Menu Planning Made Easy:
If you’ve been reading my recent posts you know that I’ve been on a journey of simplification, streamlining, and increased productivity and effectiveness. This week’s topic is menu planning. This has always been a painful process for me. I hate it. However, I hate wondering what I’m going to feed my family for dinner, MORE! I needed menu planning made easy.
So, I found a simple, yet effective way, to ensure I always have the right ingredients on hand. For me, I had to quit thinking of individual recipes to make. I had to break down my process even further than that into protein, veggie, starch. After all, those are the foundation for a proper meal, right? 😉
I had to think in terms of the over-all ingredients I needed and when to eat them. My family didn’t want to have chicken two days in a row or broccoli two nights in a row etc. I wanted to break things up and add variety to my simplistic menu. This simplicity allowed me to be as creative, or lazy, as I wanted to be with my individual recipes. Simplicity has allowed me the security of knowing that I have the food items I need, and the creativity to fly by the seat of my pants, which I enjoy.
I grocery shop twice a month. I only do this because it coincides with our paychecks. If we were paid monthly or weekly I would probably shop monthly or weekly. It’s really whatever works for your family and your unique situation. Because I only shop twice a month my weekly menu’s look the exact same.
My weekly menu looks like this:
Monday: Pork chops, Vegetable, Quinoa
Tuesday: Spaghetti & Meatballs
Wednesday: Left Overs
Thursday: Chicken, Brown Rice, Vegetable
Friday: Steak, Potatoes, Salad
Saturday: Salmon, Vegetable, Quinoa
Sunday: Roast, Carrots, Potatoes
The 2nd week is the same thing! On Sunday’s we normally have this roast for lunch after church and left-overs for dinner. We also have leftovers, lunch meat sandwiches, or salads for lunch. For our breakfasts, we do things the easy way! This means cereal, toast, and peanut butter, or a quick fried egg. If I’m able to get eggs on sale I will buy a few dozen and make mini quiches with the veggies that I also find on sale. These are great, quick bites that my husband loves!
Our meals shouldn’t be the bane of our existence. We can make this easy! Take our Monday night meal for example. I can do a million and three things with a pork chop! I can grill it, fry it, bread and bake it, just to name a few! Your vegetable could be canned peas, frozen broccoli, or a fresh salad. You have options! This also can cut down on your grocery bill because you can shop the sales a little easier.
I know not everyone is a fan of seafood. With my husband and I both being from Alaska, we enjoy a well-cooked Salmon. I will be posting my favorite salmon recipe soon! Salmon could easily be replaced with a rack of lamb, lamb roast, turkey burgers, hamburgers, hot dogs, meatloaf, another chicken dish, a pasta dish like lasagna. Again, you have options!
So yes, every Monday we eat pork chops and every Tuesday we eat spaghetti & meatballs and every Wednesday we have leftovers because Wednesdays are notoriously busy for us! We have been eating this menu style for a few months now and my family hardly even notices that we eat a pork dish every Monday!
In turn, this menu style makes it EXTREMELY easy. By this menu, I know that I need at least 4 pounds of chicken for two weeks; I like having leftovers to send with my son and husband for lunches. I know I need one large salmon filet, 2 pounds of hamburger, and some vegetable options, depending on what’s on sale. You can create a grocery list template and use it for each grocery visit and add what you need for that particular trip. It makes shopping much for quick and effective. Especially when you’re shopping with an 18-month-old!
This menu style might just simply your life, give it a try and let me know what you think!