- When it is time for dinner, I don't have to figure out what I am making;
- When it is time for dinner, I have the ingredients I need, because my menu planning was linked to my making a grocery list and shopping.
Every week my menu plan starts with a two-columned template. The right column has places for the dinners of the week; the left side has a template to fill in groceries I will need based on where they are located in the store (more below). I am always brain-storming in advance about what I want for dinners the next week, but I start my planning session with the calendar. I like to date each day and note commitments that will affect how much time I have to prepare dinner, like this:
So on this week meetings on Monday and Thursday, plus PT Thursday will make cooking challenging, so I plan either easier, quicker meals (Monday) or crock pot meals or get help from family members (Thursday).
Each day, as I pick a meal, I make sure I either have the ingredients or put them on the lilst. So tonight is chicken, broccoli and stuffing. I already had the chicken and broccoli in the freezer (bought them last Saturday), but I put stuffing on the list, as well as butter (since I need it in the stuffing this reminded me that I need more).
I try to plan each meal to have protein, starch and vegetable. Sunday's plan is for broccoli-cheddar soup, bread and salad. Usually I spread my ingredients out more (don't serve broccoli Saturday and Sunday), but can't always. Sunday's plans might get bumped to later if Becky comes to visit, so we didn't buy bread yet. I "Googled" a copycat recipe for Panera Bread's cheddar broccoli soup and put the ingredients on my list.
I do that each night until I'm done. This week I'm alone Friday and Saturday (Church men's retreat), so I'll eat leftovers or a can of soup or something. That's about it. Here's my grocery template followed by this week's menu plan linked to some of the recipes:
Health and Beauty: