I decided to start sharing these on my blog as well. If you’ve never really heard/thought about meal planning before, here is a blog with some great info and ideas about it: MenuPlanning Monday. Basically, I make our family a little menu. I do it twice a month, because that’s when Chad gets paid. Here are some of the reasons I make meal plans:
1. Save money because (1.) You can plan your menus based around sales if you want to and (2.) you won’t over buy as much and you’ll have a specific purpose for everything that you purchase.
2. Save time because you can plan better. Remember to prep meals that need a bit of prep, but save time in the long run (like crock pot meals…they are simple, and don’t require a lot of prep, but not a last minute meal, you have to plan for it).
3. Save stress because you don’t have those 5:00 “What’s for dinner” moments that happen daily in my house otherwise. I love sitting down to plan my meals all at once and then not having to think about it as much afterwards. It’s also great for trying out new recipes, you can just add those into your menu. You can also plan your menu to account for busy times. Sundays at lunch time are always hard for us because we get home from church at around 12:30-1:00. So, on those days I either plan a crockpot meal that can cook all morning while we’re gone, or I plan something on Saturday that will make good leftovers (pork roast turned into stew or bbq, etc.)
And, with just a little bit of prep, you can freeze meals so that you can have no prep, healthy meals available to your family. And, if something comes up and your plans change now and then, it’s no biggie.
Another tip I learned the hard way is to account for leftovers. For one of my menus, Chad looked at it and laughed at me for scheduling “leftovers” from the previous day. But, you have to eat them sometime! lol. In my first menus I got a little overzealous and planned a complete new meal for lunch and supper every day. That didn’t work out very well because we ended up with a ton of leftovers and some things that were ruined/wasted, etc. So, account for leftovers, even if you do something different with them.
We’re pretty simple around here, but I thought I’d go ahead and share my upcoming menu anyway. Look for some recipes after I get pics to go with them. I usually try out a new recipe at least once a week. Mommyhood is calling me, so I just got through the first week.
Lunch–Chicken Noodle Casserole (I’m making this from leftover Cornish Game Hens that we had on Saturday)
Supper–I have night class, so it will be a leftover night for Chad and Caeden. Either chicken noodle casserole or lasagna.
Lunch: Chicken Parmesan Garlic Bread w/ Salad (this is a simple new recipe I’ve been wanting to try);
Supper: Pork Roast w/ potatoes & carrots, green beans.
Lunch: Beef pot pie (this is a quick meal b/c I’m using beef roast leftovers that I froze w/ some broth)
Supper: Pork Stew or pork BBQ sandwiches (using leftover pork roast from Tuesday)
Lunch: BBQ ribs, baked potato, broccoli
Supper: meatloaf w/ green beans & potatoes, mac & cheese casserole. (I have a night class on Thursday as well, so I froze some meatloaf the last time I made it for a quick and easy meal). I can prepare the mac & cheese casserole and then Chad can heat up the rest of it.
Supper: Date Night for Chad and me, leftovers for Caeden.
Lunch: Angel hair pasta w/ chicken, broccoli, tomatoes
Supper: Cheeseburgers, homemade french fries, baked beans
Lunch: Spaghetti, salad and garlic bread
Supper: Small Group (appetizers–homemade salsa w/ chips and strawberry cream horn dessert)
A lot of people only plan for supper/dinner, but Chad comes home for an hour lunch nearly every day so I plan for both.