October 17, 2011

Menu Planning

When we were first married, I brought up menu planning to The Man. After all, it's the popular thing to do (if you're a blog reader, it seems that everyone does it!) There are tons of cute ideas and printables to help make this chore easier.  And as a newly married women, I was eager to jump in with two feet.  The Man, not so much.  He didn't want to be locked into a meal plan, even after I described that we didn't have to be locked in.  So no meal planning for me. Instead we stocked up on our staples at Costco and the Commissary.  Our staples may not be your staples...ours include diced tomatoes, tomato paste, cranberry juice, chicken breast, ground beef, pork, chicken broth, flour, noodles, onions, potatoes, carrots, celery...you get the idea.  There is lots you can do with these items.  And it worked for us.

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One kink in our system was when I wanted to try a new recipe I would often have to buy some of the ingredients just for that recipe.  If I didn't use it all it would often go to waste.  Then I feel bad.  I hate wasting food.  I've lived in countries where hunger was a very real issue that was visible (I know it's an issue here in the US but I don't think it's as easily seen as it is in some other countries).

Then last week happened.  Since I had been gone and no food shopping had been done, we didn't have a lot to work with.  Money had been spent on other things and while we still had some, I didn't want to spend more than we needed to on food.  So I made a meal plan to maximize food usage and saving money.  It worked GREAT! I decided on what meals we wanted and then got what we needed just for those recipes.  During the week we decided what we wanted to eat when.  The end result...we enjoyed our meals AND saved money AND had the flexibility. SCORE!  The Man is now on board.

I've started a master list of recipes/meals we enjoy so I can pull from that. I'm excited because I think this will help us enjoy those meals that I forget about and it will be easier to try new recipes.  We're also looking to save some money and I know this will help!

Do you  meal plan?
What are some of your favorite meals/recipes?
Any tips for a newbie meal planner?


  1. Yup, we menu plan. I have a white board, so it's easy to change out the menu if we don't feel like chicken on Tuesday (or if I forget to defrost something). I normally cook from a cookbook or a recipe I made up, so I have codes for the recipes on the white board, too (so I know which recipe to use). OccDoc doesn't really care what I make for dinner because he likes pretty much everything I make (not brussel sprouts though). I love menu planning because there's nothing worse than standing in the middle of the kitchen drawing a blank on what to make for dinner.

  2. We do menu plan too. It makes life so much easier when both of us are busy with work and whatnot. And we don't need to walk endlessly in the grocery store trying to figure out what to eat tonight.
    I usually do menu plan on Friday night for the next week, and we do grocery shopping on Saturday or Sunday.
    Typically we have soup at least once a week, as well as pasta, and chicken. Hubby also loves steak, so we that's often on the menu as well. And salads basically every day....

  3. I'm looking forward to not drawing a blank on dinner anymore!

  4. I do meal plan but with flexibility. I plan about 2 weeks of meals and include a few days for left overs. Then I buy all I need for those meals during those 2 weeks. I try to stick to the schedule but often I'll choose a different meal from the schedule to make. At least I've got everything I need! Every year I actually buy a specific calendar that has a special block on each day to put what's for dinner. Very helpful!

  5. I love meal planning! I try to make things that use similar ingredients for that week to help with shopping. And, I only buy what is on my list which also helps with cost. Plus, it's just fun!

  6. Love it. I tried more official planning for a week at a time, but it didn't last long. I do better planning for a couple specific recipes at a time.


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