We’re bringing back the menu plan feature to Frugal Living NW. Each Monday, the four of us (and hopefully some of our readers!) will take turns sharing our weekly menu plans with you! I know, you can hardly contain your excitement. I, for one, love reading what other people are eating for dinner. I also like to watch what people are buying in the grocery store and try to figure out what they are going to make with it. I know, I am easily amused.
For you normal folks out there, you may be thinking : “Seriously? Posting your dinner plans? That’s just… strange.” Remember, though, we are also the people who post pictures of our groceries. Couponers take strange to a whole new level.
For those of you who create weekly (or monthly!) menu plans, you know how simple and brilliant it is. I’ve been doing it for three years now, and I stick with it for several reasons:
- It cuts down, if not completely eliminates, that 5 o’clock my-family-is-starving-and-I-don’t-have-a-clue-what-to-make-for-dinner panic. It also helps with prep work. Don’t you hate forgetting to pull out the crock pot or defrost meat until it’s too late for dinner?
- It streamlines grocery shopping. With store ads and coupons on one side and my laptop and cookbooks on the other, I write out a menu plan and a shopping list at the same time. It takes me about 20-30 minutes on a Sunday night or Monday morning. I usually do my grocery shopping on Wednesdays. No more running to the store multiple times a week for one or two items. Fewer impulse buys and forgotten ingredients.
- It brings variety to the dinner table. Menu planning is the best way to beat that Meatloaf on Mondays theme and the boring dinner rut where so many of us get stuck.
- It saves money by creating menus based on your stockpile and store sales and seasons.
For those of you who haven’t started creating weekly menu plans, take the plunge! You can do it, and what better time to start than a fresh year. Come up with a system that works for you. You don’t have to plan on Mondays. Do it on your payday or grocery shopping day. You don’t have to do a full week. Start with two or three days at a time. Keep at it for a few weeks until you see the benefits for yourself!
Here’s what’s hitting the dinner table in my house this week:
Monday – Simple Roast Chicken, baked potatoes, steamed green beans
Tuesday – Tex-Mex Chicken Salad (using leftover Roast Chicken), tortillas, fresh fruit
Wednesday – Cheddar Corn Chowder, Buttermilk Biscuits, fresh fruit
Thursday – Leftovers
Friday – Dinner Out
Sunday – Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Tomato Soup, apple slices
Ready for more inspiration? Check out the Menu Plan Monday link-up at I’m an Organizing Junkie!
Leave a comment! Do you use menu plans? What are the benefits for your family/budget? What are your favorite recipe sites? Anyone ready to start menu planning for the first time in 2011?
This post may contain affiliate links. See the disclosure policy for more information.