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
              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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  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

    1. Rebekah, that salad dressing sounds yummy!

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