menu planning

30 Mar

When I was little, I remember  watching my mom plan menus.  She would find two weeks worth of recipes that suited her, make her grocery list, and head to the store. She had a plan. If  she was not available to make dinner, she could confidently  assign one of us the job, knowing that the recipe and  ingredients were all set.

As my family has grown, I have tried to implement a version  of my mom’s plan.  She was gone at work all day; I homeschool  all day.  She had three children to feed; I  am presently  cooking for twelve.  My dad’s goal was for my mom’s recipes to  be on a computer in the kitchen (unheard of at the time); I  have countless  internet recipes at my fingertips! She needed a  system in place, so do I.  Her plan was for two weeks; mine is a  four week plan, repeating monthly.

Coming up with a months worth of recipes is time consuming  but well worth the effort. I found it helpful to do a different  theme for each night. For instance,  Monday: Italian, Tuesday: Mexican, Wednesday: Soup, Thursday: Something with Chicken, Friday: Homemade Pizza, Saturday: Extra Special Sandwiches, and Sunday: Special Company Meal. Then it was easy to find four or five different Italian recipes, and so on. Next I scheduled each recipe on my Google calendar, making sure that it was a reoccurring event, every 4th Monday. I found it helpful to photocopy each recipe, compiling them into one 3 ring notebook. By the time I had finished filling in each day of the week, I felt so accomplished! I no longer had to wonder what in the world I was going to make for dinner. I had a plan!

The next step is equally important.  I went through each recipe, recording and sorting all the ingredients (vegies, spices, dry goods, dairy…). Because this list is on the computer, it can easily be printed for duplicate copies.  Keeping a current list on the fridge makes it easy to highlight with a yellow pen when an ingredient runs low.  My husband does the grocery shopping (what a blessing), and I think he is blessed when I have a complete list ready for him!

Each night before bed, I like to check my calendar to see what is on the menu for the next day.  It just takes a minute and reminds me to pull some meat out of the freezer or to make sure I put some legumes in the crock pot to soak.

I am thankful for a mom that fed and taught me well! [Next key concept- family story- “Kids in the kitchen”]


6 Responses to “menu planning”

  1. Judy March 30, 2011 at 9:16 pm #

    Good idea. I used to do that. Now that it’s simplier with only 2 people, I have a list of about 10 meals that I write out and make sure I have all the ingredients for them. Then I decide what to make the day before.
    By the way, do you have a good pizza recipe? I’m still trying to perfect that.

    • Becky March 31, 2011 at 8:51 am #

      Judy,I love the flexibility in your plan!

      As for pizza recipes, one of my favorites includes a thin whole wheat crust, cream cheese with pesto as the sauce and then I like to sprinkle with black olives, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, onions… what ever misc. vegies we might have on hand. It tastes wonderful with feta cheese sprinkled over the top.

      I remember some wonderful pizza nights with you and your hubby!

  2. Kim S April 5, 2011 at 4:23 pm #

    Yummy…you know I’m always trying to get just one more recipe out of that amazing collection of yours! =)

    • Becky April 5, 2011 at 6:59 pm #

      Kim, you know you’re one of my favorite cooks!

  3. Lorraine Milner January 7, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    Thank you for your comments. I never thought of cream cheese as the base for pizza. It sounds real good. I can’t wait for pizza night!


  1. all those little things… making a big difference « Not Without Aim - August 26, 2011

    […] the last few days, I knew the answer to my questions.  So many details all came together.  From menu planning,  the kid’s morning chores, to the children’s  self discipline  learned through […]

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