One of the best things I’ve implemented in the last year is to plan a weekly dinner menu. The weekly menu helps me in a number of ways:
1) It lets me grocery shop in advance, rather than stopping at the store every day for just one or two items I need for each meal.
2) It helps me utilize what I have that needs to be used or can be used.
3) If I have a plan that I know I can follow, my family is more likely to get a meal than told “grab a sandwich”. And I’m a lot less likely to say we’re ordering pizza or eating out, if I have it all planned in advance. I hate thinking of meals last minute, so if I plan ahead, I know when in my day I need to prep or start something, rather than realizing at 3pm that I have no idea what’s for dinner!
This has become even more important as Brianna has started adding weekly evening activities to her schedule. On Mondays and Wednesdays she has swimming and gymnastics respectively, so I know that I won’t be home to put dinner in the oven/take it out, so I can plan to have crockpot meals those days, or leftovers. Some days, I will leave a blank in my menu mid to late week, if I want to try to take advantage of whatever sale they’ll be having at the grocery store, whose sales change on Wednesdays.
One thing about the weekly menus, though, is that they’re adaptable. I would guess I often have one day a week that I change, because something in our schedule, groceries or motivation changed. Last week, for instance, I had planned leftovers for Wednesday, but Monday’s leftovers got left on the counter (I was so sad!) and Tuesday’s meal was a complete fail. So I had to come up with a meal for Wednesday. Don’t feel like your menu planning is failing if you have to change on the fly, just look at it as a guideline rather than an absolute.
Jane said she’d like to have a weekly menu thread, and since Sundays are the day I plan my menu, I’ll be sharing mine here on (most) Sundays. My menus run from Sunday to Saturday. Please share yours in the comments!
Sunday: Hashbrown ham quiche (I have leftover ham that needs to be used. I’ll make this and freeze the rest of the ham for a future meal).
Monday: Burritos w/spanish rice (usually this would be a crockpot meal, but I made and froze carnita meat a few weeks ago, so I only need to throw it in the oven to heat it)
Tuesday: Parmesan-crusted tilapia (frozen, from Sam’s club), green beans, baked potatoes and fresh bread
Wednesday: Alfredo w/chicken, salad and leftover bread
Thursday: Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving gets a menu of its own so we’ll do a separate post to talk about Thanksgiving.
Friday: Leftovers. I’m shopping on Black Friday NOT cooking.
Saturday: Turkey Tetrazinni (I’m sure I spelled that wrong)
One thing I want to say about this menu is that it only has one day of leftovers. Often my menu has two days of leftovers, some days I actually plan ahead to eat out. But a lot of times these days, we don’t have leftovers for dinner because 1) with another person in the house, there are no leftovers or 2) that other person (my brother) and I eat them for lunch. So don’t feel like you must have a new meal every day. Use your leftovers for another meal! Ready? Your turn!