Thursday, August 25, 2011

Meal Planning

Have you ever heard the saying you can not plan too much? I didn't believe that saying either until 2-3 years ago.  When Shali went to high school, I suddenly understood this saying in all its glory. One of the areas I knew I had to get my act together in was meal planning.

Meal planning is extremely important! I pride myself on having a thorough pantry that I can pull a lot of meals from, but when the clock says 5:30 pm I am just like anyone else. "What am I making for dinner?!? Ahhh!!!" I like having a plan and following, somewhat closely, the plan. Meal planning also helps with my food storage and building my food storage. How do I plan meals?

I know how you should do the meal planning. You should make a list of meals that your family eats and make a monthly meal plan according to the list of meals you made. You should then stick to the plan as closely as possible accounting for leftovers and whatnot.

I do not do that. I should. I really should, but I have a huge pile of recipes that I want to try and a lot of cookbooks I would like to work my way through. I like a lot of variety in my meals. I also only plan for two weeks at a time. I have never been able to make a monthly meal plan stick. This is how I do my meal planning:

I find a cookbook that I have marked with meals that I want to try or have already tried and made the family cut.


By the way, awesome cookbook! One of my favorites! See in the picture I have a bunch of tabs at the top of the cookbook. I use Post-it Tabs to mark my favorite recipes as well as recipes I want to try. From there I find a notepad and do this:


I write out two weeks worth of menus. I use recipes from the chosen cookbook as well as family favorites/stand-bys. I do not give a lot of thought to breakfasts, but we have a few options for breakfasts: pancakes of all varieties, waffles, oatmeal, eggs, cold cereal, yogurt, and fruit. I do plan lunch on the weekends. I also plan at least one crockpot meal a week. This is what my menu looks like:

Wednesday: Chicken Fingers, Brown Rice, Peas
Thursday: Tacos & Salad
Friday: Dane's Birthday Party - Frozen Pizzas, Ice Cream Cake
Saturday: Lunch - Hot Dogs & Cheddarwurst, Chips, & Homemade Baked Beans; Supper - Dane's Family Birthday Party - Fruit Salad (Grandma is making Lasagna & Cake)
Sunday: Lunch - Eggs & Bacon; Supper - Tator Tot Casserole, Vegie
Monday: Chicken and Noodles, Vegie
Tuesday: Supper at Grandma's for the kids because Mom has a work meeting
Wednesday: Asian Honey Chicken, Brown Rice
Thursday: Crock Stronganoff, Noodles, Vegie
Friday & Saturday: No plans because I am not sure what is going on yet...
Sunday: Lunch - Taco Soup; Supper at Sutherland
Monday: Lunch at Sutherland; Supper - Garlic Lime Chicken, Potatoes, Vegie
Tuesday: Corn Casserole
Wednesday: Crockpot Taco Chicken and Salad

Not too hard to do! If you don't do this already, please give menu planning a try. I took the summer off from planning menus and our eating habits as well as our healthy ways went right down the toliet. We ate even more junk that what appears on the menu. A lot of frozen pizzas instead just once in a while, ramen noodles galore, macaroni and cheese like you wouldn't believe. I was not impressed with our diet this summer.

I will explain on Preparedness Monday how menu planning will help with your food storage so stay tuned! Have a great day and thanks for reading!

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