Welcome to Part 3 of my Menu Planning 101 series. This series is designed to get you in the kitchen, start planning, and help feed your family delicious home cooked meals they will enjoy. Part 1 discussed why we should menu plan and part 2 included almost 40 links with meal ideas for your family.
Last week you submitted your 15 meals, great job! This week we added five more meals to our list, and came up with some side dishes our families enjoy. Believe it or not, by making these 2 lists you have already begun to menu plan.
You should have 20 meals and a variety of side dishes to help create your menu plan. I would suggest printing out your meals and sides and putting them on your fridge or pantry. This will help you make your grocery list.
The next step is to pick 5 or 6 meals to make for your week. The reason I suggest 5 or 6 meals instead of 7 is because you will probably have leftovers one night, or a night you don’t feel like cooking. If you plan for 7 meals and only make 5 some people tend to view that as a failure. It is not, and I will let you in on a little secret. When you see my menu plan each week, I guarantee that one of those meals will not make it to the table. We always have a carry over meal, either due to scheduling, sick kids, work schedules, or an abundance of leftovers. Last night we were supposed to have sloppy joes, we ended up having macaroni and cheese with smoothies, and we will eat the sloppy joes tonight. Plan for 5 meals and you won’t get discouraged.
Your week does not need to run from Sunday to Saturday, make your plan based on what works for your family. I tend to grocery shop on Tuesday or Wednesday, so my weeks usually run from Tuesday to Monday. I like to link up to Menu Plan Monday because it keeps me accountable. It is not a requirement to link up, however is is an amazing resource for finding new recipes and new blogs. There are weeks I don’t feel like menu planning, but knowing it is something people like to read on my site keeps me going when I don’t feel like doing it.
You can assign meals to specific days or just assign meals to a specific week. Personally, I come up with several meals for the week, but don’t plan out the days. I did in the past, but I found that our schedule changed so frequently that we would end up eating out because I wasn’t able to get the roast in the crock pot on time. In my fridge there are usually ingredients for 2 or 3 meals. I decide the night before or that morning what we are having for dinner. I also post it on a board in my kitchen so the family is aware of the meal plan as well.
Once you have created your plan, it is time to shop. Next week I will cover shopping, food storage, and sales, and stockpiling. If you have a post about those topics or you want to write one, I will add a MckLinky so you can link up with your post next week. There are so many great ideas for keeping a well stocked kitchen and getting your grocery budget under control, I am sure we can all benefit from each other.
Time for my 5 extra meals and sides.
- Bee Rocks
- Taco Bake (this looked so good I had to add it to our menu rotation!)
- Baked Ziti
- Tuna Casserole
- Wild Rice
- Cheesy Potatoes
- Baked Potatoes
- Sweet Potatoes
- Green Beans
- Corn on the cob