and it's today's trend to save more money without sacrificing our nutrition. For those who are also in practicing the same as mine like this, http://mealplans4thefamily.com/ can help and provide you more tips on meal planning on a budget. Based on my experience, its really effective and highly recommended.

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