Thursday, July 7, 2011

Menu Planning Made Simple

This is a repost from my other blog- but it is has helped me so much with planning meals, that I thought I would share it again!

I have always struggled creating weekly dinner menus. It's not that I don't like the concept- I think planning ahead of time is essential in staying on top of things. I just always seem to draw a blank on what to prepare. I looked at what I had written down for the coming week- spaghetti, Hawaiian haystacks, soup & sandwiches, crock pot stew.... when I then had an organizational idea. Instead of creating dinner menus day to day, why not create 7 daily food themes (one for each day of the week) and then jot down lists of possible dinners.
For example, we eat a lot of Italian food. It seems like we eat spaghetti at least twice a week- and that gets old after awhile. So I created "Italian Thursday". I then wrote down all the Italian food that I love, and voila! I have a month's worth of Thursdays all planned! Seriously, menu planning became so much easier after I decided to create menu lists instead!
Here is our week in food: Crock Pot Sunday, Multi-Cultural Monday, Try Something New Tuesday, Wild Card Wednesday, Italian Thursday, Friday's Favorites, Soup, Salad and Sandwiches Saturday.
Roast/potatoes, stew, soups, chicken.... anything made in a crock pot!

There is SO many dinner ideas in this category! Enchiladas, tacos, ham fried rice, orange chicken, burritos, sushi, baklava, etc!!!
This is a day that I felt was important for my little family. I get stuck in the routine of making the same things over and over again- and I want my daughter to experience new foods (so she won't be a picky eater like her momma!) This will be the day where I open up the good ole recipe book and try something new! And if we like it- I can add it to our Friday's Favorite list!This will be the day where we might finish off some leftovers, or do something crazy like breakfast for dinner. (I love breakfast for dinner and I can see us doing this a lot- crepes, french toast, waffles, omelets, YUMMY!)
Love this day! I can serve up spaghetti, lasagna, pizza, fettuccine, panini, risotto, ravioli... there is 7 weeks of different Italian foods right there! No more spaghetti twice a week!
This is also known as pizza night :). But it can also be where we eat all our favorites...chili and corn bread, hawaiin haystacks, pizza, chicken pot pie, chicken caesar salad, etcI originally came up with this themed day in the fall but can easily be adapted to summer with the addition of salads and BBQs!

What I like about this plan is that it makes sense in my plan-a-holic brain. I always know what to expect for dinner on any given day, and if I am struggling for a menu item- I simply look at our theme and google for ideas! I just like that this provides some structure for planning a menu.
Here is a sample menu from January.

I dare you to try this and see how much easier planning a menu really is!

Happy EATING!!!


Mooners said...

Keri i love how organized you are. please organize my brain so my house and kids could have a chance to succeed :)

Triny Kay said...

love this idea!! i see so many people do things like this and i alwasys think i should try it....but i never do....i think i should start though =) thanks for posting this so now my bain can't use the excuse that it doesn't know how. i usually like to make a list of all the meals i want to try the next few weeks, then go grocery shopping and then i have all the ingredients and can cook whatever i'm in the mood for on that day....but somehow i always lost the list....maybe i shouldn't use scratch paper for them =)