Monday, November 16, 2009

meal plan monday

yup! it’s back. i have no idea why i quit doing these, but i think it was a bad idea. i like getting ideas from other people about what their families eat for dinner, so i guess i figure they might enjoy seeing what we eat.

so, without further ado, here we go this week!

  • monday: meatloaf; peas; mashed potatoes
  • tuesday: loaded baked potatoes; salad
  • wednesday: chicken noodle soup; cheese & crackers
  • thursday: pot roast; potatoes; carrots
  • friday: pizza; green beans (duh)
  • saturday: leftovers
  • sunday: waffles; sausages

so there you go. sadly, i have yet to do my shopping. UGH! ::dislike dislike dislike:: i figure i’ll do it tomorrow afternoon when shane’s at his science class, since i have the stuff for dinner tonight (and he’s the catalyst for making a truly hellish shopping trip). i think i’ll get what i can at costco, since i have to go there to pick up a few things on the list anyway… may as well see if i can get as many things as i can there.

people are frequently surprised when i mention that i plan menus every week. honestly, i can’t imagine NOT doing it. okay, i can, because there have been times (hellish, disorganized times where ate a lot of mac and cheese or made multiple trips to the store – you can guess how well i liked that!) that i didn’t plan our meals. but pretty much, since dave and i have been married, i’ve planned meals. it makes things SO much easier. the thought of NOT doing it now is just bizarre to me. i guess i kind of depend on it. for one thing, i’m not the kind of person who has the sort of cooking repertoire that i can open a cupboard and throw things together. for another, if i go to the store without a list, i wander aimlessly and attempt to come up with good ideas, but can never remember recipes well enough to get everything, or i’ll buy something we already have at home, or not buy something i thought we did have at home. in other words, not planning is just a big ole mess!

if you’re not in the habit of doing this, let me give you a couple tips. if someone as domestically and organizationally challenged as me can make this work, so can you.

  • print off a blank calendar page and stick it on the fridge or other OBVIOUS surface in the kitchen. i use these ones: i used to use the ones that were totally blank, but i’ve decided that it’s nice to have the dates and holidays already listed since it reminds me if there’s something obvious, like thanksgiving, coming up.
  • look at your regular calendar before you plan. this way you know what nights are ‘normal’ nights and which ones will have family members absent, or if you won’t be home at all, etc. i know that mondays and wednesdays right now need to be meals that are a little lighter and less involved, since dave and shane both scoot off to soccer practice at 5:30. we also eat earlier those nights so whatever i’m making has to be done sooner than usual.
  • make your shopping list at the same time you make your menu plan. look in your cupboards/pantry, fridge and freezer as you’re doing this. use stuff you already have, especially if it’s something that will go bad. make sure you look at your recipes to see if there’s some obscure ingredient you forgot about that you need to buy.
  • think about having weekly staples. we have pizza on fridays and we have breakfast for dinner every sunday. this gives you a few ‘no-brainer’ nights, because it is seriously hard to come up with 7 yummy and creative meals every week. you WILL burn out, and those staples can be a lifesaver.
  • consider making double or triple batches of things like casseroles and soups. if you’re already cooking one, it’s not that much harder to make two and then freeze one. the library has loads of books on ‘freezer cooking’ or ‘once a month’ cooking that have tips for stuff like this and recipes that lend themselves well to freezing. i haven’t gotten that far into it, but it’s just common sense to make extra and have a freezer full of meals you can pull out in a pinch or when you’re having one of those burn-out weeks where you can’t think of anything that sounds good. i wish i’d made this a habit earlier. i would have loved having a freezer full of stuff when i was newly pregnant and the thought of everything made me turn green.
  • if you get stuck, ask your family if there’s anything they’re craving lately. although, if your husband is like mine, you might get the answer ‘food’ more often than you’d like.
  • finally, keep your menus. i have a stack of them on my fridge, behind the current month, going all the way back to january of last year. this also, can be a lifesaver when you can’t seem to think of anything. you can also make notes on them if you try a new recipe. sometimes a new recipe will totally bomb – either no one liked it or it was too hard to make or whatever. you can make a note to NEVER make it again, so you won’t find yourself flipping through the same cook book and thinking, again, that that recipe might sound good. NO! on the other hand, there might be a new recipe that went over really well, and you can put stars or smiley faces or whatever cheesy notation you want on it so you remember to put it into your family’s rotation of favorites.

i hope that’s helpful. feel free to comment with questions or advice of things that have worked for you! happy meal planning!


  1. Do you do the whole binder thing or just the blank calendar pages? There is some crazy stuff on there! :)

  2. i just use the calendar pages. that just happens to be where i found a printable i liked.



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