Every week the night before I go to the grocery store I spend some time menu planning. I have done this for years. I want to go to the store once in a week. I don’t want to have to go back and get something. I also don’t want to limit my meal plans based on what I got on a whim, or what I have in my pantry.
Now don’t get me wrong there are times when I still make pantry meals. There are times when I have to go back to the store because I forgot something or I ran out of something I didn’t expect to run out of before shopping again.
So here is my must have Monday items for menu planning. First thing I grab is a pad of paper. I like the small/junior legal pads. They tend to be the perfect size for my list and then I can fold it up and put it in my pocket. Yes, I know that I could make the list on my phone, but doing it this way is the way I do it. Plus I can have others add to the list without them touching my phone.
I divide the paper down the middle on the left hand side I write all the items I am getting at the store. I even write the staples that I get each week. My list typically starts: milk, fruit, veggies, deli.
On the right hand list I write the days of the week and start picking out meals for dinner. i do not plan lunches or breakfasts. These meals are all fend for yourself at my house. If you want something for one of these meals that we don’t already have you need to put the item on the left side of the list or let me know so I can write it down.
I tend to make simpler meals for the week nights. There are many nights that Richard doesn’t get home from work until around 7pm. The boys and I do not wait until then to eat so the foods either need to be either easy to reheat or remake. The weekends (F, S, S) are the days I’ll put more energy into eating. Now that doesn’t mean that I don’t cook during the week, they are just easier to put together.
The summer months mean more grilling and more simple meals. Who wants to put the oven on or slave over a stove when its in the 90s outside??
We purchase a good chunk of meats at Costco so I will go down and see what meats we have in the freezer before planning. That doesn’t mean I am limited to those meats, but then I don’t have to buy new meats if we have them.
I always ask for meal suggestions. Blake typically says: quesadillas, pressed sandwiches, pizza or tacos. Colby typically asks for: burgers, steak, pancakes or pasta. Richard’s thoughts are a bit more random.
I typically make things we have had before, but I have an extensive Pinterest board with foods to try. Every now and then I will say… time for something new.
This week we are having:
- grilled ham and pineapple
- steak, grilled fries, and salad
- chicken something (I pulled out chicken, but don’t know what we are having with it yet)
That’s as far as I got. I’m slacking this week! Oh well we will get there.
Do you menu plan? How do you go about menu planning each week?