The other day my sister asked how I menu planned. I always have a plan and don't stress the nightly question...what's for dinner?
I try and menu plan a week in advance but have recently challenged myself to do 2 weeks at a time. I have a hard time shopping for two weeks, I always end up going back to the store for something I forgot, today I forgot the frozen spinach. It was on my list and everything. I have considered planning the menu then shopping for the first week one day and the next week another day but I really want to just go to the store once for the two weeks. I am working on it.
I believe its important to keep dinner simple but yummy not just for your self but to get the kids to eat. I have a couple rules I try and follow to keep my cost down and to make it easier for me and everyone involved. It doesn't matter if it's for 1 week or 2 these rules work for us.
I didn't just wake up one day and immediately had a plan that worked for my family. I had to experiment and and tried different things until I found what works for us best. These rules may not work for your family but hopefully it will give you a place to start when developing your own plan.
- Once a week we have a vegetarian meal - The Fiancee (formerly The BF) is not always a fan of this night but is a good sport and eats whatever I prepare.
- At least one crockpot night - sometimes we have three or 4 of them but I love my crockpots.
- One new recipe - sometimes no one likes the new recipe but we tried it and thats what counts.
- Tuesday's are the night the "pseudo" step-son cooks so that is kid friendly easy dinner night
- One family favorite - yummy dinner night; taco soup, hamburger soup, spaghetti, tomato soup, taco
- One pot meal - I like to do this a couple nights a week.
Those are the rules I use to decide whats for dinner but where do I get the recipes. Before I start looking for recipes I go through the pantry and freezer to see what I have on hand. I try to stock up on sale items we use a lot and I never buy meat unless its on sale.
After I figure out what I have I then find recipes from pinterst, cookbooks, websites or the ones I just know because I have been cooking them for 15 years.
- Monday: Corn Chowder (rule 1)
- Tuesday: Pineapple Chicken and Rice, Vegetables (rule 4)
- Wednesday: Creamy Ranch Pork Chops, Potatoes, Carrots (rule 5)
- Thursday: Hamburger Stew (rule 2)
- Friday: Turkey Stir Fry and Rice (rule 3)
- Saturday: Tacos, Chips (rule 2)
- Sunday: Turkey Noodle Soup (rule 6)
- Monday: Meatball Sliders, Vegetables (rule 3)
- Tuesday: Pigs in a Blanket, Mac n' Cheese, Beans (rule 4)
- Wednesday: Enchiladas, Rice, Vegetables (rule 5)
- Thursday: Italian "Wonderpot" (rule 1)
- Friday: Tomato Soup, Grilled Cheese (rule 2)
- Saturday: Quesdillas (rule 6)
- Sunday: Sub Sandwiches (we are actually eating out this night)
That is what we are having for dinner for the next two weeks.
Bonus tip: Be flexible if you are having one of those days were you want to run screaming into the night...pick up pizza on your way home. You can always have that nights dinner the following week.
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