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Menu Planning

menu.jpgOne of my goals for 2007 is to start menu planning again. I used to make a menu plan on a monthly basis and was quite obsessive about it, but since we moved to our new house and added another baby to the family, my old menu planning habits have fallen by the wayside. These days, dinner is usually planned about an hour before we actually eat it. I hate not being organized about menu planning, so I’m going to give it a whirl again. This time around, I’m going to be a little less ambitious and instead of a monthly plan, work on a bi-weekly basis. I’ll be planning for the 1st through 16th and the 17th through the end of the month.

Why do I want to make a menu plan?

1) Menu planning, if done correctly, should save us money. It should eliminate those last minute runs to the grocery store for one or two things that inevitably end up with a cart load of spontaneous purchases. Hopefully I can stick to my bi-weekly grocery store run and just send hubby to the store for perishables when we need them. (He seems to be immune to the need to make spontaneous grocery purchases!) It also reduces the number of times we go out to eat just because I haven’t made dinner. This way, when we go out to eat we’ll be able to plan for it and go to a restaurant worth eating out at, versus just going to the closest or quickest option.

2) I post my menu where the entire family can see it, so this should eliminate the constant “What’s for dinner” questions from everyone who can read.

3) Menu planning saves time. It streamlines the process for me so I can plan ahead the night before. Get meat out of the freezer that needs thawed out, chop up veggies ahead of time if I have a free moment, etc.

Here’s what I have planned for the first half of January:

Monday 1/1 – Chicken Marsala

Tuesday 1/2 – Coq Au Vin

Wednesday 1/3 – Melt in your Mouth Pot Roast

Thursday 1/4 – Chicken with Red Pepper Sauce

Friday 1/5 – Southwest Pizza

Saturday 1/6 – Family Christmas (Pulled pork, ham, turkey)

Sunday 1/7 – Juicy Grilled Burgers

Monday 1/8 – Jacob’s Birthday – eat out at restaurant of his choice (please not McDonald’s!)

Tuesday 1/9 – BBQ Crusted Roughy

Wednesday 1/10 – Swedish Meatballs

Thursday 1/11 – Chicken Parmesan

Friday 1/12 – Oven BBQ Pork Tenderloin

Saturday 1/13 – Pesto Halibut

Sunday 1/14 – Dijon Chicken and Spinach

Monday 1/15 – Italian Meatloaf

Tuesday 1/16 – Herbed Chicken Breast

Wednesday 1/17 – Teriyaki Pork Roast

Well, there you have it. A half of months worth of meals planned. I’ll work on the sides a little later on, but they typically consist of salad, veggies and sometimes pasta or potatoes. I was going to link to all of the recipes for you here, but I just don’t have time tonight. If you are interested in any of the recipes, just let me know and I’ll be happy to forward them on to you!

Do you menu plan? What does a menu planning session look like for you? How often do you plan your menus and why do you do it? Do you have any tips for making the process more manageable? If so, let me know. I’d love to hear from you!

 

One week ago today we dined on Chicken Enchiladas and Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies.

Over at our family blog, I dished about The Santa Clause Behavior Modification Program.

 

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Comments

  1. Kristen, I was so thrilled about this post since menu planning has been on my mind for quite a while now! I haven’t done it yet, but I intend to – seriously – just like you, starting after the holidays.

    I don’t have any experience on it, but I really want to make it work. Maybe I’ll come back here later, to share info with you.

  2. As you know, I’ve tried meal planning before and LOVE the concept and practicality of it. But, I never got it down to an art, to where it really worked great for me. I think that part of that is because I’m single and vegetarian and only cook for myself. I might try it again at some point but need some more tips first. That’s why I’m so excited to be able to follow your progress with this. I know you will do great!

  3. Hi Kristen, thanks for coming by my site! I saw your post about menu planning and just wanted to invite you to join menu plan monday anytime. We loved to have you. Laura (orgjunkie)

  4. You linked perfectly! Thanks for joining in.
    Laura

  5. Great menu. You are very organized :) !! I will definitely have to check out some of your recipes.

  6. I generally have an idea when I set out to the Farmer’s Market…and then I usually get sidetracked.

    This week it was brussel sprouts. I had never seen them still on the stalk! They were fabulous and looked like a huge bouquet of flowers…albeit little tiny round green alien ones.

    Tried them pan roasted…terrific!

  7. You are truly an inspiration! I thought I was doing well getting a weekly menu planned, let alone trying to plan an entire month! I usually go through my cupboards, fridge, freezer and make a list, then I enlist my husband and make him tell me what he wants to eat for dinner! This works the best, because I can veto what I don’t like and I know he will eat what I plan! Could you post the Pot Roast recipe, and the Coq Au Vin please….

  8. WOW! YOu are industrious! Very impressive!
    I will have to ask you for some of those recipes for sure.

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