We have a busy week ahead of us. Having a menu plan (and actually creating a shopping list around that plan) helps keep me on track.
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 several 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! 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 for dinner at my house this week:
Monday — Coconut Red Lentil Soup, Raw Tuscan Kale Salad
Tuesday — Dinner Out
Wednesday — Warm Butternut Squash & Chickpea Salad, No-Knead Bread, fruit
Thursday — Quinoa & Black Beans, tortillas
Friday — Frittata (omit ham), roasted sweet potatoes, fruit
Saturday — Greek Pizza, green salads
Sunday — Leftovers
Find more great recipes on Frugal Living NW! Find more frugal homemaking posts here. Find past menu plans here.
What are you making for dinner this week? Be sure to leave a link to any recipes in the comments!
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Meal planning is one of the top 3 things our household couldn’t run without. A couple hints that made it really work for us: 1) I write our planned meals on a calendar, then write my shopping list (I use a template with each column as a different aisle of the store), then organize my coupons to use for that trip. We shop primarily at Safeway, so I do this on Tuesday when the deals are listed. 2) We started rating each new recipe we try on a scale of 1-5 before it even goes into our recipe box. Anything below a 3 is tossed, anything 4 or 5 is saved with notes. That way, I always have favorite recipes in the box to rely on for menu planning weeks that are hectic.
I can’t imagine preparing meals every day without a menu plan to refer to.
This week we’re having one of our favorites, oven-fried chimichangas: