Monday, September 22, 2008

Menu Planning

In my latest effort to cut costs, I have had menu planning on my to do's for about a week. I have been putting it off, doing random internet searches on the subject mostly, but I haven't actually planned one yet. I usually just fix whatever sounds good, or whatever the kids want (with in reason). Javi will usually say chicken or pasta.

After my investigation, most say to plan your menu around the store fliers that come in the mail. You plan according to what's on sale. That can be challenging for us, because I try to cook fairly healthy as much as possible, and the stuff on special isn't usually organic, unless I am buying from the health food store. Today was a good day to shop organic (which is why I went), there was an organic sale at our local health food store, Henry's. A lot of their organic produce and organic packaged items were on sale. I definitely noticed a difference. I had a full cart and it was $89. I really spread it around and got a mix of meat, veg, frozen and packaged, so I felt like it was a good variety. That will be our food for the week. I should be able to make a roast, make a stew out of leftovers and make some pasta and tonight we are having a chicken and veg stuffing casserole.

I love Robin Miller's show on the food network because she really deals with the concept of menu planning. Making extra portions and banking items for later in the week to use for a different recipe. Unfortunately, I hardly ever get to watch the whole show, if at all because it comes on when I have to pick up Ethan. Fortunately, all the recipes are available on the website I linked to. reason for the post was to ask all of you how you plan or if you plan your menus for your family for the week. Do you have any interesting tips, tricks or resources that you use? Email me or post a comment with your response. I will share all your answers in a post.



JSmith5780 said...

I STINK at this exact thing. Of course with Jeff working at least two week nights and me having something at least one week night, it's no wonder! Plus, add picky kids into the mix... two that won't eat any meat, other than breaded chicken nuggets, and virtually no veggies :(

~Mama Skates~ said...

i was just talking to curtis about this a couple days ago - we really stink at planning meals & i'm always trying to figure out what to fix & wasting time/money making extra trips to the store....i'd love to hear some of the helpful responses u get from this post (not like my useless comment ~lol~)

baby trevor's mommy said...

hmmm...since I'm not good at the meal planning thing either...I guess we're all just waiting for you to come up with the perfect system! *smile*

Although I did buy a great little cookbook recently. It's a onedish book! I love easy!

And I ran across a crockpot blog. I love my crockpot too!

Molli Salzman said...

I actually HATE, rather LOATHE, the question, "What's for dinner?" With 3 kids, a part time job, and nursing school--I am WAY busy. It seems like I am always popping in something last minute that is not healthy.

I purchased a book 2 weeks ago called once a month cooking by Mary Beth Lagerborg. Actually, I purchased 2 cookbooks but with the same concept. I know, I was not a believer--until I tried it. I sat down and made a list of EVERYTHING! I let my husband(who can be picky) pick out recipes. I made pot roast, chicken soup, ham and bean soup, broccoli and chicken, shredded beef tacos, etc. to total about 13 recipes. I doubled all of them and filled out my calendar and left open Friday and Saturday. That way, we have open days if something is going on or whatever. I took me a total of 8-9hours on a Sunday to complete it all! I have a deep freezer and so far, I love, love, LOVE not having to answer that question and not be creative. I am SO much less stressed. I know, it sounds painful(it did to me) TRUST me--it really works. Fixing dinner for about an hour every night or getting it done all in one day.
I shopped for all of my ingredients the day before and it cost me around $250.00 but I only went to one store and next time, I hope to be more cost effective.

Go to to get ideas.

I just stocked up on freezer bags!

Give it a try, it will change your life(Wow, I sound like an infomercial, don't I?! LOL)

Shanna Grimes said...

Thanks everyone for your input. I will post all the finds and comments in a day or two.

Monica, James, Connor McGuire said...

Hi! I found your blog through Trevor's. Hope you don't mind me lurking. =) Here is a site that a friend of mine sent to me that gives you a month of recipes, and each week it gives you a grocery list. Most of the, are very few ingredients. I know I waste alot of money on just buying random things, not knowing what I will fix everynight. The recipes are pretty kid friendly too. Hope you enjoy!

Monica, James, Connor McGuire said...

duh, i forgot to leave the link....tired mommy brain!!!