Menu planning appeals to some and to others it is a huge nemesis! I find menu planning to be very helpful, especially when I was working outside the home. It was nice to just look at the menu (posted on the refrigerator) each morning and take what was needed for dinner that night out of the freezer. It also gave me the opportunity to look ahead and prepare anything needed in advance or alter the menu if needed.
We do not follow our menu to a ‘T’ but we do follow it fairly closely – you will most likely find crossed out meals or arrows going from one meal to another to denote a change in the menu. I also schedule nights for us to go out for dinner as we both enjoy dining out. Our meals are not gourmet meals. You will find simple dishes, left overs, crock pot meals, and frozen meals.
Menu planning can be a LARGE money saver! I use my menu to make my grocery list which makes for a very easy grocery shopping experience. Since I know exactly what I will be cooking for a month at a time there is very little ‘impulse buying’. At the beginning of a new menu I will shop for all of the non-perishable items for the entire month and then when I go to the grocery store each week I only have to pick up perishable items.
I also try to ‘stock up’ on items while they’re on sale, mostly meats, that way I have a fully stocked freezer and can make my menu using what is already in my freezer. I keep an inventory of what is in my freezer and pantry so that meal planning is even easier.
I find meal planning to be a time saver and a ‘no brainer’. There is no ‘what should I make for dinner tonight’?, no searching through the freezer or pantry trying to get ideas. I invest a couple hours once a month planning my menu using several resources I’ve made for myself over the years.
Organization is a great help in meal planning. I keep an inventory of my freezer and pantry and update it after using items and after grocery shopping.
I also keep an Excel document with ‘Common Meals’ that we enjoy (also included are side dishes & now breakfasts as well). This aids in ‘picking’ meals that we will be sure to enjoy.
You will find my menus under the category ‘Menus’. Hopefully, they will help you to begin (or continue) to create your own menus.
I hope that you find that you enjoy Menu Planning as much as I do and that you find that you save time and money along the way!