Friday, May 18, 2012

Menu Planning

I figured a fitting follow up to my post on grocery shopping would to discuss how I handle menu planning.  I must say this is something I have had a hard time figuring out.  I don't think I ever planned a menu during the entirety of my first marriage.  I would just go to the store and buy things that could make up a meal with no real idea what I was going to make.  And then I would discover that I didn't have all the stuff I needed to make whatever meal I decided on so I would either run to the store again or scrap the meal all together.

Honestly, I have only really heard about menu planning in the last couple of years because several of the bloggers I follow post their menu plans on their blogs.  Seeing these posts got me thinking.  So I decided to try my hand at menu planning.  I don't remember when I started exactly.  Some time before Jackson was born I think.  But I didn't really start being diligent about it till I went back to work from maternity leave.  We needed to watch our budget a little closer and menu planning was a great way to help cut our grocery spending.

At first I would do weekly plans which required a weekly trip to the store and I spend most of my weekend working on my plan, looking at grocery ads, and clipping coupons.  This was super time consuming and I hated going to the store every week.  Some weekends my trip to the store would be the only time I got out of the house and away from the baby all weekend.  It was exhausting.

So I decided to take a stab at another method of menu planning this month.  It has worked pretty well so far although it still needs some tweaking to work perfectly for my family.  What I did was print out a blank calendar and fill in the days of the month.  Then I selected a recipe for every other day of the month.  I alternated crock pot meals and casseroles so we have the dishes available when we needed them.  This plan also allows for a little flexibility.  We can shift recipes around based on our schedule or if we want to go out to eat one night.

I plan to fully implement this method once school starts back in the fall since we won't be cooking for the whole family this summer.  I will be selecting recipes that are easy to feed two during the summer and will start rotating back in our favorite recipes once Sean comes home.  Now I'd love to hear how other people plan their menus to see if there are any other ideas I should try.

1 comment:

andreaunplugged said...

Your method is pretty much what I do. I pick a few things I want to make for the week and make a list of all the ingredients I need to buy. I usually also try to generally plan when I'll have leftovers for lunch, or what will make enough for leftovers and freezing some (I'm not god at cooking only for 2 for some reason).