Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Do You Menu Plan?

We menu plan... kinda.

I've tried different ways of going about it, like menu planning every meal for a week, for two weeks, or specifying certain days of the week to cook different things (i.e. Taco Tuesdays). But now in order for me not to pull my hair out meeting the insane criteria I've set myself, I just do this:

On Sundays, I check the pantry and frig to make sure we have cereal, bread, pancake mix, milk, eggs, creamer, fruit, yogurt, and refrigerated cinnamon rolls. These are the family breakfast staples. If we have these items, breakfast will take care of itself in the morning. Even if we only have half of these items, I don't worry too much.
I do lunch last....

Here is where I really menu plan. I try to plan about 5-7 days worth of meals.
  1. I look at our calendar, and take into consideration any outings with friends or family we have planned in the evenings (excuses for me not to cook). That will knock out at least a day or two.
  2. A is a great cook, and he will usually cook dinner grill dinner about once a week. One less day for me!
  3. I schedule one crock pot day. It's usually the day that I am the most busy and would rather have dinner taken care of in the morning and not have to think about it the rest of the day.
  4. If the week isn't too hectic I plug in one new recipe for the week. I really enjoy cooking and trying new things, but if we have a lot going on it's best just to stick to the basics. 
  5. Then, I just plug in our basics-- pasta recipes, taco night, or an easy skillet meal and leftovers
Here's what our dinner menu looks this week (I started it on last Friday):

Saturday: fajitas in margarita marinade & Mexican rice
Sunday: steak, corn on the cob, pasta side, salad (Aaron grilling for Mother's Day) 
Monday: Tortellini Spinach Bake in Creamy Lemon Sauce (new recipe for the week)
Tuesday: FEND (dinner plans with my girlfriends and A has to  "fend for himself"=leftovers or pizza)
Wednesday: crock pot chicken (this could be anything, but probably will include some veggies that we need to eat before they go bad)
Thursday: leftovers or FEND 
Friday: taco night

See, easy peasy!

I plan lunches last and determine if we might have leftovers that we (Lily included) can eat. Then, I might decide to cook "extras" for Lily. For example, if we are having a pasta night, I might cook a little extra pasta for Lily to eat for lunch without the sauce or with the sauce on the side. we call this "dip dip" This will work for her dinners as well since she usually eats before we do, so not necessarily the same thing we are having that night.

Then make sure we have our lunch staples: bread, lunch meat, sliced cheese, peanut butter, fruit, frozen veggies, salad ingredients, snack cracker/chips and frozen pizzas. 

Taking a little time out to do this once a week keeps our groceries and eating out budgets low, and there's less stress in the house trying to figure out what in the world we are going to do for dinner.

So, do you do this? How? Any fun recipes to share?

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Kelly Rae said...

I've tried and failed multiple times...but Mike and I's schedule are so wompy-jawed in the spring that I pretty much just give up...thankfully baseball is about over and I can start menu planning again...cause I really love to do it.
You need to share some of your crock-pot recipes...I love my crock, but it doesn't get the lovin, I'd like to give it! Hope you're having a great day!

Marisa said...

I know, it's hard! A's scheduled changes from week to week and he works crazy hours so I totally feel you.

I'll remember to post a recipe next week-- I usually make them up as I go and never write them down. Bad, very bad...

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