Thursday, July 12, 2007

Monthly Menu: A Work in Progress

*** Edited January '08 to add: Visit my other blog for my monthly menu, ingredient lists and recipes.

My menu planning is a work in progress. I plan because it reduces my stress and saves me money and time. I started putting together monthly plans after reading Lisa Whelchel's book Taking Care of the Me in Mommy. In the book and on her website she has charts made up that you can use.

Each month I sit down with my grocery store flyers, cookbooks, calendar, previous months menus and my computer with the Menu chart ready for me to complete. The whole process takes about an hour. It would be shorter if I didn't have to stop and referree so much. I take into account our activities for each day and try to plan quick and easy meals for busy days. I've also started planning similar meals for the same days of the week. For example: Monday is pizza night. Tuesday is asian. Wednesday is beef. You get the idea. This helps to insure we don't have chicken three nights in a row. Ha! Ha!

Over the last few months I've noticed that the supermarkets usually run meat sales during the second and third weeks of the calendar month. I hate to pay more than $1.99 per pound for meat so I have adjusted my menu to start the second week rather than the first week of the calendar month.

Another idea I'm planning to try is to make a master list of meals. Then when I make the menu I won't have to think about what side dishes to add to the meat dish. This should shorten my planning time.

I've been asked about lunches. We usually eat leftovers for lunch the next day. When there aren't left overs we have standard meals that I don't schedule on the calendar but choose from each day. PB & J (or honey) sandwiches. Hot dogs (for the boys). Ham sandwiches. Tuna sandwiches. Tortilla pizza. This week I read a great idea for planning your lunch menu also. I'm hoping to start doing that next week. For us it will be something like: Monday - PB & J, Tuesday - Tuna sandwiches . . . If I do this every day I won't have to decide what to eat, I'll automatically know.

Breakfast around here is very low key. I am NOT a morning person so that dictates our breakfasts for now. During the summer we eat cold cereal and fruit. During the winter we add Cream of Wheat, Cream of Rice and Oatmeal to the choices. Saturday is different though. Daddy cooks us pancakes, usually with chocolate chips. Mmmmmm...YUH-me, as the 2 year-old says.

Like I said, it's a work in progress. A menu is only Plan A. Sometimes we go to plan B; like this week when the grocery store ran out of their sale priced chicken. We just ate a meal that was planned for a different day. Sometimes we go to plan C; like yesterday when I was tired and overwhelmed so we ate at "Old" McDonald's.

Success or failure isn't determined by how closely I follow the plan. Just that I have a plan.

5 comments:

Marc and Charity said...

Hey! Didn't know you had a blog! We just found you! :) Will add you to ours as well.

Dawn in KY said...

The monthly meal planning is a great idea. We do our menus in 2 week intervals & shop based on that list. We have a spreadsheet listing our grocery list since we get the same things most of the time. And...get this...we also list the aisles of each item. So when we go the grocery store we know exactly where everything is & which aisles can be skipped completely. This saves time and money. We can skip certain aisles & avoid some temptation - just some, not all : ). Most people think we are crazy when we tell them this. But the first trip to the grocery store - it only took an extra few minutes to mark the aisle down on our list & then about 5 minutes to update the spreadsheet once we got home. So maybe 10 minutes tops - time well spent, in my opinion!

Stephanie said...

The spreadsheet list and aisle numbers is where I'm headed. I've just got to get my menu planning worked out first.

Sean and Lendy said...

LOVE the charts! I am new to this world of menus, coupons, etc. I can definetly get into the chart thing. Thank for the link!

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

For an updated step-by-step guide to making out a monthly menu plan go here - http://stephaniesmommybrain.blogspot.com/2009/01/how-to-make-monthly-or-weekly-menu-plan.html

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