Tuesday, April 17, 2012

how i do my menu planning

I am trying my best to plan our meals in advance. We do most of our grocery shopping in one trip, once a month. We do have to make small trips for milk, butter, and of course COFFEE MATE {without it, I would cease to function}, but for the majority of our groceries, its one big trip.
After that big trip we try to sit down {we= me and whoever else cares to vote} and pencil out a menu for the month. We try to plan our meals around sports (right now its soccer), senior trips, prom, and when everyone is working at their second jobs. On days when there is nobody around, you either find something on your own or starve. {keep in mind there are no "children" in the house- youngest is 18 and she can cook} If you have young children, you're going to have to plan for everyday.
We try to do a meal with chicken, ground beef, fish/shrimp at least once a week so that its not an entire week of chicken. And I try to schedule shrimp meals when I'm not there since I eat no seafood--none, not even fish! I like to have a "comfort food" once a week on a day that I know most everyone will be home for supper- like chicken enchiladas, tator tot casserole or shepards pie to give a few examples.

I do have a list of some general ideas that I try to use so we don't end up having the same 12 things over and over.

I plan the monthly menu after we have done our big shopping trip so that I know how much meat, chicken, and fish I have to work with for the month. I also try to take note of things still floating around from the last shopping trip- like when we doubled up on potatoes and had to eat a truckload of mashed potatoes before they went bad {as if too many potatoes could be a bad thing?}
Anyway, I try to use up things that will expire before the end of the month right away so I know that they are not wasted- that would negate the whole practice of menu planning and bulk shopping.

I am currently using this menu planner {chevron of course}
Check them out in our etsy shop for $5. Pick from our choices of chevron colors.
Your menu planner would be printed on card stock and laminated for durability and reuse. I use a vis-a-vis wet erase marker on mine. I like them better than a dry erase marker because they not rub off if you touch the calendar. You can buy vis-a-vis markers at any office supply store and places like Wal Mart and Target. Does anybody else have these just laying around their house like us? Or should we include a marker when you buy the meal planner?? Leave a comment, let us know.

Our monthly menu looks something like this:
just ignore that it wasn't finished when I took this picture….its finished now

Our menu used to look like this:

At this point, I'm not sure which I am liking better…. Reusable is nice for tree saving, but sometimes I like to actually "pencil things in". So at this point I'm undecided, its my first month with the laminated calendar.
I do try to post the weekly menu on the board that I made {see how I made it here}. With this board I can quickly glance at what we are having the next day and know what I need to pull out of the freezer. However the key is actually remembering this step!! In theory, on Sunday morning it should look like this:
*update: when I made this, I made everything magnetic. That has not actually worked out that well, so I might suggest just hot gluing the pouches and clothes pins right to the board. I haven't done this to mine yet, but I am considering it.

Jen, over at Iheartorganizing, also just did a great post on how she does her menu planning. Head over and check out her fantastic blog too! We absolutely heart her!!

What menu planning techniques do you use? Tips to share? Leave us a comment!


  1. i save time by just having a salad every night! Good idea though especially if you have a young family and work outside of the home.

  2. This is a very good idea. I just recently created my own menu planning system too. :-) Love your magnetic board idea on a cookie tray! :-)