Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Monthly Menu Making 4/8/2009

We Are That Family hosts a weekly Wednesday blog carnival called Worked For Me Wednesday. I have always loved reading the overwhelming amount of tips but I have never actually left one of my own. So, here is a great idea that I have let slide for a while but really loved a while back when we were consistent with it.

I have decided, upon request of my husband, that I would get back into monthly menu planning. Not only is this a great way to save money, but it is also a beautiful way to streamline meal making in our home. I remember when we did menu planning a couple years ago and it really did make everything easier. Now that we have a family of 9 it seems even more like a no-brainer to reorganize myself in this area.

Sure, it takes a little time and effort but that is short lived and then everything else is easier. With a large family like mine it takes twice the food to feed us. This has hit our grocery budget hard but we have found ways to get around that. Couponing and deal hunting has certainly helped but I know if I could get myself organized enough to start meal planning again I could cut even more money off our already low monthly budget.

Since I have done this before I know exactly what goes into it. Here is a short rundown of how I do monthly meal planning.
I run week by week here. I'll make a different food for each meal each day for one week. Then, we start back over with the same rotation the next week. This goes on for one month and when the next month starts there is an entirely new weekly menu. For us this works best while your monthly meal plan might look a little different. The key is to make a plan and stick with it.

Making my menu takes about 30 minutes. I sit down with my favorite large family cookbook and write out what we'll have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day for one week. Then, that week's menu is used for each week in the month.
While creating my menu I take a few things into consideration.

  • What do I have already stocked in my cupboard
  • What can I buy for cheap
  • What does my family like or dislike
  • Nutritional value (we try to stay away from a lot of white sugar)
  • Can it be made ahead of time and be kept in the freezer
  • Preparation time
Here is my meal plan for April. I am a week behind but it won't take much to get caught up.

Monday - baked oatmeal (freezable)
Tuesday - Pannu Kakku (freezable)
Wednesday - Pancakes (we'll be mixing 5 gallons of dry mix up ahead of time)
Thursday - Peanut Butter Granola
Friday - Cheerios Bars (freezable)
Saturday - Crock Pot Breakfast Rice (set it the night before on low - ready in the AM)
Sunday - Soakmeal (another slow cook through the night breakfast)

Monday - Potato Boats
Tuesday - Sandwiches on Homemade bread
WednesdayItalic - Stromboli Pizza (dough can be mixed ahead of time)
Thursday - Ultimate Grilled Cheese
Friday - Mexican Hot Pockets (can be made ahead of time and frozen)
Saturday - Lentil & Cheese Tortillas
Sunday - Lunch at church

Monday - Mashed potatoes and crock pot chili (can be made ahead and frozen)
Tuesday - Spaghetti w/ homemade garlic bread (sauce and bread can be mixed ahead of time)
Wednesday - Chicken & Corn Chowder with buttered pasta (can be made ahead and frozen)
Thursday - Hamburger Soup and rice (can be made ahead and frozen)
Friday - Cream of Chicken Casserole (can be made ahead and frozen
Saturday - Chicken Soup with home made dinner rolls (can be made ahead and frozen)
Sunday - meatless soup started in the crock pot in the AM

I like to cook all my like meats at once. Then, I separate the meat into zip top bags along with the other ingredients like veggies and spices for that meal. I prepare any rice and pasta on the day of - I don't feel this stuff freezes as well as other things. I have a special relationship with my crock pot and like to use it all the time.

I have written before on cooking a month's worth of meals at once here. Although that system is a little different than what I've written here about cooking a month's worth of meals in one day here and it has still served us well on many occasions, as well.

There's nothing like saying, "Go look at the menu" whenever one of my kidlets asks for the 10th time, "what are we having for dinner?".

I'd be interested in seeing what your menu looks like. If you have one written out on your blog leave a link to it below!

1 comments: said...

I would love the crock pot breakfast rice recipe.