A Wife Loved Like The Church

Monthly menu planning

Posted on: November 3, 2009

Whoa! I gotta say I’m excited at how excited everyone has been about my No Cook November! Hopefully all you ladies (and gents) will be inspired and start your own No Cook month and open up a little more time for yourselves.

My friend, Leah, asked me how I was liking NCN this afternoon.

I love it!

Hands down.

I know I’m only on day two, but there is something about having dinner “done” by 10 am that makes a girl smile.

Anyways, I thought I’d share what I do to plan for a month of meals.

We have a large monthly calendar that hangs on our fridge. At the end of every month I write up next months meals (ok, ok, I confess, I have waited until the month starts before planning). First things first, I see what we have planned for the month and assign the easiest meals for the hardest days. Thursdays are killers around here. Jonathan has work and then class and I have the girls all day till my Body Attack class. So, I usually make bean and cheese tacos, salad or spaghetti on these days. Our babysitter never complains, so I keep it really simple.

After all my easy meals are on the calendar, I start filling in.

With a red pen.

Red on my calendar always means food.

I did that as a way to make the meal stand out, catch the eye and hope that people would want to join us for dinner.

And just so you know, you can always join us for dinner.

Always.

Anyways…. back to my planning.

I will put down oldies but goodies.

I will put down surprises (Jonathan loves him some steak!).

I will put down something more adventurous (i.e. time consuming).

If I plan to use chicken one night (for a soup or stir fry), I will plan to thaw extra to use two night later. The same night I thaw it, I grill it on my Foreman (LOVE my Foreman) and use the grilled chicken for a salad or something two days later. A sample week might look like this:

– Turkey tenderloin with potatoes and veggies
– Tex Mex lasagna
– Turkey salad (using leftover turkey from Monday)
– Spaghetti (using leftover ground beef from Tuesday)
– Bean and cheese tacos (a staple for my family!!)

I have several “healthier” cookbooks that I take ideas from, but I love All Recipes and have gotten some amazing recipes from them.

I plan to eat leftovers or sandwiches on the weekends, as we tend to be on the go and need food that is quickly reheated and doesn’t take much time to cook.

As for getting good deals on food….

I plan ahead.

Way ahead.

Like buying 40 pounds of ground beef and chicken ahead.

When Fareway runs an amazing deal on meats, I buy it and freeze it. I might not have pork on the menu this month, but it will be on next month’s! Example: Monday Wal-Mart was marking down a lot of meat that was coming up on it’s use/freeze by date. So I bought a lot. I mean A LOT. I have no plans to use it this month (with the exception of a few things), but I will set out to use it over the next few months. I don’t worry so much about saving 50 cents on sour cream or that sort of stuff, so I’ve stopped really running around town looking for the best deals. I won’t move around meals because potatoes are on sale this week but I don’t have them on the schedule till next week. I figure if it’s going to save me lots of money (like $5 plus) then I will budge. But I’m way too lazy to buy something that is on sale when it’s inconvenient for me.  On the other hand, it’s nice knowing what we’re having at the end of the month when pasta sauce goes on sale. I buy it and save it for three weeks.

So, that’s pretty much what I do. It’s not too hard and after a couple of months is really quite easy. I love it. I love having everything planned out and ready to go. Makes life that much simpler.

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2 Responses to "Monthly menu planning"

Hey!! The crock pot idea is AWESOME! I seriously forget I have one, but man….how nice to not have dishes in the evening, and get to smell it all day….yum! This might be a great idea for me, since I work nights, and I DREAD cooking the nights I then have to rush off to work. Thanks!!!

This is awesome Sarah, thanks so much for sharing! I’m excited to continue using the crock pot. This week I made the Autumn Sausage Casserole and Chicken Tortilla soup. The casserole dried up a little but the soup looks great. Yea fall!

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